Natural Favours

Natural Favours
Bestow a favour on your guests

Friday, September 21, 2012

Free Issue of The Plant Healer

Free Issue of The Plant Healer

The Plant Healer is a quarterly publication that is not only useful information for medicinal herb practitioners, its also an incredibly beautiful ezine. Here's a free sample issue for your enjoyment:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Edible Flowers

Stir Fry Blooms

42 Edible Blooms to Spice Up Your Dinner Table 

Eating flowers is common in many cultures and the practice was quite the thing to do in the past. Nasturtiums and lilies do show up in salads and garnishes in 'better' restaurants from time to time, but  the practice has fallen out of fashion in North America until recently.

Years ago, I loved to stop at the Candy Bowl in Halifax when I had a bit of money to spare to buy candied violets and rose petals. I savoured the delicate, almost fruity flavour.

But that store has since vanished to be replaced, sadly, by a fast food restaurant.  I have no idea where to purchase such a treat today, although I suppose I could order online. You can buy just about anything out there.

On the other hand, if you're a tad creative, it's much more fun to do up your own, especially if you're a gardener and these overlooked tastly edibles are growing right outside your door. If you're going to go online, why not take a quick stock of the blooms in your back yard, wild or planted and search for a good recipe.

A quick run through of Amazon or Chapters will turn up a goodly collection of flower cook books, which suggests that a whole new troop of marigold munchers is taking up the habit. While some would suggest that they're probably the same lot that forages in city parks for other wild edibles, chances are, they're just plain old garden variety vegetarians, looking to add some color and exotic flavor to their meals. Flowers, sweet or savoury, however, are fun for everyone's dinner table.

Here's a list of edibles that includes the know how and recipes for cooking and preparing 42 edible flowers. Go ahead and indulge. Add some kick to your salads, pizazz to your soups and casseroles and delicious seasonings to your desserts and you'll impress your friends with your sophisticated culinary abilities.

Avocado with Violets Vinaigrette

Thanks to Tree Huggers Blog

Monday, September 03, 2012

Top 20 Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants to Gather in Autumn

Fall Foraging

Bearberry or Kinnikinnick 
Arctostaphylos uvaursi  
Kinnikinnick is a common evergreen shrub with reddish, scaly bark and thick, leathery leaves 4 centimeters long and 1 centimeter wide. It has white flowers and bright red fruits. Habitat and Distribution: Look for kinnikinnick in sandy or rocky soil. Edible berries raw or cooked. You can make a refreshing tea from its young leaves.

Blackberry, Raspberry
Rubus  Blackberries and raspberries are known to most by their prickly stems (canes) that grow upward, arching back toward the ground. They have alternate, usually compound leaves. Their fruits may be red, black, yellow, or orange.Habitat and Distribution: Grow in open, sunny areas at the edge of woods, lakes, streams, and roads. Edible Parts: The fruits and peeled young shoots are edible. Other Uses: Use the leaves to make tea. To treat diarrhea, drink a tea made by brewing the dried root bark of the blackberry bush.
Burdock and Thistles 

Arctium minus

Description: These large biennial herbs stand 1 - 2.5 m tall and have broad alternate leaves with several flower heads. The leaves are ovate to oblong, even cordate and up to 50 cm long. The flowers are tubular, pink or purplish. The seeds are borne in prickly burrs. Edible parts & Uses: The young shoots and leaves are cooked as a green. The inner pith of the stems can be eaten raw. The roots are eaten both boiled and roasted and are often used as a coffee substitute.

An infusion of the roots is used to stimulating bile flow and has a mild laxative effect. The tea or a tincture of the roots has been used for stomach complaints and for a prolapsed uterus. A decoction of the roots is used for gout and rheumatism, to wash sores and traditionally as an antidote after eating poisonous food, especially mushrooms. The powdered seeds have been used as a diuretic. The leaves can be used as a poultice for poison ivy, poison oak, to soothe skin irritations, for impetigo, syphilis, gonorrhea and sunburn.
The seeds are an excellent diuretic. A tincture of the seed has been used as a folk remedy for joint inflammation.

Typha latifolia  
Description: Cattails are grasslike plants with strap-shaped leaves 1 to 5 centimeters wide and growing up to 1.8 meters tall. The male flowers are borne in a dense mass above the female flowers. These last only a short time, leaving the female flowers that develop into the brown cattail. Pollen from the male flowers is often abundant and bright yellow.Habitat and Distribution: Cattails are found throughout most of the world. Look for them in full sun areas at the margins of lakes, streams, canals, rivers, and brackish water.
Edible Parts: The young tender shoots are edible raw or cooked. The rhizome is often very tough but is a rich source of starch. Pound the rhizome to remove the starch and use as a flour. The pollen is also an exceptional source of starch. When the cattail is immature and still green, you can boil the female portion and eat it like corn on the cob.
Other Uses: The dried leaves are an excellent source of weaving material you can use to make floats and rafts. The cottony seeds make good pillow stuffing and insulation. The fluff makes excellent tinder. Dried cattails are effective insect repellents when burned.

