View Full Version : Why you need to be concerned about plants

02-05-2008, 12:50 PM
These plants are in the areas I trek in, they may be in your area too. I keep them and pics on 3x5 cards that I laminated in my haversack.
Since earliest times, plants have played a major role in human survival. Peoples such as the Shawnee & Miami Indians relied heavily on plants for food, medicine, clothing and shelter. Native plants were also important to the survival and well-being of early settlers from other continents. Wild grapes were collected for their sweetness and juice, wild onions for seasoning and beechnuts for an emergency food. Young common milkweed was eaten as an asparagus, black willow was a remedy for pain and sassafras was made into a soothing tea. Today, wild growing native plants are not an important source of food for most Ohioans. However, many people continue to have an intense interest in wild plants and their uses. Knowing how the American Indians and others used a plant provides us with a better understanding of the value of biological diversity and of our natural environment, as well as our rich cultural history. Below are selected species of edible plants found in the areas of Ohio I trek in. Common names are in bold type with its scientific name in italics.
Common Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
Edible Uses: The fruit is used to make cordials and wines, and a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage or tea. Tender young sprouts and twigs are used in soups and stews.
Medicinal Uses: A good source of Vitamin C, blackberries are useful as an antiscorbutic (helps prevent scurvy).
Lambs Quarters/Goosefoot (Chenopodium sp.)
Edible Uses: A cousin to spinach, young plants and very young leaves of older plants are eaten as greens or when freshly picked, added to salads. The seeds, ground into a dark meal, make a flour for cakes and gruel or boiled until soft to make a nourishing cereal.
Medicinal Uses: High in Vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, leaves of lambs quarters have been used to prevent scurvy. Leaves are also used for stomachaches and as a poultice for burns. Cold leaf tea is taken for diarrhea.
Cleavers (Galium aparine)
Warning! Juices of this plant may cause dermatitis (skin rash)!
Medicinal Uses: Leaves are applied as a poultice to reduce swelling. As an herbal tea it is used as a diuretic, to reduce fevers, for bladder and kidney inflammations (kidney stones), and as a "blood purifier."
Grape (Vitis sp.)
Edible Uses: Grapes are used to make a light tea, wine, and vinegar. Cut vines may be used as a water source during periods of drought.
Medicinal Uses: Tea made from the leaf is used for diarrhea, hepatitis and stomachaches. A poultice of wilted leaves may be used for sore breasts and external cuts.
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Warning! Fruit is edible but other parts of this plant are poisonous!
Edible Uses: The fruit may be eaten raw after it is ripened by frost, but not everyone enjoys the flavor. Ripened fruit is cooked into jam or jelly.
Medicinal Uses: Externally, mayapple is used as a treatment for warts and skin eruptions. Internally, a very small amount of root may be used as a cathartic (Laxative), a worm expellant, for jaundice, constipation, hepatitis, fever and syphilis.
Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cermuun)
Edible Uses: This plant is cooked or steamed as a vegetable or added to soups, stews and eggs.
Medicinal Uses: Very high in vitamin A, nodding wild onions are used for colds, colic, croup and fever. A poultice of the plant may be applied to the chest for respiratory ailments or rubbed over the body as an insect repellant.
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
Warning! Mature green leaves and stems are poisonous! Edible Uses: Pokeweed is an important source of food for wildlife. When used as a food source for humans, it should be boiled and the water changed at least three times. Very young sprouts are simmered and lightly salted to be eaten like asparagus.
Medicinal Uses: A berry tea is brewed for rheumatism, arthritis and dysentery. A root poultice may be applied for rheumatism, neuralgic pain and bruises. Leaf poultice is a treatment for pimples and blackheads.
Smartweed/Knotweed (Polygonum sp.)
Edible Uses: High in nutritional value, this tasty tuber-like root can be roasted or boiled. Very young tender leaves are cooked to be eaten as a vegetable or used to enhance soups or eaten in salads. Old hollow roots are prepared in a way we would prepare domestic rhubarb.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Warning! Pollen or plant may cause an allergic reaction!
Edible Uses: Sunflower seeds are crushed and boiled to extract a light oil. Seeds are also roasted in the shell to make coffee or ground into a meal for cereal or flour.
Medicinal Uses: A tea made from the flowers is used as a treatment for lung ailments and malaria. Leaf tea is drank for high fevers. The astringent quality of the leaf tea makes it useful as a poultice for snake bites and spider bites.
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Edible Uses: All parts of this plant (leaves, stem and blossoms) make a refreshing tea.
Medicinal Uses: Leaf tea is used as an antiseptic or drank for colic, flatulence, colds, fevers, stomachaches, nosebleeds, insomnia and heart trouble.
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadensis)
Edible Uses: The root, fresh or dried, is used as a cooking spice. Sliced, dried, and ground, the root also makes a rich, sugary syrup and confection.
Medicinal Uses: Root tea is drank for whooping cough, flatulency, indigestion, fevers, colds and heart conditions, or used to promote sweating. Teas are also drank as an expectorant.
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
Edible Uses: Fresh fruit may be used on shortcakes, in tarts, as a sauce, and cooked into jellies, jams and preserves. Pressed and dried fruit supplemented the winter diet. Brewed stems, stocks and leaves of the plant make a tasty hot tea or cold drink.
Medicinal Uses: High in vitamin C, this unusually nutritious fruit prepared as a syrup, infusion or decoction is thought to be useful for fevers, "gravel" (kidney stones), gout, scurvy and consumption.
Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)
Edible Uses: These edible greens are collected and added to salads or steeped for a cold, sour drink.
Medicinal Uses: Rich in vitamin C, sorrel is chewed for nausea and mouth sores. Fresh leaves are useful as a poultice or drank as a tea for urinary infections, scurvy and sore throats.

