The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 6: Baneberries

Dear Wood Folk, Have you seen the plant with doll’s eyes for berries? In Samuel Thayer’s newest book, Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, he calls baneberry “possibly the most poisonous fleshy berry” in our region. As far as berries go both white (Actaea pachypoda) and red (Actaea rubra) baneberries can make you feel pretty …

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Canadian Yew – Taxus Canadensis: Heartstopper of Not So Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Canadian Yew - Taxus Canadensis

In Chippewa, ne’bagandag’ meaning “it is one-sided”. Yew is an important shrub to know if you’re going to forage conifers. It’s trendy to make teas out of evergreens like spruce or cedar, but just a cupful of fresh yew leaves can actually kill you. While parts of yew have been used both for edible and medicinal …

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Bush-Cranberries – Viburnum SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Alt Cranberry of Wild Plants

Bush-Cranberries – Viburnum SPP.

Bush cranberries are a common sight in Cottage country, Ontario. These berried shrubs include hobblebush, wild raisin, nannyberry, maple-leaved viburnum and highbush cranberry. All mentioned have edible and medicinal uses. Bush-cranberries (viburnum SPP.) are common here around Haliburton. Hobblebush (viburnum lantanoides), pictured in the featured image, is common along wooded roadsides and edges of woods. …

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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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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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Cinquefoils – Potentilla SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Mock Strawberries of Wild Plants

Cinquefoils - Potentilla SPP.

In Ojibwe, tcode’ imînaga’ wûnj meaning “like a strawberry” is a name for one of the cinquefoils. You can find at least seven species in our area of Central Ontario, with varying levels of edibility and medicinal quality. Around the world the most popular cinquefoils are tormentil and silverweed, neither of which are in Haliburton, Ontario. …

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