Common Valerian – Valeriana Officinalis: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Valium of the 19th Century

Common valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a rare garden escape around Haliburton, Ontario. The pictures here are of plants I grew and harvested for medicinal root tea. Valerian is one of my primary go-to herbal medicines. If I am having an anxious time, especially acutely, this is the medicinal tea I brew. Doctors used to recommend …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 6: Baneberries

Dear Wood Folk, Have you seen the plant with doll’s eyes for berries? In Samuel Thayer’s newest book, Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, he calls baneberry “possibly the most poisonous fleshy berry” in our region. As far as berries go both white (Actaea pachypoda) and red (Actaea rubra) baneberries can make you feel pretty …

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Skullcaps – Scutellaria SPP.: Medicinal Uses of the “Perfect Nervine” of Wild Plants

Skullcaps - Scutellaria SPP.

All six species of skullcaps (Scutellaria SPP.) presently noted in Ontario on iNaturalist are native plants. The main two being the common/marsh skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) and side-flowering/mad-dog (Scutellaria lateriflora). You can find them in wet shores, swampy areas in the woods and sometimes on sandy roadsides. These two common skullcaps around Haliburton are used similarly …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 5: Red Columbine and Yew

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 5: Red Columbine and Yew

Dear Wood Folk, A couple months ago we covered buttercups. Eastern red AKA Canada columbine AKA wild columbine (aquilegia canadensis) is also a member of the notoriously toxic buttercup family. All plants in this family produce toxins when wounded or macerated. Substances you wouldn’t want to handle or ingest. The leaves of our native red …

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Cardinal Flower – Lobelia Cardinalis: Not-so Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Reddest Flower of Wild Plants

Cardinal flower – Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal-flower (lobelia cardinalis) is a similar but less potent medicinal as its close relation lobelia inlata, and it’s similarly inedible. But it’s got one of the most stunning, if not the most stunning, red flowers of all of Ontario’s native plants. In Haliburton county, cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis) is an uncommon but memorable sight on …

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Willowherbs – Epilobium SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Pie Scented Wild Plants

Willowherbs – Epilobium SPP.

Willowherbs (epilobium spp.) aren’t a stranger to our Edible and Medicinal Plants blog. We covered Fireweed previously, the star of the species as far as human usage goes. And the showiest. The others are mostly quainter looking, but I think they deserve a moment in the sun too. Hairy willow-herb (e. hirsutum) has showier blooms …

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