02-05-2008, 01:38 PM
Wild Black Cherry (Prunas serotina)
Edible Uses: A "poor man's cherry substitute," this bittersweet juice is added to raw liquors to smooth and stretch the liquids. The rich juice is favored for cooking. Also, dark jellies, jams and sauces are made from the berry.
Medicinal Uses: The fruit brewed into a tea or syrup is taken for coughs, fevers, cold, sore throats, diarrhea, lung ailments, bronchitis, pneumonia and inflammations. The fruit tea is also taken as a sedative, an expectorant and a blood tonic.
Black Locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia)
Warning! All parts of this plant (roots, bark, leaves and seeds) are poisonous.
Medicinal uses: The root bark has been chewed to induce vomiting or held in the mouth for a toothache. Historically, a flower tea was used as a folk tonic (purgative).
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Edible Uses: Sweet oil is extracted from crushed nut meats to make nut butter or nut oil. Whole or crushed nuts are added to cakes, candies, salads and made into syrups. The spring sap of the trees can be used the same as maple tree sap.
Medicinal Uses: Inner bark tea is used as an emetic (induce vomiting) or as a laxative. The inner bark is chewed for a toothache or colic. Fresh husk juice is applied to ringworm or as a poultice for inflammation. Leaf teas are used as an astringent and as an insecticide against bed bugs.
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Edible Uses: The fruit ripens in September and October. Eating the dried fruit of the hackberry takes the edge off of winter hunger. The dried fruit and the white kernels (cracked from the shells) have a sweet date-like flavor. Pounded dried pits add flavor to venison.
Hickory (Carya sp.)
Edible Uses: Water added to the dried powder pounded from shells and kernels makes a milky, oily liquid to add to vegetables and desserts.
Medicinal uses: The inner bark makes a purgative or a laxative. Externally, a poultice of the inner bark is applied to blisters.
Paw Paw (Asiminia triloba)
Warning! Seeds are toxic!
Edible Uses: This sweet fruit is favored by wildlife. After a heavy frost, the ripened fruit is gathered and eaten raw or cooked into a dessert.
Medicinal Uses: The fruit is used as a laxative and a diuretic. A poultice of the leaves may be applied to abscesses. Powdered seeds are applied to the head as an insecticidal for lice.
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Warning! Contains tannic acid that is toxic!
Edible Uses: Tannin is leached from the nuts with several water baths. Nuts may then be roasted or ground as a course meal for cakes or to mix with cornmeal, added to soups for seasoning or made into coffee. A nut milk or nut oil is obtained by pounding and boiling the nuts. This oil or milk may then be used to season vegetables.
Medicinal Uses: Historically, tea of the inner bark was used for chronic diarrhea, dysentery, as a gargle for sore throats, and a skin wash for poison ivy rash and burns. Inner bark tea was considered a folk remedy for cancer.
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
Edible Uses: The fresh fruit is cooked into jams and jellies or eaten raw. Warm and cold drinks are made from the juice of the fruit. Young tender twigs may be eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable along with the very young unfolded leaves.
Medicinal Uses: Root teas drank are for weakness, difficult urination and dysentery. Externally, the sap us applied to ringworm.
Red Bud (Cercis canadensis)
Warning! Contains tannin - potentially toxic in large amounts!
Edible Uses: Flower buds are added to salads, while young pods are sautéed as vegetables. The seed oil has a peanut flavor and is used as a seasoning.
Medicinal Uses: Inner bark tea is highly astringent and may be used as a sore throat gargle. Tea made from the bark is a folk remedy for stomachaches, heart burn, diarrhea and dysentery. Tea may also be used as a wash or poultice for warts and cancers.
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Edible Uses: Tea is made from young roots. Roots are also used as a spice. The green winter buds are edible, as are the very young spring leaves. Dried leaves with the hard parts and veins removed are used to flavor and thicken soups. Dried bark is ground to sweeten and thicken stews.
Medicinal Uses: Young sprouts boiled make an eye wash. Aromatic dried root is smoked like tobacco. Tea of the root bark is used as a "blood purifier," for stomachaches, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, kidney ailments, colds, fevers and skin eruptions. A poultice made of the pith of twigs is a treatment for eye ailments.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)
Edible Uses: The inner bark is brewed for a healthful tea. A nutritious flour is made from the dried and ground inner bark.
Medicinal Uses: Tea of the inner bark is taken for sore throats, upset stomachs, ulcers, coughs, pleurisy, diarrhea, dysentery or added to broths for children and the elderly.
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Edible Uses: The seeds when hulled and boiled are edible. In the spring, these trees are tapped for their sap, which is boiled into syrup and sugar.
Medicinal Uses: Pure sap may be drank as a spring tonic. Spring sap syrup is also taken as a liver tonic, a kidney cleanser and a cough syrup. Teas of the inner bark are drank for a cough or diarrhea and were thought to be useful as a diuretic, an expectorant and a "blood purifier."

