Raising Little Heathens

Plant lore Page 1


Plant lore

These are some plants which are easy to recognize in the wild and learn about. You really should get some good plant books with color pictures. The very best one for the beginning herbalist, in my opinion, is the Readersí Digestís Magic and Medicine of Herbs. This book has both clear and detailed drawings and photographs, some herbal history, and concise and accurate descriptions and usage information. For in depth information on the healing properties of herbs, I recommend anything by Susun Weed.

Other good field identification books are found in Ranger Stations run by the Park and Forestry services. They will have books relating to the indiginous plants and animals in your area. For ease in identification of plants in the field, be sure to get books which sort wild plants by flower color.

When in the woods, donít eat any berry, seed, nut or leaf unless you are sure of what it is. Compound berries like blackberries and raspberries are the safest. Red or white berries on large shrubs and trees are the most risky. Donít suck on any flower just because it looks like honeysuckle; there are several toxic plants with funnel shaped flowers in the nightshade family. Wild tobaccos fall into this catagory. Stay away from round spiky fruited plants.

Never trust any plant until you have seen the flower unless you are quite experienced at wild crafting. There are several plants which look a lot alike, one of which is very poisonous. Examples are wild carrot, wild celery and poison hemlock, blue and death camas, and comfrey and foxglove. Mushrooms are to look at but not touch; even experts wind up in the hospital with terminal liver damage!

The plants I am recommending are the easiest ones to identify I know of, both the safe and the dangerous ones, which I call ďtouch-me-notsĒ.

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