Joe-Pye Weed – Eupatorium Maculatum: Bee Bed of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa, me’skwana’kuk bu’giso’win meaning swimming, Joe-Pye weed grows well along ponds, wetlands and streams, but any damp sunny area will do. It is one of the pollinator all-stars of edible and medicinal plants. Joe-Pye weed is common around Haliburton in low wet areas by ponds, marshes, streams, and even damp ditches. One spontaneously appeared by …

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Arrowheads – Sagittaria SPP.: Marsh Potato of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa,  muj’ota’buk meaning “moose leaf”, arrowhead is an edible and medicinal plant in the humans case as well as moose. Not to be confused with arrowroot, which you can find at health food stores, you’ll find arrowhead in the marsh instead. Usually surrounded by cattail and the like, arrowhead (sagittaria SPP.) is a common aquatic …

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Alder – Alnus SPP.: Oak-like of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa, wadub, alder is a highly astringent edible and medicinal wild plant. Its usage is similar to oak. Alder means red in German, so named because the bark makes your saliva red. But don’t go nibbling on the bark now – it’s emetic (it will make you throw up!) Speckled alder (alnus rugosa) as listed …

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Spring-Beauty – Claytonia Caroliniana: Fairy Spuds of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Anishinaabemowin, miiaatikwek piniik, spring-beauty is one of our first spring flowers. It’s a small, striped edible and medicinal ephemeral and one of our first available bee foods. It even has its own specialist bee, the spring beauty miner. You might see non-natives like crocus and coltsfoot bloom first in the spring, before our bees even …

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Bulrush – Scirpus SPP.: Sweet Root of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

In Chippewa, ana’kun, bulrush is often neighbor to the similarly highly edible cattail. Across the pond, cattail is called bulrush. Perhaps “bulrush” being used for unrelated plants is one of the reasons scirpus SPP. is an often overlooked edible and medicinal plant here in North America. Or perhaps it’s due to cattail being so similar yet …

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

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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