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

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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Bergamot – Monarda Spp.: Bee Balm of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Anishinaabemowin, sasaapkwaanins, bergamot is also popularly known as bee balm. It’s a native edible and medicinal plant that’s frequented by pollinators (although that’s not why it’s called bee balm!) And it’s a mint, named after the similar tasting bergamot orange that flavors earl grey tea. Wild bergamot (monarda fistulosa) is rare here. It’s the …

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Wild Strawberry – Fragaria Virginiana: Early Berry of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa, ode’iminidji’bik meaning “heart berry root”, wild strawberry is one of the first berries to ripen, around the start of summer in cottage country, Ontario. It’s the “queen berry” of our edible and medicinal wild plants. I titled this entry with the main wild strawberry species you’ll find in abundance here, but we also have …

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Blue-Eyed Grass – Sisyrinchium Montanum: Tiny Iris of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Does anyone have an Anishinaabemowin word for blue-eyed grasses? Strict blue-eyed grass is in the iris family, and isn’t truly a grass. This edible and medicinal wildflower is widespread and around here may be one of the first you see dotting your lawn when you haven’t mowed. Sisyrinchium montanum is Halliburton’s only blue-eyed grass, but …

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

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: Spicy Conifer of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

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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