Yellow Birch – Betula Alleghaniensis: Wintergreen Tree of Edible & Medicinal Plants

Yellow Birch - Betula Alleghaniensis

In Ojibwe, wiinizik, yellow birch has a lot in common with other birches, but along with black/sweet birch (which isn’t in Haliburton) yellow birch has a subtle wintergreen scent and taste, making it one of the few wintergreen-y edible and medicinal plants around Haliburton. Yellow birch is common around Haliburton in tall mixed woods. I notice …

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Beaked Hazel – Corylus Cornuta: Nut of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Beaked Hazel - Corylus Cornuta

In Chippewa, one word for hazel is bagan‘, which means nuts, burs or wood. Beaked hazel or hazelnut is our local edible and medicinal filbert. And it can be used just the same as the store bought one! Like many related (and similarly leaved) trees and shrubs, you’ll find them most along the edges. If …

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Tamarack – Larix Laricina: Sweet Gum of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Tamarack - Larix Laricina

In Chippewa, mu’ckigwa’tig, meaning “swamp tree”, tamarack is common in low, damp areas, treed bogs (especially fens) and shore banks. If you’ve read about other trees here on the Song of the Woods blog and you’re expecting a lot, you won’t be disappointed. When I moved up north I was surprised to see an “evergreen” (it’s …

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Highbush Cranberry – Viburnum Trilobum: Sour Patch of Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Highbush Cranberry - Viburnum Trilobum

In Ojibwe, aniibimin. Not a true cranberry, highbush cranberry is just as tart. It’s related to blueberries. Sometimes it’s called viburnum opulus var. americanum (trilobum). Opulus is the European relation, commonly called “guelder rose” in those parts. Our county is full of maple leafed looking plants. For instance, the literal maple-leaved viburnum (viburnum acerifolium). Highbush has …

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Balsam Fir – Abies Balsamea: Most Resin-ating of Local Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Balsam Fir - Abies Balsamea

In Chippewa, a’ninandak’, balsam fir is an edible and mostly medicinal tree that’s the closest local plant to frankincense that I know of, scent-wise. (But it’s not a sedative.) Its resin can also be used to make Balm of Gilead, mentioned in poplar posts. A little ecological history: When the fight against eastern spruce budworm vs …

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Quaking Aspen – Populus Tremuloides: A Popple’r Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plant

Quaking Aspen - Populus Tremuloides

In Chippewa, asa’di means aspen. “Balm of Gilead” can be made from various poplar buds including tremuloides/quaking aspen, a common edible, medicinal and useful tree in our area. Last month we talked about balsam poplar. But quaking aspen was my first ID’d poplar. I noticed a set of trees on the one-acre wood that softly trembled …

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