02-05-2008, 01:44 PM
Edible Plants of Ohio Woodlands

WARNING: A plant on the list just means that I kow of it. This does not mean that it is edible. Some plants in an edible list are toxic until prepared correctly or have toxic parts. KNOW before you eat !

VioletViola purpurea, pedunculata SPP
woodsorrel Oxalis SPP
Bracken fern Pteridium aquilinum
Wild ginger Asarum SPP
Miner's lettuce Claytonia perfoliata (Montia)
Lomatium Lomatium SPP
Brodiaea Brodiaea pulchella
Mariposa lily/fairy lantern/star tulip Calochortus nuttallii,gunnisonii
Lily Lilium Pardalinum
Solomon's seal Polygonatum SPP
False Solomon's seal Smilacina SPP
TrilliumTrillium ovatum SPP (4)
Shooting stars Dodecatheon hendersonii
Alum root Heuchera SPP (28)
Waterleaf Hydrophyllum occidentale
Indian paintbrush Castilleja
Horsetail Equisetum SPP
Spearmint Mentha spicata
Peppermint Mentha piperita
Penny royal Hedeoma pulegioides
Coyote mint Monardella villosa
Henbit Lamium amplexicaule
Field mint Mentha
Rose Rosa californica, arkansana
Redbud Cercis occidentalis
Sumac Rhus hirta, typhina, glabra, copallina
Squawbush Rhus trilobata
Lemonade berry Rhus integrifolia
Sugarbush Rhus ovata
Manzanita Arctostaphylos
Wild strawberry Fragaria virginiana
Raspberry Rubus Leucodermis
Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus
Blackberry Rubus
Blueberry Vaccinium occidentale
Serviceberry Amelanchier SPP (24)
Toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia CurrantRibes SPP
Gooseberry Ribes roezlii, velutinum
Mulberry Morus SPP
Western snowberry Symphoricarpos occidentalis SPP The eastern species causes vomiting (Symphoricarpos albus)
Barberry Crataegus berberifolia
Oregon Grape Mahonia (Berberis)
Grape Vitis californica, SPP
Elderberry Sambucus melanocarpa, mexicana
Hawthorne Crataegus SPP
Hackberry Celtis douglasii, pallida
Pin Cherry Prunus pensylvanica
Sour Cherry Prunus cerasus
Holly leaf Cherry Prunus ilicifolia
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana
Indian plum Oemleria cerasiformis
Cascara/coffeeberry Rhamnus californics, purshiana
Deer bush Ceanothus Aspen Populus SPP
Willow Salix SPP
Maple Acer SPP
Butternut Juglans cinerea
Hazel nut Corylus cornuta, americana
Chinquapin Castanopsis chrysophylla, sempervire Chrysolepis sempervirens
Digger pine Pinus sabiniana
Sugar pine Pinus lambertiana
Pinyon pine Pinus monophylla, quadrifolia,edulis
White oak Quercus alba
Black oak Quercus kelloggii
Live oak Quercus chrysolepis

