Lady’s Slippers – Cypripedium SPP.: Medicinal Uses of the American Valerian of Wild Plants

Hardy slipper orchids (Cypripedium SPP.) are presently typically called lady’s slippers. Moccasin flower and “many fine roots” are a couple other folk names for these orchids. The most common Cypripedium around Haliburton, Ontario is yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum). I’ve spotted clusters of them along trails, somewhat hidden in partial shade. You may also find …

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Water Smartweed – Persicaria Amphibia: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Water Buckwheat of Wild Plants

Water Smartweed - Persicaria Amphibia: Shore Buckwheat of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Water smartweed (persicaria amphibia syn. polygonum amphibium) is another edible and medicinal plant from the buckwheat family. It is native to Ontario and has the showiest flower of all our local smartweeds. Water smartweed (persicaria amphibia syn. polygonum amphibium) since the compilation of Haliburton Flora got a new genus, persicaria. It’s common here in wet ditches, shoresides and banks, and …

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Boneset – Eupatorium Perfoliatum: Edible & Medicinal Uses of an Underrated Wild Plant

Boneset - Eupatorium Perfoliatum

In Chippewa, niya’wibukuk. In Plants Have So Much To Give another Ojibway name is given, ogaakananiibiish meaning “shield and lance plant”. Boneset is a slightly edible and mainly medicinal plant. It’s also an underrated addition to pollinator gardens. Boneset (eupatorium perfoliatum) was common in damp areas when Haliburton Flora was compiled. However, I don’t see it …

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Reed Grass – Phragmites SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Roasted Marshmallow of Wild Plants

Reed Grass - Phragmites SPP.

In Chippewa, abo’djigun meaning “something turned out or over”, reed grass has turned me over too. It changed my completely black-and-white thinking about herbicides. It’s hard to tell our native reed grass from the invasive European subspecies, and it may be hard to tell if a patch has been treated. It’s a tread with caution sort of …

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Bulrush – Scirpus SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sweet Root of Wild Plants

Bulrush - Scirpus SPP.

In Chippewa, ana’kun, bulrush is often neighbor to the similarly highly edible cattail. Across the pond, cattail is called bulrush. Perhaps “bulrush” being used for unrelated plants is one of the reasons scirpus SPP. is an often overlooked edible and medicinal plant here in North America. Or perhaps it’s due to cattail being so similar yet …

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Tamarack – Larix Laricina: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sweet Gum of Wild Plants

Tamarack - Larix Laricina

In Chippewa, mu’ckigwa’tig, meaning “swamp tree”, tamarack is common in low, damp areas, treed bogs (especially fens) and shore banks. If you’ve read about other trees here on the Song of the Woods blog and you’re expecting a lot, you won’t be disappointed. When I moved up north I was surprised to see an “evergreen” (it’s …

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