Chicory Cichorium intybus  
Description: This plant grows up to 1.8 meters tall. It has leaves clustered at the base of the stem and some leaves on the stem. The base leaves resemble those of the dandelion. The flowers are sky blue and stay open only on sunny days. Chicory has a milky juice.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for chicory in old fields, waste areas, weedy lots, and along roads. It is a native of Europe and Asia, but is also found in Africa and most of North America where it grows as a weed.
Edible Parts: All parts are edible. Eat the young leaves as a salad or boil to eat as a vegetable. Cook the roots as a vegetable. For use as a coffee substitute, roast the roots until they are dark brown and then pulverize them.

Petasites spp. (a.k.a. Tussilago spp.)

Description: This perennial herb rises from a thick creeping rhizome, with large basal leaves. The flower stalk grows up to 30 cm tall in early spring, fruiting and dying usually before the leaves show. The flowers are purple, white or yellow, the stem reddish. The leaves are from thumb size to 30 cm.

Habitat & Distribution: Coltsfoot can be found on stream banks, in swamps and wet tundra. Edible parts and other uses: The young flowering stem is a tasty spring vegetable, steamed, or stir fried. The young leaves are also edible. The rootstock may be roasted and then eaten.

The most common use for this herb is cough suppression. It is applied to cases of whooping cough, asthma, bronchial congestion and shortness of breath. It was used (in the form of a smudge) by many Natives to cure problems caused by smoking too much. It has also been used for menstrual cramps.
Externally, a decoction or poultice can be made to alleviate the discomfort of sores, insect bites and arthritic pain.

Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon
Description: This plant has tiny leaves arranged alternately. Its stem creeps along the ground. Its fruits are red berries.
Habitat and Distribution: It only grows in open, sunny, wet areas in the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Edible Parts: The berries are very tart when eaten raw. Cook in a small amount of water and add sugar, if available, to make a jelly.
Other Uses: Cranberries may act as a diuretic. They are useful for treating urinary tract infections.

Empetrum nigrum  
Description: This is a dwarf evergreen shrub with short needlelike leaves. It has small, shiny, black berries that remain on the bush throughout the winter.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for this plant in tundra throughout arctic regions of North America and Eurasia.
Edible Parts: The fruits are edible fresh or can be dried for later use.

Dandelion Taraxacum
 Description: Dandelion leaves have a jagged edge, grow close to the ground, and are seldom more than 20 cm long. Bright yellow blooms in several species. Habitat and Distribution: Grow in open, sunny locations everywhere.
Edible Parts: All parts are edible. Eat leaves raw or cooked. Boil the roots as a vegetable. Roots roasted and ground are a good coffee substitute. High in vitamins A, C and calcium. Other Uses: white juice in flower stems as glue.

Day Lilies
Hemerocallis fulva  
Description: This plant has unspotted, tawny blossoms that open for 1 day only. It has long, swordlike, green basal leaves. Its root is a mass of swollen and elongated tubers.
Habitat and Distribution: Daylilies are found worldwide in Tropic and Temperate Zones. They are grown as a vegetable in the Orient and as an ornamental plant elsewhere.
Edible Parts: The young green leaves are edible raw or cooked. Tubers are also edible raw or cooked. You can eat its flowers raw, but they taste better cooked. You can also fry the flowers for storage. Eating too many of the raw flowers may cause diarrhea.


Epilobium angustifolium  
Description: This plant grows up to 1.8 meters tall. Large, showy, pink flowers and lance-shaped leaves. 
Habitat and Distribution: Tall fireweed is found in open woods, on hillsides, on stream banks, and near seashores. Especially abundant in burned-over areas. Considered invasive species in Nova Scotia. 
Edible Parts: The leaves, stems, and flowers are edible in the spring but tough in summer. You can split open the stems of old plants and eat the pith raw.

Horsetail Equisetum sp.

