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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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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Serviceberry – Amelanchier SPP.: Early Bloomer of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Serviceberry - Amelanchier SPP.

In Chippewa, guzigwa’kominaga’wunj, referring to the shad fish spawning when the serviceberry blooms. The English name serviceberry has origins related to when one can finally have funeral services/burial for winters dead. They’re also called juneberries even though you’ll be waiting until the end of June or later for ripe berries. Here around Haliburton, Ontario you’ll …

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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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Common Blackberry – Rubus Allegheniensis: Cordial Bramble of Foraged Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Common Blackberry - Rubus Allegheniensis

In Chippewa, oda’tagago’minaga’wunj, common blackberry is a cordial wild edible and medicinal bramble. It’s distinguishable from black raspberries by having a core instead of being hollow inside when harvested (second picture down this page). There are around 50 species of black and raspberries in North America and up here in the north, aren’t we lucky it’s …

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