Hickories – Carya SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sweet “Nuts” of Wild Plants

Hickories – Carya SPP.

In Ojibwe, mitigwaabaak meaning “bow tree”, hickories (carya SPP.) are diverse and native, but not very abundant in our area of Ontario. They are part of the walnut family and more edible than medicinal. Hickories (carya SPP.), like the shagbark hickory (carya ovata) sapling that’s pictured and bitternut hickory (carya cordiformis), are two of the four …

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Fire Cherry – Prunus Pensylvanica: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Bird Cherry of Wild Plants

Fire Cherry - Prunus Pensylvanica

We’ve covered almost every native cherry in Ontario and this fire cherry, also called bird cherry for one, is no exception to the fact prunus spp. are fantastic for birds and other wildlife. And not just jam! Pin cherry / Fire cherry (prunus pensylvanica) was common along roadsides, woodland slopes, lake banks, and stream banks …

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Beaked Hazel – Corylus Cornuta: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Filbert of Wild Plants

Beaked Hazel - Corylus Cornuta

In Chippewa, one word for hazel is bagan‘, which means nuts, burs or wood. Beaked hazel or hazelnut is our local edible and medicinal filbert. And it can be used just the same as the store bought one! Like many related (and similarly leaved) trees and shrubs, you’ll find them most along the edges. If …

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Sunflower – Helianthus Annuus: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sun-facer of Wild Plants

Sunflower – Helianthus Annuus

I haven’t found a word for sunflower in Anishinaabemowin, but *giizis means sun and waabigwan means flower. While most folks know sunflower is edible, did you know it’s a medicinal plant as well? (*The Ojibwe words link to The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary which is the first place I look if Frances Densmore’s book doesn’t include …

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Serviceberry – Amelanchier SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Early Bloomer of Wild Plants

Serviceberry - Amelanchier SPP.

In Chippewa, guzigwa’kominaga’wunj, referring to the shad fish spawning when the serviceberry blooms. The English name serviceberry has origins related to when one can finally have funeral services/burial for winters dead. They’re also called juneberries even though you’ll be waiting until the end of June or later for ripe berries. Here around Haliburton, Ontario you’ll …

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Lowbush Blueberry – Vaccinium Angustifolium: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Super Berry of Wild Plants

Lowbush blueberry - Vaccinium angustifolium

In Chippewa, minaga’wunj, blueberry. Lowbush (also called “low sweet”) blueberry is common here, as is velvet-leaf blueberry (vaccinium myrtilloides) which thrives around marshes. I’ve heard a few personal anecdotes from locals about picking blueberries all the while watching a black bear or bears doing the same nearby. There’s a myth (I originally believed!) that blackflies …

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