Description: Horsetails are perennial plants with jointed, branched, creeping root stocks. The aerial stems are jointed with scale-like leaves at the nodes, which are encased in a toothed sheath. The internodes are hollow. The branches are whorled from the nodes, when present. The plant reproduces from spore-bearing, terminal cones. Horsetails contain a large amount of silica, and has been used for polishing metal and wood.Habitat & Distribution: Horsetails are common in a wide distribution, from lowlands to the high alpine. They are found in moist and shallow aquatic habitats.Edible Parts: The outer tissue can be peeled away and the sweet inner pulp eaten raw. The young heads of this common plant can be boiled like asparagus, but it is advisable to boil them for about 20 minutes with a change of water (if large amounts are being eaten), due to their toxic effect. After Equisetum is boiled, it can be mixed with flour or dipped in an egg and crumb mixture, then fried. Horsetail roots are somewhat tuberous and can be eaten raw in the early spring or boiled later in the season.

Some Indians and early settlers used the stems of horsetail as a stimulating tea but its most prominent property is as a diuretic. It may also be used to help heal wounds, applied in the form of a poultice.  Ingested, it is believed to be good for all internal bleeding, and as a connective tissue strengthener.
Caution:  Dosages over ½ a pound may lead to symptoms of poisoning.  There are several chemicals in this plant that have slightly toxic effects -- typically the destruction of thiamine (a B vitamin). Consumption of B vitamins will speedily reverse major side effects.

Juniper Juniperus species
Description: Junipers, sometimes called cedars, are trees or shrubs with very small, scalelike leaves densely crowded around the branches. Each leaf is less than 1.2 centimeters long. All species have a distinct aroma resembling the well-known cedar. The berrylike cones are usually blue and covered with a whitish wax.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for junipers in open, dry, sunny areas throughout North America and northern Europe. Some species are found in southeastern Europe, across Asia to Japan, and in the mountains of North Africa. Edible Parts: The berries and twigs are edible. Eat the berries raw or roast the seeds to use as a coffee substitute. Use dried and crushed berries as a seasoning for meat. Gather young twigs to make a tea. CAUTION    Many plants may be called cedars but are not related to junipers and may be harmful. Always look for the berrylike structures, needle leaves, and resinous, fragrant sap to be sure the plant you have is a juniper.

Lotus Nelumbo species
Description: Commonly called Water Lilies. There are two species of lotus: one has yellow flowers and the other pink flowers. The flowers are large and showy. The leaves, which may float on or rise above the surface of the water, often reach 1.5 meters in radius. The fruit has a distinctive flattened shape and contains up to 20 hard seeds.
Habitat and Distribution: The yellow-flowered lotus is native to North America. The pink-flowered species, which is widespread in the Orient, is planted in many other areas of the world. Lotuses are found in quiet fresh water.
Edible Parts: All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked. The underwater parts contain large quantities of starch. Dig the fleshy portions from the mud and bake or boil them. Boil the young leaves and eat them as a vegetable. The seeds have a pleasant flavor and are nutritious. Eat them raw, or parch and grind them into flour.

Nettle Urtica and Laportea 
Description: These plants grow several feet high. They have small, inconspicuous flowers. Fine, hairlike bristles cover the stems, leafstalks, and undersides of leaves. The bristles cause a stinging sensation when they touch the skin. Habitat and Distribution: Nettles prefer moist areas along streams or at the margins of forests. They are found throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern Europe.
Edible Parts: Young shoots and leaves are edible. Boiling the plant for 10 to 15 minutes destroys the stinging element of the bristles. This plant is very nutritious. Other Uses: Mature stems have a fibrous layer that you can divide into individual fibers and use to weave string or twine.

Pine Pinus species
Description: Pine trees are easily recognized by their needle like leaves grouped in bundles. Each bundle may contain one to five needles, the number varying among species. The tree's odour and sticky sap provide a simple way to distinguish pines from similar looking trees with needle like leaves.
Habitat and Distribution: Pines prefer open, sunny areas. They are found throughout North America, Central America, much of the Caribbean region, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and some places in Asia.
Edible Parts: The seeds of all species are edible. You can collect the young male cones, which grow only in the spring, as a survival food. Boil or bake the young cones. The bark of young twigs is edible. Peel off the bark of thin twigs. You can chew the juicy inner bark; it is rich in sugar and vitamins. Eat the seeds raw or cooked. Green pine needle tea is high in vitamin C.
Other Uses : Use the resin to waterproof articles. Also use it as glue. Collect the resin from the tree. If there is not enough resin on the tree, cut a notch in the bark so more sap will seep out. Put the resin in a container and heat it. The hot resin is your glue. Use it as is or add a small amount of ash dust to strengthen it. Use it immediately. You can use hardened pine resin as an emergency dental filling.  

Pineapple Weed
Matricaria matricaioides

Identification: This plant is related to chamomile (M. chamomile). Pineapple weed is an annual, 10 - 40 cm tall with a non-rayed composite flower head.  It does have a distinctive pineapple scent. Its leaves are pinnate.

