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!

Ostrich Fern (Fiddlehead) – Matteuccia Struthiopteris: Top Fern of Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Ojibwe, waagaagin, ostrich fern is the usual fern called fiddlehead. It’s a traditional dish in Quebec and New Brunswick and the sprouts are a delicacy called kogomi in Japan. It’s the first fern in our edible and medicinal plants series! Growing 2-6 feet tall, this popular fern may even be found in grocery stores around […]

Wild Leek – Allium Tricoccum: The Top Locally Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

In Ojibwe, zhigaagawanzh+iig means onion, wild leek is a popular foraged plant by people who aren’t otherwise foragers around here. Some properties have carpets of them. Others have been stripped of them as people don’t know offhand how long the bulbs take to grow and how easy it is to devastate a population of ramps. In […]

Stinging Nettle – Urtica Dioica: First Misunderstood of Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa, bepadji’ckanakiz’it ma’zana’tig, stinging nettle tends to make a bad impression on first meeting, as the name suggests. But there’s way more to this needled edible and medicinal plant. The Chippewa name given refers specifically to the slender leaf subsp. The sting never lasts long for me, but I’ve heard of it lasting for days […]

Quaking Aspen – Populus Tremuloides: A Popple’r Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

In Chippewa, asa’di means aspen. “Balm of Gilead” can be made from various poplar’s buds including tremuloides/quaking aspen, a common edible, medicinal and useful tree in our area. Last month we talked about balsam poplar. But quaking aspen was my first ID’d poplar. I noticed a set of trees on the one-acre wood that softly trembled […]

Apple – Malus SPP.: Not Just Pie of Foraging Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Ojibwe, mishiimin, apple isn’t just an ordinary edible fruit tree. It also has medicinal qualities. It is another plant that was brought to North America by European colonists, but the species originated in Central Asia. Our apples wild ancestor malus sieversii still grows there today. When a wonderful local lady told me there were apple […]

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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 Turtles Use Wild Plants

This is going to sound “VSCO girl”, but I LOVE turtles! The turtles I see regularly around these parts are painted and snapping. I’ve shuttled many painted turtles with cracked shells to rehab, and if lucky, back home. Roads are the primary cause of turtle mortality in Ontario. (Find out how to help turtles cross […]

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 […]

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 1, Chapter 5: Black Bear Before and After

Dear Wood Folk, Would you believe me if I told you Makwa has started to CHARGE at chipmunks? Those same scary chipmunks that were making him skedaddle up trees?! He even had a moment of bravery when bluff charging that frightening housecat for invading his bear space. It helps that he is so much bigger […]

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 1, Chapter 6: See You Later, Makwa

Dear Wood Folk, Oh my, is this Makwa’s last appearance? I snapped this photo of him before he focused on his denning for the winter: He did not come back the following year. Or did he? There were bear tracks, a couple of bear signs I noticed in 2019. It could have been him just […]

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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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