True Solomon’s Seals – Polygonatum SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sweet Potato of North America

Hairy (sometimes called Dwarf) Solomon’s-Seal (Polygonatum pubescens) is the sole true Solomon’s seal noted on iNat for Haliburton, Ontario. It’s native. However, half a dozen species have been found in Ontario, including the somewhat edible and medicinal smooth Solomon’s seal (P. biflorum). But hairy here, as far as I know is not edible or medicinal. …

Read more

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 7: Peavines

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 7: Peavines

Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Wood Folk Diaries will be on pause in the coming months. Our 2x monthly plant features however will continue to be published. Dear Wood Folk, Poisonous or not? Hmmm. Haliburton Flora lists 4 Lathyrus species. Everlasting pea (L. latifolius), vetchling (l. palustris car. linearifolius), yellow vetchling (L. pratensis), and our …

Read more

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 …

Read more

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 5: Red Columbine and Yew

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 5: Red Columbine and Yew

Dear Wood Folk, A couple months ago we covered buttercups. Eastern red AKA Canada columbine AKA wild columbine (aquilegia canadensis) is also a member of the notoriously toxic buttercup family. All plants in this family produce toxins when wounded or macerated. Substances you wouldn’t want to handle or ingest. The leaves of our native red …

Read more

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 3: Buttercup

The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 4 (Poisonous Plants), Chapter 3: Buttercup

Dear Wood Folk, Buttercups are one of the first flowering plants I noticed when I moved to Haliburton County, Ontario. They have a reflective shininess to them that makes them pop. Buttercups are common in my yard, and common along the nearest trail. These mostly perennial plants show up in varied terrain. Some species are …

Read more

Common Gromwell – Lithospermum Officinale: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the “Ugly Duckling” of Wild Plants

Common Gromwell – Lithospermum officinale

In Chippewa, odji’biknamun refers to one species of gromwell. Common gromwell (lithospermum officinale) was noted in Haliburton Flora in a dry sandy waste area and in open damp ground beside a swamp. I found the pictured specimen in the middle of a spruce grove. The spruce had grown over an old foundation for a homestead that …

Read more