Habitat & Distribution: Pineapple weed is found in almost all waste areas. It can be seen growing in cracks in the sidewalk in the centre of most towns and along many a backwoods dirt road.Edible Parts: Pineapple weed may be eaten as a tasty snack item while hiking or added to a wild salad. It makes a calming tea when steeped in hot water. The crushed leaves, stems, and flowerheads may be applied to the skin as an insect repellent. A wash made of pineapple weed will remove greases from the hair and act as a general shampoo and natural hair tonic.
It can be used as a treatment for diarrhea, stomachaches, flatulence, as a mild relaxant, and for colds and menstrual problems. Externally it can be used for itching and sores.

Plantain, Broad & Narrow leaf Plantago 
Description: The broad leaf plantain has leaves over 2.5 centimeters across that grow close to the ground. The flowers are on a spike that rises from the middle of the cluster of leaves. The narrow leaf plantain has leaves up to 12 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters wide, covered with hairs. The leaves form a rosette. The flowers are small and inconspicuous.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for these plants in lawns and along roads in the North Temperate Zone. This plant is a common weed throughout much of the world. Edible Parts: The young tender leaves are edible raw. Older leaves should be cooked. Seeds are edible raw or roasted.
Other Uses: To relieve pain from wounds and sores, wash and soak the entire plant for a short time and apply it to the injured area. To treat diarrhea, drink tea made from 28 grams (1 ounce) of the plant leaves boiled in 0.5 liter of water. The seeds and seed husks act as laxatives.

Purslane Portulaca oleracea
Description: This plant grows close to the ground. It is seldom more than a few centimeters tall. Its stems and leaves are fleshy and often tinged with red. It has paddleshaped leaves, 2.5 centimeter or less long, clustered at the tips of the stems. Its flowers are yellow or pink. Its seeds are tiny and black. Habitat and Distribution: It grows in full sun in cultivated fields, field margins, and other weedy areas throughout the world. Edible Parts: All parts are edible. Wash and boil the plants for a tasty vegetable or eat them raw. Use the seeds as a flour substitute or eat them raw.


Sheep Sorrel Rumex acerosella
Description: These plants are seldom more than 30 centimeters tall. They have alternate leaves, often with arrowlike bases, very small flowers, and frequently reddish stems.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for these plants in old fields and other disturbed areas in North America and Europe.
Edible Parts: The plants are edible raw or cooked CAUTION contain oxalic acid that can be damaging if too much is eaten raw.

Spatterdock or yellow water lily Nuphar species
Description: This plant has leaves up to 60 centimeters long with a triangular notch at the base. The shape of the leaves is somewhat variable. The plant's yellow flowers are 2.5 centimeter across and develop into bottle-shaped fruits. The fruits are green when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: These plants grow throughout most of North America. They are found in quiet, fresh, shallow water (never deeper than 1.8 meters). Edible Parts: All parts of the plant are edible. The fruits contain several dark brown seeds you can parch or roast and then grind into flour. The large rootstock contains starch. Dig it out of the mud, peel off the outside, and boil the flesh. Sometimes the rootstock contains large quantities of a very bitter compound. Boiling in several changes of water may remove the bitterness.

Strawberry Fragaria species  
Description: Strawberry is a small plant with a three-leaved growth pattern. It has small, white flowers usually produced during the spring. Its fruit is red and fleshy.
Habitat and Distribution: Strawberries are found in the North Temperate Zone and also in the high mountains of the southern Western Hemisphere. Strawberries prefer open, sunny areas. They are commonly planted.
Edible Parts: The fruit is edible fresh, cooked, or dried. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C. You can also eat the plant's leaves or dry them and make a tea with them.

Water Lily Nymphaea odorata Description: These plants have large, triangular leaves that float on the water's surface, large, fragrant flowers that are usually white, or red, and thick, fleshy rhizomes that grow in the mud.
Habitat and Distribution: Water lilies are found throughout much of the temperate and subtropical regions.
Edible Parts: The flowers, seeds, and rhizomes are edible raw or cooked. To prepare rhizomes for eating, peel off the corky rind. Eat raw, or slice thinly, allow to dry, and then grind into flour. Dry, parch, and grind the seeds into flour. Other Uses: Use the liquid resulting from boiling the thickened root in water as a medicine for diarrhea and as a gargle for sore throats.

