Canadian Yew – Taxus Canadensis: Heartstopper of Not So Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Canadian Yew - Taxus Canadensis

In Chippewa, ne’bagandag’ meaning “it is one-sided”. Yew is an important shrub to know if you’re going to forage conifers. It’s trendy to make teas out of evergreens like spruce or cedar, but just a cupful of fresh yew leaves can actually kill you. While parts of yew have been used both for edible and medicinal …

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Bunchberry – Cornus Canadensis: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Little Dogwood of Wild Plants

Bunchberry – Cornus Canadensis

In Chippewa, caca’gomin or spelled zhakaagomin, bunchberry (cornus canadensis) is a small, creeping dogwood. And just like the other native dogwoods, it’s a great nectar and pollen plant and somewhat of an edible and medicinal plant for humans too. Bunchberry (cornus canadensis) is common around cottage country, Ontario. This dogwood likes wet and cool deciduous and …

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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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