White spruce – Picea glauca

In Chippewa, cingob’ These next two edible and medicinal wild plants are very similar: white spruce and white pine. They’re named for the white crust that often coats them. The white spruce’s stiff needles are a blueish green. It’s also called skunk or cat spruce, and if you crush the mature needles and sniff you’ll […]

Wild sarsaparilla – Aralia nudicaulis

In Chippewa, wabos’odji’bik meaning “rabbit root” Wild sarsaparilla’s folk names include rabbit foot and wild licorice. In some of my herbal books, it’s called spikenard instead. There are many plants named spikenard. There’s also the slightly larger bristly sarsaparilla (aralia hispida) in our area of Central Ontario, which can be told apart by the bristly […]

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

In Chippewa, a’djidamo’wano meaning ajidamoo (squirrel) and in a localized dialect wano (tail); also, ajidamoo refers to the red squirrel specifically, as per Ojibwe People’s Dictionary Yarrow is another European import. It’s most descriptive folk name is woundwort. It’s not the only “woundwort”, so cheers for Latin names. On the same note, it’s been called […]

Common milkweed – Asclepias syriaca

In Chippewa, ini’niwunj meaning “man like” Milkweeds folk names are somewhat all over the place, as there are tons of varieties, and many probably don’t refer mainly to A. syriaca. Silkweed is one of the more descriptive names that certainly applies. Edible Uses Common milkweed is a versatile edible plant. To me, it tastes green […]

White birch – Betula papyrifera

In Chippewa, Wi’gwass’tig. White Birch is sometimes called Paper Birch or Canoe Birch after two of its many utilizations. Are you curious How the Birch Tree Got It’s Burns? Click that link for the Ojibwe legend. Then the caption on the photo to the left will make sense. Edible Uses The twigs and leaves make […]

Common burdock – Arctium minus

In Chippewa, Wiisagibag meaning bitter leaf, also Wiisagijiibik meaning bitter taproot and Gi’ masan meaning big stickers. Burdock’s folk names are predominately along the lines of burr-this or that-burr, like burrseed for instance. Which is questionable – it’s the part of the plant used the least. And if you’ve been playing along, you know I […]