Shepherd’s Purse – Capsella Bursa-pastoris: Edible & Medicinal Uses of Another Mustard of Wild Plants

Shepherd’s Purse – Capsella Bursa-pastoris

Shepherd’s purse is the second-most prolific wild “weed” in the entire world (polygonum aviculare/pigweed is #1). In cottage country Ontario it’s not that prolific, but you can still find this edible and medicinal mustard. Shepherd’s purse (capsella bursa-pastoris) may be found around here on dry sandy sites and moist wooded roadsides. I’ve only found it …

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Partridge-berry – Mitchella Repens: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Uterine Tonic of Wild Plants

Partridge-berry Mitchella Repens

Partridge-berry, not to be confused with wintergreen or cranberries, also sometimes called partridgeberries, or for lingonberry. Partridge-berries are an edible and medicinal evergreen vine, non climbing, with double-berry fused red fruits. The leaves have white veins. Partridge-berry (mitchella repens) is common around Haliburton, Ontario. The first specimen I found was on a rocky outcrop along …

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American Wintergreen – Gaultheria Procumbens: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Other Snowberry of Wild Plants

American Wintergreen - Gaultheria Procumbens

In Chippewa, wini’sibugons’  meaning “dirty leaf”, American wintergreen is often called Eastern tea berry now. It’s edible and medicinal, but you have to mind the amount you use because the oil is toxic if overdosed. Similar to Aspirin, just a tsp of pure wintergreen oil is the equivalent of 21 and a half adult aspirins. American …

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Catnip – Nepeta Cataria: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Nightcap of Wild Plants

Catnip - Nepeta Cataria

In Chippewa, gajugens’ibug meaning “little-cat leaf”, catnip isn’t native to Ontario, but at least it’s not aggressive. It’s a surprisingly useful edible and medicinal plant, if you’re not pregnant. And whether or not you’re a cat. Catnip (nepeta cataria) is uncommon around Haliburton, but I find it around old farmsteads. It may also show up …

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Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum Thalictroides: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Woman’s Ally of Wild Plants

Blue Cohosh - Caulophyllum Thalictroides

In Chippewa, be’cigodji’biguk meaning one root, blue cohosh is similar to its name twin black cohosh, but from a whole other genus of plants. They aren’t look-a-likes, but their medicinal uses are similar. “Cohosh” is from an Algonquin word related to pregnancy/women. Both cohoshes are species at risk of overharvest. Presently, motherwort is a more sustainable choice …

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Common Juniper – Juniperus Communis: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Spicy Conifer of Wild Plants

Common Juniper - Juniperus Communis

In Chippewa, ga’gawan’dagisid meaning deceptive, common junipers “berries” aren’t as sweet as they appear. (I’m not actually sure that is why deceptive is the descriptive name.) But common juniper is still an edible and medicinal plant, especially popular in Northern Europe. In Haliburton, Ontario, you’ll find communis var. depressa Pursh. It’s been fairly common around here, especially …

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