02-05-2008, 01:54 PM
Edible Plants of the Northwest, just a few I know there are a ton more.

Avalanche lily Erythronium grandiflorum ssp.
Yellow bells Fritillaria pubica
Bear grass Xerphyllum tenax
Strawberry blite Chenopodium capitatum
Skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanum
Devil's club Echinopanax horridum or(Oploanaxh)
Clitonia Clintonia borealis
Twist stalk Streptopus SPP
Buffaloberry Shepherdia SPP
Bunch berry Cornus canadensis
Mountain ash Sorbus SPP (Pyrus)
Salal Gaultheria shallon
Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, rubra, alpin
Licorice Glycyrrhia lepidota

02-05-2008, 02:20 PM
These I've found along streams, rivers, ponds and lakes in the Ohio Valley area when trekking.

Water lily Brasenia schreberi
Fragrant lily
Yellow Pond lily Nuphar lutea
Reed grass Phragmites communis Phragmites Phragmites SPP
Bamboo Arundinaria SPP
Bamboo shoot Arundinaria SPP
Sedge Carex
Nut grass Cyperus esculentus, rotundus
Bur reed Sparganium simplex
Bulrush Scirpus SPP
Calamus Acorus calamus
Arrowhead Sagitarria latifolia
Indian rhubarb Peltiphyllum peltatum
Cattail Typha latifolia, angustifolia

02-05-2008, 03:35 PM
Crap this thread name is way wrong, It should read: My Ohio Plant List..... SARGE!!!!!!!!
Can You Fix that, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. And yes I got tired of all the highlighting and Italics... sorry.
Thanks Beo,

02-06-2008, 01:50 AM
Man that is some great work Thanks

02-20-2008, 04:43 PM
I believe sassafras was used to make root beer originally, until it was discovered to be a carcinogen. Then they had to use fake flavors.

Search Google for: +sassafras +carcinogen

Tony uk
02-20-2008, 07:56 PM
Very Nice :D

02-20-2008, 09:52 PM
Beowulf65, nice work... Now if I can just remember all of that I might not lose as many clients.

02-20-2008, 11:03 PM
Sassafras is a carcinogen!!! do you know which parts of the plant or is it the whole thing? i just lately started a herbal garden , keeping the plants inside though , the temp being -47 and all lol. i was curious if anyone here knows anything about Datura , its a very common plant in N America that has some hallucinogenic properties , iv been doing some research but all i can find is the shamanic element to it. any information would be much appreciated.

02-21-2008, 09:02 AM
Like me post says, do a Google search for +sassafras +carcinogen
and start reading some of the sites that pop up. I think I got 1060 sites from that search. I would focus on domains that end in ".edu" or ".gov" because those are more likely some type of lab.

My point is not to sow FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) but to get you thinking "Perhaps I should update my info." Just because you got your info from a book published in 1999 does not mean that is when the info was new. The info from that book could have come from another book from 1957, and THAT info could have been taken from a book published in 1920, and that info was taken from a book from 1901, etc. etc. I.e. the info itself is outdated.

Just be safe out there people.

