Chaga – Inonotus Obliquus: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Birch Mushroom

We’re branching out into Fungi, which isn’t a plant so we may need to create a new category here with an exact title. How about Edible & Medicinal Fungi and Lichen? Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a mostly recognizable fungi, black and rugged on the outside and an orangey golden brown on the inside. There are …

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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. …

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Wild Geraniums – Geranium SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of One of the Strongest Astringent Herbs

Wild geraniums are not your common garden centre “geraniums” (Pelargonium spp.). Today’s featured plant is from a different genus. Sometimes called cranesbills, this species is slightly edible, a popular medicinal astringent and also wonderful for native landscaping. Around Haliburton, Ontario, Northern Cranes-bill (Geranium bicknellii) and the more common herb Robert (G. robertianum) are found. In …

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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 …

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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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Skullcaps – Scutellaria SPP.: Medicinal Uses of the “Perfect Nervine” of Wild Plants

Skullcaps - Scutellaria SPP.

All six species of skullcaps (Scutellaria SPP.) presently noted in Ontario on iNaturalist are native plants. The main two being the common/marsh skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) and side-flowering/mad-dog (Scutellaria lateriflora). You can find them in wet shores, swampy areas in the woods and sometimes on sandy roadsides. These two common skullcaps around Haliburton are used similarly …

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