Fire Cherry – Prunus Pensylvanica: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Bird Cherry of Wild Plants

Fire Cherry - Prunus Pensylvanica

We’ve covered almost every native cherry in Ontario and this fire cherry, also called bird cherry for one, is no exception to the fact prunus spp. are fantastic for birds and other wildlife. And not just jam! Pin cherry / Fire cherry (prunus pensylvanica) was common along roadsides, woodland slopes, lake banks, and stream banks …

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False Solomon’s Seal – Smilacina Racemosa: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Butterscotch of Wild Plants

False Solomon’s-seal - Smilacina Racemosa

In Chippewa, agong’osiminun, false Solomon’s seal is known by multiple Latin names: smilacina racemosa, maianthemum racemosum, and vagnera racemosa. If you’ve seen a plant with a massive cluster of speckled pink and red berries hanging from it along the border of your woods, this edible and medicinal plant is likely the one. Around Haliburton we …

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Tamarack – Larix Laricina: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Sweet Gum of 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.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Early Bloomer of 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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Lowbush Blueberry – Vaccinium Angustifolium: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Super Berry of Wild Plants

Lowbush blueberry - Vaccinium angustifolium

In Chippewa, minaga’wunj, blueberry. Lowbush (also called “low sweet”) blueberry is common here, as is velvet-leaf blueberry (vaccinium myrtilloides) which thrives around marshes. I’ve heard a few personal anecdotes from locals about picking blueberries all the while watching a black bear or bears doing the same nearby. The shorter species of “vaccinium” are cranberries and …

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Common Blackberry – Rubus Allegheniensis: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Cordial Bramble of 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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