02-21-2008, 09:10 AM
FYI: I have seen a handful of plants that are safe to eat if you pick and cook them before they shoot up a flower stalk. I think pokeberry was one of them. Interesting isn't it? The flowering process must cause the plant to make a chemical poisonous to people.

02-21-2008, 09:33 AM
Here is a link on Sassafras I posted on another thread:


To answer your question, Marcraft, Sassafras is a deciduous tree and the roots are boiled to make the tea. The leaves can be dried and ground to make a spice powder. I've read you can roll a leaf and stick it behind your ear to keep mosquitoes and flies away but I've never tried it.

Here is a link for Datura (aka Jimson Weed):


NOTE: My Peterson Field Guide says the following about Datura: "All parts of this plant are extremely poisonous."

02-21-2008, 09:51 AM
WTH? That's the same stuff growing in the neighbor's yard 10 houses down the street from me! We also call it "Angel's Trumpet". Another similar looking plant, different genus, is called "Devil's Trumpet". Oh yeah, the other genus is Brugmansia, aka "Brugs".

I never knew it was called "Jimson weed". Here and there the news reports on some kids smoking it and dying.

02-21-2008, 09:59 AM
Maracraft here's what I came up with on Datura.
Datura is a genus of 12-15 species of vespertineflowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. Their exact natural distribution is uncertain, due to extensive cultivation and naturalization throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the globe, but is most likely restricted to the Americas, from the United States south through Mexico (where the highest species diversity occurs) to the mid-latitudes of South America. Some species are reported by some authorities to be native to China, but this is not accepted by the Flora of China, where the three species present are treated as introductions from the Americas. It also grows naturally throughout India and most of Australia. According to the old ayurvedic medicinal system (at least since 2000 BC) in India, this plant has versatile uses in medicinal preparations.
Datura is a woody-stalked, leafy herb growing up to 2 meters. It produces spiney seed pods and large white or purple trumpet-shaped flowers that face upward. Most parts of the plant contain atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. It has a long history of use both in S. America and Europe and is known for causing delirious states and poisonings in uninformed users. Common names include jimson weed, Hell's Bells, Devil's weed, Devil's cucumber, thorn-apple (from the spiny fruit), pricklyburr (similarly), and somewhat paradoxically, both angel's trumpet and devil's trumpet,(from their large trumpet-shaped flowers), or as Nathaniel Hawthorne refers to it in the the Scarlet Letter apple-Peru. The word Datura comes from Hindi dhatūrā (thorn apple); record of this name dates back only to 1662. The Hindi derives this word from Sanskrit vedic literature that dates to long before 2000 BC.
They are large, vigorous annual plants or short-lived perennial plants, growing to 1-3 m tall. The leaves are alternate, 10-20 cm long and 5-18 cm broad, with a lobed or toothed margin. The flowers are erect or spreading (not pendulous), trumpet-shaped, 5-20 cm long and 4-12 cm broad at the mouth; color varies from white to yellow, pink, and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule 4-10 cm long and 2-6 cm broad, splitting open when ripe to release the numerous seeds.
Datura species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hypercompe indecisa.

02-21-2008, 10:37 AM
erowid says that most of the uninformed kids taking datura take entire pods (pod = 100-200 seeds) and all you need is like 10 seeds to experience the hallucinogenic effects. you guys should read some of the datura experience reports , its some of the most hilarious things iv ever read.


02-21-2008, 11:17 AM
What would anyone even want to do that? I get plenty high just on life.

02-21-2008, 11:47 AM
not rly but its fun 2 read about ^_^

02-21-2008, 03:20 PM
Bulrush said "My point is not to sow FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) but to get you thinking "Perhaps I should update my info." Just because you got your info from a book published in 1999 does not mean that is when the info was new. The info from that book could have come from another book from 1957, and THAT info could have been taken from a book published in 1920, and that info was taken from a book from 1901, etc. etc. I.e. the info itself is outdated."

So are you saying my info is outdated and from a book?

05-16-2008, 11:28 PM
Might want to mention that mayapple fruit itself is also poisonous when not fully ripe. Unless it has frosted and the friut has pretty much fallen off the plant, it is not tasty enough to risk unless you are experienced or try it carefully. Worth trying for the learning experience, but you might want to go find some apples or hawthorne or berries or roses for fruit.