The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 13: Meet the Gray Catbird

Dear Wood Folk, Around Haliburton, Ontario we have a few mimids/”mimic” birds. There’s the brown thrasher, which sometimes gets mistaken for a woodpecker or roadrunner. There’s the northern mockingbird, which I’ve yet to see, and has only been recorded once on iNat for Haliburton county. And there’s this slate-colored mimic called the gray catbird (dumetella …

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Mouse-ear Chickweeds – Cerastium SPP.: Furries of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa,  wi’nibidja’bibaga’no meaning “toothplant”, refers to the European stellaria spp. But the one we’re talking about here is the cerastium spp., known as mouse-ear chickweeds. They’re almost as edible, furriness aside, but not as medicinal as the stellaria species. It’s important to note the hairless “common chickweed” (stellaria media) is a rare nonnative in the …

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Mountain-Ashes – Sorbus SPP.: Rose Tree of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Ojibwe, makominagaawanzh, mountain ash isn’t a true ash tree, but a rose family tree. It’s one of a few edible and medicinal plants with berries that look like tiny apples. Sorb apples for short. When Haliburton Flora was compiled, mountain ash (sorbus Americana) was fairly common on wet or moist lakeshores, and roadsides with shrubs …

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Catnip – Nepeta Cataria: Nightcap of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa, gajugens’ibug meaning “little-cat leaf”, catnip isn’t native to Ontario, but at least it’s not aggressive. It’s a surprisingly useful edible and medicinal plant, if you’re not pregnant. And whether or not you’re a cat. Catnip (nepeta cataria) is uncommon around Haliburton, but I find it around old farmsteads. It may also show up …

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Honeysuckles – Lonicera SPP.: Nectar of Edible & Medicinal Plants

In Ojibwe, ozaawaaskined, honeysuckles are sometimes edible and sometimes medicinal. But always a favorite of nectar seekers like the ruby-throated hummingbird along with all-stars like scarlet bee balm and cardinal flower. Some human folks seek the nectar too. The most abundant native honeysuckle here is American/Canadian Fly (lonicera canadensis), which likes openings in deciduous and mixed …

Arrowheads – Sagittaria SPP.: Marsh Potato of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa,  muj’ota’buk meaning “moose leaf”, arrowhead is an edible and medicinal plant in the humans case as well as moose. Not to be confused with arrowroot, which you can find at health food stores, you’ll find arrowhead in the marsh instead. Usually surrounded by cattail and the like, arrowhead (sagittaria SPP.) is a common aquatic …

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