Learn About Edible & Medicinal Herbs, Shrubs and Trees

We suggest starting off with Common Dandelion, plant No. 1 of what will be hundreds of edible and medicinal plants. The most recent addition to this series is white spruce, with many more useful herbs, shrubs, and trees on the way! Find all 14 so far here. There’s a new plant every Friday – we’re just getting started!

White Trillium – Trillium Grandiflorum: Ontario’s Official Flower and Most Photogenic Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

In Chippewa, ini’niwin’dibige’gun, white trillium is Ontario’s official flower and the standardbearer of spring. It’s also a traditional edible and mostly medicinal plant. However, it needs our protection. Also called birth root, a hint at its medicinal qualities. And wake-robin, due to being a spring herald. It heralds the black flies too, who I personally […]

Sugar Maple – Acer Saccharum: The Ultimate Canadian Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

In Chippewa, a’nina’tig, a sugar maple by any other name would taste as sweet. I’m not sure you’re going to come across another edible and medicinal plant quite as “Canadian” as this! My sugar maples are young and mostly line the road-side of my property. Thankfully there is one on my property that’s large enough […]

White Pine – Pinus Strobus: Ontario’s Tallest Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

In Chippewa, jingwak’, white pine was the most towering of edible and medicinal plants here 200 yrs ago. Imagine forests of 200-ft tall, 4-ft wide powerful evergreen medicine. Like the now “trending” and controversial sage smudge, pine needles are said to clear negative energy when burned. This tree has so much positive energy. It has […]

White spruce – Picea glauca

In Chippewa, cingob’ These next two edible and medicinal wild plants are very similar: white spruce and white pine. They’re named for the white crust that often coats them. The white spruce’s stiff needles are a blueish green. It’s also called skunk or cat spruce, and if you crush the mature needles and sniff you’ll […]

Red oak – Quercus rubra

In Chippewa, wi’sugi’mitigo’mic meaning “bitter oak” Carrying a piece of oak is said to bring good luck. And it’s a lucky tree to have around for many wild ones. It’s a long list: opossum (which nowadays wander into Haliburton county on occasion), eastern cottontail, snowshoe hare, eastern chipmunk, squirrels, beaver, white-footed mouse, red fox, black […]

Common cat-tail – Thypha latifolia

In Chippewa, apuk’we, which I think refers to “shelter” (muskrat is supporting me on this idea), but don’t quote me Sometimes cat-tails are mistakenly called bulrush, but that’s a separate species entirely here, yet they seem to use these terms interchangeably in Great Britain. There is also a narrow-leaved cat-tail (typha angustifolia) in our area […]

Trout Lily – Erythronium Americanum: The Ephemeral Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

In Ojibwe, namegobagonii’n partially derived from namegos meaning “lake trout”, trout lily is one of the first edible and medicinal plants to come up in the Spring. But it doesn’t stay for long! A spring ephemeral (which means it springs up and then goes away far too quickly), trout lily’s leaves have the mottled appearance of […]

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How ___ Use Wild Plants (E.g. Foxes)

Have you ever wondered what herbs a black bear self medicates with? Did you know a turtle wears weeds? That foxes plant herbal gardens? Or that some birds use antimicrobial herbs in their nests that repel pests? I’m curious about this symbiosis, how wild ones use edible and medicinal plants, and will be investigating, so…

How Red Foxes Use Wild Plants

When you think of what a fox eats, you’re probably picturing rabbits, mice, or maybe a housecat (although the latter is extremely rare and they usually coexist). Red foxes, waagoshag in Ojibwe or waagosh for singular, do love their meats from insects to rodent kind, and sometimes herps or birds. They might even lunge into […]

How Ruffed Grouse Use Wild Plants

Back when our region was bursting with hundreds-years-old mature conifers there were not nearly as many ruffed grouse. The more deciduous and ripe with young thicket the more ruffed the woods became. Now, these grouse are one of the more common sights around Haliburton, in the forest and crossing the road. Shelter in the wild […]

How Beavers Use Wild Plants

Beavers use not only rocks and mud to make their dams, but sticks, bark, leaves, grass, and other plant matter. These dams, canals, and more beaver activities architect the neighborhood, benefiting everyone from frogs to songbirds. This makes beavers an exceptionally “keystone species”. This second feature in our Wild Allies Series will wrap up with […]

How Black Bears Use Wild Plants

Here in Haliburton County (Central Ontario, Canada), when the black bears exit their dens in spring, it’s only with a tummy growl. They seldom growl in any other way. Black bears need to ease back into eating after they emerge, so they first wander around in search of the edible wild plants like overwintered mountain […]

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Let’s Explore the Flora and Fauna of the Woods Together! via the Wood Folk Diaries

Our diaries are a field journal series, starting with my ruffed grouse Spring! And a favorite wild one we’ve watched, Makwa the black bear. We’ll include sketches, pictures, and videos embedded from our YouTube check out our channel to sub and don’t forget to hit the bell to turn on notifications.

The Wood Folk Diaries: An Introduction

Welcome to our About Us and introduction to The Wood Folk Diaries series, which will become Rachel’s field journal. The Ways of the Wood Folk was written by naturalist William J. Long, published in 1899, with these quaint illustrations by Charles Copeland. This now public domain work was scanned by The Biodiversity Heritage Library and posted on […]

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 1, Chapter 1: Gerry The Ruffed Grouse

Dear Wood Folk, I’m disappointed in myself because I didn’t call her Henriette or him Henry, but I promise if another ruffed grouse (lat. bonasa umbellus) cozies up to me that is exactly what I will name our new friend. I’m also disappointed with how often I’ve called these birds “ruffled”. Ruffed, Rachel, RUFFED. And […]

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 1, Chapter 2: Makwa The Black Bear

Due to the high volume of images, videos, and information, our wild friend Makwa (that’s Anishinaabemowin for “bear”) and his adventures will be covered over multiple chapters. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did. Dear Wood Folk, It was a summer evening in 2018, July the 22nd at around 10 PM […]

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 1, Chapter 3: Little Bear Meets Fox

Dear Wood Folk, Watching Makwa meet the world has involved countless escape scenes. Most bear sightings outside of the dump are bear backends, feet midair, here one second and gone the next. They are fast runners reaching speeds of 30mph. They can climb a tree in a blink of an eye. Treed they are barely […]

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 1, Chapter 4: Little Bear Meets Butterfly

Dear Wood Folk, Makwa the black bear wasn’t all running and treeing. Insects and songbirds didn’t phase him one bit. I’ve planted swaths of butterfly and bee attracting plants and at least twice noticed the little bear intently watching a butterfly. Thankfully, I got it on camera once: Imagine being our little friend Makwa… meeting […]

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Let’s Make Stuff out of Wild Plants Together

Besides these few wild series, there are coloring pages, craft ideas, and wild plant recipes to try! Join us for some fun tinkering and yummy eats as we immerse ourselves in the organic woods.

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