Cardinal Flower – Lobelia Cardinalis: Not-so Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Reddest Flower of Wild Plants

Cardinal flower – Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal-flower (lobelia cardinalis) is a similar but less potent medicinal as its close relation lobelia inlata, and it’s similarly inedible. But it’s got one of the most stunning, if not the most stunning, red flowers of all of Ontario’s native plants. In Haliburton county, cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis) is an uncommon but memorable sight on …

Read more

Wild Thyme – Thymus SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Five-star Kitchen Herb

Wild thyme – Thymus SPP.

It may surprise folks that basic kitchen herbs and spices have any medicinal value. Thyme (thymus spp.) is actually a powerful medicinal herb for respiratory issues and more. Wild thymes (thymus spp.) have one species noted in Haliburton Flora: mother of thyme (t. praecox). The few specimens were found on an open hillside and in …

Read more

Pinks (Carnations) – Dianthus SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Cloves of Wild Plants

Pinks (Carnations) – Dianthus SPP.

Pinks AKA carnations (dianthus spp.) noted in Haliburton Flora include the uncommon to likely now more common Deptford pink (dianthus armeria), found on sandy roadsides amoung grasses. I see Deptford’s bright pink often along park edges and well used trails. A couple rare varieties included are maiden pink (d. deltoides) and garden pink (d. plumarius). …

Read more

Knapweeds – Centaurea SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Cornflower of Wild Plants

Knapweeds - Centaurea spp.

Most local knapweeds (centaurea spp.) look similar to bull thistle. However, you’re more likely to find your knapweed in patches instead of lone like bull thistles. Spotted knapweed (c. maculosa) is noted in Haliburton Flora on the edge of the highway, which is where I’ve seen it too. Another centaurea is bachelor’s buttons, as pictured …

Read more

Asters ft. New England Aster – Symphyotrichum SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the “Move Over, Mums”

Asters ft. New England aster - Symphyotrichum spp.

In Chippewa, there’s name’g osibug meaning “sturgeon leaf”, referring to an aster that was served with fish. New England asters (symphyotrichum novae-angliae) names include wini’sikens and waanisikensiwang. Asters are all-stars for pollinators and they’re also somewhat edible and medicinal. The American asters (symphyotrichum spp. formerly included in aster spp.) are native to the Americas. A single …

Read more

Indian Tobacco – Lobelia Inflata: Medicinal Uses of the Smoking Cessation Herb of Wild Plants

Indian Tobacco - Lobelia Inflata

Indian tobacco (lobelia inflata) has yet to be renamed, but I imagine it will be decolonized in the future. Another less common name for it is “wild tobacco”. I was going to cover cardinal flower this month, a showier, bright-red close relation. But usage-wise our title plant is stronger. It’s considered toxic yet has medicinal …

Read more