Common Bracken – Pteridium Aquilinum: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sunny Fern of Wild Plants

Common Bracken - Pteridium Aquilinum

Common bracken (pteridium aquilinum) is a popular edible, especially in the far east. But like most edible fiddleheads it’s complicated. Not preparing it thoroughly may be linked to stomach cancer. Common bracken (pteridium aquilinum) is traditionally edible and medicinal in many places, but unfortunately a compound in it is potentially linked to stomach cancer. It’s …

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Sheep Sorrel – Rumex Acetosella: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sour Spinach of Wild Plants

Sheep Sorrel – Rumex Acetosella

Sheep sorrel (rumex acetosella) is another tangy nonnative edible and medicinal plant in Ontario. It’s very similar in usage to our native wood sorrel. But it’s an ingredient in the popular and controversial Essiac tea. Sheep sorrel (rumex acetosella) is common here around Haliburton, primarily in ditches and sand flats. This sorrels clusters of reddish …

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Horseradish – Armoracia Rusticana: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sting Nose of Wild Plants

Horseradish - Armoracia Rusticana

Horseradish is a nonnative edible and medicinal plant that has escaped into the wild here in Ontario. It’s known for causing your nose to sting when you eat it. Horseradish (armoracia rusticana syn. cochlearia armoracia, armoracia lapathifolia, and rorippa armoracia), originally called sea radish, is a long way from home in Ontario. It was brought here as a …

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Shepherd’s Purse – Capsella Bursa-pastoris: Edible & Medicinal Uses of Another Mustard of Wild Plants

Shepherd’s Purse – Capsella Bursa-pastoris

Shepherd’s purse is the second-most prolific wild “weed” in the entire world (polygonum aviculare/pigweed is #1). In cottage country Ontario it’s not that prolific, but you can still find this edible and medicinal mustard. Shepherd’s purse (capsella bursa-pastoris) may be found around here on dry sandy sites and moist wooded roadsides. I’ve only found it …

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Eastern Hemlock – Tsuga Canadensis: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Porcupine Tree of Wild Plants

Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga Canadensis

In Chippewa, gaga’gimie, eastern hemlock is also called gaagaagiwanzh meaning “porcupine, his tree“. It’s a tree beneficial to countless wildlife with many edible, medicinal and craft uses. Eastern hemlock (tsuga canadensis) can be found in moist hardwood forests. I haven’t seen any on the 1 or the 100 acre I frequent, but I know people …

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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 …

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