Silverberries – Elaeagnus SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Mealy Sour Berry

Silverberries - Elaeagnus SPP.

American silverberries or wolf-willow (Elaeagnus commutata) is Ontario’s native mealy sour silverberry shrub. It does somewhat resemble willow. There are several nonnatives around too. Japanese silverberry AKA Autumn olive (E. umbellata) is invasive around Ontario, especially to the south. In cottage country, it’s more of an introduced small tree you’ll occasionally spot in someone’s lawn. …

Read more

Wild Thyme – Thymus SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Five-star Kitchen Herb

Wild thyme – Thymus SPP.

It may surprise folks that basic kitchen herbs and spices have any medicinal value. Thyme (thymus spp.) is actually a powerful medicinal herb for respiratory issues and more. Wild thymes (thymus spp.) have one species noted in Haliburton Flora: mother of thyme (t. praecox). The few specimens were found on an open hillside and in …

Read more

Fireweed – Epilobium Angustifolium: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Fire-friend of Wild Plants

Fireweed - Epilobium Angustifolium

In Chippewa, oja’cidji’bik meaning “slippery root”, fireweed (epilobium angustifolium) derives its common name from colonizing the charred sites of wildfires. It’s an edible and medicinal plant that is native to Ontario. Fireweed (epilobium angustifolium syn. chamerion angustifolium syn. chamaenerion angustifolium) is common along roadsides, in logged bush, and in fire scourged acres here in central …

Read more

Field Penny-cress – Thlaspi Arvense: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Jet Fuel of Wild Plants

Field Penny-cress – Thlaspi Arvense

Field penny-cress is a slightly edible and medicinal plant may have a future in renewable fuels. Field penny-cress (Thlaspi arvense) is listed as uncommon in Haliburton Flora. It is sometimes found along roadsides or on old farmland mixed in with tall grasses. It prefers disturbed areas, so even though it’s not native here it’s not …

Read more

Pipsissewa – Chimaphila Umbellata: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Bitter Wintergreen of Wild Plants

Pipsissewa - Chimaphila Umbellata

In Chippewa, ga’gige’bug meaning “everlasting leaf” for its evergreen-ness, “pipsissewa” is a Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi name meaning “It-breaks-into-small-pieces”. It’s one of my favorite edible and medicinal plants to observe blooming in the wild. The delicate umbrella like flowers are unique here. Pipsissewa (chimaphila umbellata) is uncommon here, and may be found in sparsely wooded, usually rocky areas. I typically …

Read more

Coneflowers – Echinacea SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Trendiest of Wild Plants

Coneflowers - Echinacea SPP.

In Chippewa,  gi’zuswe’bigwa’is meaning “it is scattering”, who hasn’t heard of coneflowers AKA echinacea? It’s one of the biggest fads in herbal medicine in recent decades. But are the claims about echinacea legit or overblown hype? Friend or fad? I’ll admit I’ve taken echinacea at the first sign of sniffles before. It’s one of if …

Read more