Galinsoga quadriradiata (= G. ciliata) is an annual weed which is known by several common names, including shaggy soldier, Peruvian daisy, hairy galinsoga. Galinsoga parviflora, also known as the gallant soldier, is very similar but has no hair. They are both edible nad they can be found together in the same spot. They also develop hybrid varieties.
Where can you find it?
Both species are native to South America, but they are now widespread in most of the world.
Habitat: Typically found as weeds in vegetable gardens and cultivated fields, they can also be found along roads, ruderal sites, disturbed areas. Altitude range for Galinsoga quadriradiata is about from sea-level to 800 m, but to tell you the truth, I find it in my vegetable garden as well, at 1600 meters. Galinsoga parviflora altitude range is about from sea-level to 1500 m. I find it in my garden as well.
When to harvest?
All summer long, from February to October.
How do I use it?
Young leaves cooked in soups, risotto, ravioli and lasagne. Dried leaves can be ground into a powder and used for flavoring. In South America this powder is called“guascas” and it is a main ingredient of some traditional dishes.
Gallant soldier is used for the treatment of nettle stings and similar skin inflammation by rubbing the affected skin with the leaves.
Dried and ground into powder or cooked and frozen.
Being an invasive weed, it is not really advisable to grow it. Just find a vegetable garden or disturbed ground and you will find it.
Common names in other languages:
- IT – Galinsoga ispida & Galinsoga comune
- DE – behaartes Knopfkraut & kleinblütiges Knopfkraut
- FR – Galinsoga velu & Galinsoga à petites fleurs
- ES – soldado galante