24 April 2009

In Praise of Watercress

In "Outside The Nashville City Limits," (click link to play song) Joan Baez sings:

"...And standing there with outstretched arms
he said to me, You know,
I can't wait till the heavy storms
cover the ground with snow,
and there on the pond the watercress
is all that don't turn white

Watercress! Nasturtium officinale. What a beautiful reminder that life is good even when a late-April blizzard overtakes you on a hike in the Northern Rockies.

To find this place, park on the S-turns near the Continental Divide above Anaconda, Montana. Cross over the creek on the little beaver dam:

Or wade/swim the icy creek (RolyTheDog style):

Hike up the little valley until you come to a lush, green place where some homesteader (or perhaps Indians--the location is near a major aboriginal trail) rocked up a small pond:

And someone planted non-native watercress, a healthy and tasty herb:

The water bubbles up from a limestone formation and is 62 deg F year-round. Yes, literally "bubbles up" as in this close-up photo--it's carbonated "sparkling water:"

A visit to these healing waters and a few mouthfuls of the peppery herb really perked up my spirits when I was caught out in a spring blizzard while on a hike yesterday. If you have watercress near you (it has been introduced to springs everywhere in the United States), go visit it and enjoy!


The geology of the Butte, Montana region is comples, and it's not unusual to find limestone, lava, granite, and other diverse formations sandwhiched together as they are near the watercress spring.


fishing guy said...

ER: Interesting commentary on the spring.

Anonymous said...

Watercress! Very green! Go Green!

To answer your question about the vine around the tree in my backyard, I honestly don't know what it is! I just moved in & haven't gotten a chance to see it in full bloom, yet. We'll see, though!

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of green.

Did you take any of the watecress home to eat?

Janie said...

The green watercress looks beautiful in the pond. We see it around here, too.

Rio Arriba said...

In Ireland, in the old times, cress was thought to be a cure for insanity. So there are many remote glens caled Gleann na Gealt— "the glen of the mad."

People seeking that particular cure were said to be "eating of the cresses."

troutbirder said...

Wish I'd been there!

John Theberge said...

Interesting photos, did you take some of the watercress home to put in a salad?

EcoRover said...

Citizen & JohnTB, I did bring a bag of watercress home for salad greens and sandwiches. I also like it in omelets, and Mrs ER wants to try a watercress soup recipe in the near future.

Rio Arriba, I love knowing that--no wonder I feel so calm after eating a handful!