Glad I am not allergic to White Ragweed because it is blooming! Plus they are all over my alpine rock garden, contributing to my yellow river of flowers flowing down the hill.
Notice that it has no ray flowers, just the disk flowers, which gives them a bit of a different look for a member of the Aster family. White Ragweed is native to western and central North America from Canada down to Chihuahua, Mexico. Mine aren’t likely to get 40 inches tall, definitely under a foot.
But I have plenty of them! The leaves are edible if you aren’t allergic, and the Hopi added them to bread. I will try that myself, since I have so many this year. I will dry some for winter use as well.
The roots and leaves of White Ragweed were used medicinally by the Hopi and Navajo, both internally and externally. It was used as a healing lotion for both arrow and bullet wounds, and as a poultice for swellings. Roots were used for decayed teeth and as chewing gum. A decoction of the whole plant was used for blood poisoning.
Because White Ragweed is a perennial, and now well established, I feel free to dry a few for my pharmacopeia, as well as leaves for my winter herbs and teas. White Ragweed has a taproot that brings nutrients to the surface and, if available in the soil, is a good source of manganese, copper, iron, and zinc, all needed by our bodies, and by wildlife as well. On good soil, it can help strengthen your teeth and support body functions that require trace minerals. In any event, I consider it a good addition to my diet and the diet of mule deer and small mammals living in my food forest with me.
This is a good year for perennials that I started seeding 3 years ago, because I am seeing enough plants that I can start harvesting without jeopardizing the local population.
Although few US citizens other than First Americans have eaten or used White Ragweed, I am glad to know this plant and have an idea of its uses. As I build special Hugelkultur beds filled with deadwood to hold moisture for poorly adapted food plants, I am concurrently building my food forest with native edibles. I have eaten many of them before, but am also learning new tastes like White Ragweed specific to my property in the mountains of New Mexico.