Currants – Ribes SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Tiny Tart Berry of Wild Plants

Currants – Ribes SPP.

In Chippewa, cigagwa’tigon meaning “skunk-like”, refers to swamp red currant, one of our native currants around Ontario. These edible and medicinal plants aren’t the same “currant” you find dried in grocery stores. Currants (ribes spp.) are spattered everywhere around Haliburton county, Ontario. Gooseberry was covered earlier this year and is also a ribes. But here we’re …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 3, Chapter 10: Violets for Greater Fritillaries

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 3, Chapter 10: Violets for Greater Fritillaries

Dear Wood Folk, Around cottage country, Ontario we have numerous fritillary butterflies. From a distance these bright orange butterflies are sometimes mistaken for monarchs. Fritillary can be a hard word to retain; at least it was for me. (Frit frit frit.. (h)illary. Repeat 10 times. Maybe picture a Hillary you know “freaking lit”.) Our most …

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Common Bracken – Pteridium Aquilinum: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sunny Fern of Wild Plants

Common Bracken - Pteridium Aquilinum

Common bracken (pteridium aquilinum) is a popular edible, especially in the far east. But like most edible fiddleheads it’s complicated. Not preparing it thoroughly may be linked to stomach cancer. Common bracken (pteridium aquilinum) is traditionally edible and medicinal in many places, but unfortunately a compound in it is potentially linked to stomach cancer. It’s …

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Docks – Rumex SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Yellow Root of Wild Plants

Docks – Rumex SPP.

In Chippewa, oza’widji’bik meaning “yellow root” refers to bitter dock (rumex obtusifolius), a nonnative here in Ontario. The nonnative yellow rooted docks, sour and bitter, have a long history of medicinal use. We have a couple dozen (native and nonnative) edible and medicinal docks. Last week’s sheep sorrel is a rumex too, but docks stand alone. …

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Sheep Sorrel – Rumex Acetosella: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sour Spinach of Wild Plants

Sheep Sorrel – Rumex Acetosella

Sheep sorrel (rumex acetosella) is another tangy nonnative edible and medicinal plant in Ontario. It’s very similar in usage to our native wood sorrel. But it’s an ingredient in the popular and controversial Essiac tea. Sheep sorrel (rumex acetosella) is common here around Haliburton, primarily in ditches and sand flats. This sorrels clusters of reddish …

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Sweetgrasses – Anthoxanthum SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sacred Grass of Wild Plants

Sweetgrasses - Anthoxanthum SPP.

In Anishinaabemowin, wiingashic/wiingashk syn. bashkodemashkosiw, sweetgrass is one of the four sacred medicines. The other three are asemma (tobacco), bashkodejiibik syn. mashkodewashk (sage), and giizhik (cedar). It’s sacred in the traditional spirituality of various first nations across the Americas. And it’s holy grass in Europe too. Its previous genus, hierochloë is a Greek-Latin combo meaning “holy grass”. …

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