  Wild Dock and Sorrel Rumex crispus & Rumex acetosella  
Description: Wild dock is a stout plant with most of its leaves at the base of its stem that is commonly 15 to 30 centimeters brig. The plants usually develop from a strong, fleshy, carrotlike taproot. Its flowers are usually very small, growing in green to purplish plumelike clusters. Wild sorrel similar to the wild dock but smaller. Many of the basal leaves are arrow-shaped but smaller than those of the dock and contain a sour juice. Habitat and Distribution: These plants can be found in almost all climatic zones of the world, in areas of high as well as low rainfall. Many kinds are found as weeds in fields, along roadsides, and in waste places. Edible Parts: Because of tender nature of the foliage, the sorrel and the dock are useful plants, especially in desert areas. You can eat their succulent leaves fresh or slightly cooked. To take away the strong taste, change the water once or twice during cooking. This latter tip is a useful hint in preparing many kinds of wild greens.  

Wild Onion and Garlic Allium species : Allium cernuum is an example of the many species of wild onions and garlics, all easily recognized by their distinctive odor.
Habitat & Distribution: Wild onions and garlics are found in open, sunny areas throughout the temperate regions. Cultivated varieties are found anywhere in the world. Edible Parts: The bulbs and young leaves are edible raw or cooked. Use in soup or to flavor meat. CAUTION   There are several plants with onion like bulbs that are extremely poisonous. Be certain that the plant you are using is a true onion or garlic. Do not eat bulbs with no onion smell.

Wild Rose Rosa species
Description: This shrub grows 60 centimeters to 2.5 meters high. It has alternate leaves and sharp prickles. Its flowers may be red, pink, or yellow. Its fruit, called rose hip, stays on the shrub year-round.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for wild roses in dry fields and open woods throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Edible Parts: The flowers and buds are edible raw or boiled. In an emergency, you can peel and eat the young shoots. You can boil fresh, young leaves in water to make a tea. After the flower petals fall, eat the rose hips; the pulp is highly nutritious and an excellent source of vitamin C. Crush or grind dried rose hips to make flour.  CAUTION : Eat only the outer portion of the fruit as the seeds of some species are quite prickly and can cause internal distress.

Goldthread - Complete Article Here

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nature's Medicine Chest

Natural Medicine
ildcrafting in Nova Scotia

How to Identify, Harvest & Prepare

How to Identify

The 'golden thread' refers to the root, so identification of the plant itself is important.

Goldthread is found on the forest floor and is easily spotted in Spring when small white, 5-7 petalled flowers appear - with 5 yellow stamens and sprays of tiny, white, "stamenettes". Blooms in Nova Scotia from mid-May through to July.

At other times of year, leaves are waxy green in three sections or leaflets, similar to a strawberry, but smaller and hugging the ground more tightly.

According to Blupete, Goldthread, or "Canker Root" (Coptis trifolia, groenlandica)is of the Buttercup family. The Goldthread is a small plant which lies upon the forest floor. It has a solitary white flower; it has evergreen basal leaves rising from a thread-like, yellow underground stem. The flowers are like small and white with fussy centers.

And while there is only one flower per plant, the plants patch together, so, likely, one will find quite a number of them together,
usually in an area where the Clintonia and wild lily-of-the-valley gather. The leaves are divided into three leaflets with scalloped, toothed margins."

How to Harvest

When you spot Goldthread, gently lift the moss and debris from the forest floor to find the "goldthread" roots and collect as many as you need to replenish your store. In most homesteads, this would mean 6 months to a year. The 'goldthreads' are harvested, dried naturally and stored until needed in air tight jars.

How to Use

Use topically as a wash on wounds, scratches, bites, sores and burns. It seems to be an astringent. Use internally as a tea for mouth sores, stomach problems.

My father gathered Goldthread and chewed the roots directly for cankers, toothache, digestive problems. Oldtimers here would take several strands of Goldthread and position them directly into open wounds before bandaging.

Others report the leaves and stems can be gathered and used as well, however, the roots were used historically for their storage capabilities and were usually part of the medicine chest on long sea journeys. The dried roots were often ground into a powder.

Francis Harnish of Sheet Harbour Passage, recently told me two stories. One was taken from the book, "MicMac Medicine" by Laurey Lacey, South Shore. As Laurey tells it, a man was sent home from the hospital to die, after being diagnosed with "incurable" and terminal stomach cancer.

He was told by [a Medicine Woman] to take a 1 foot strand of Goldthread in a cup of tea several times each day. (Checking source for quantity but more won't hurt you). Goldthread tea is reportedly a little bitter to taste, but not unpleasant.

After a period of time, the man returned to the doctor who had treated him and was told he was cured. No more stomach cancer.

Shortly thereafter, Francis found a series of pre-cancerous boils (source medical term) on the back of his neck. They were treated by a medical doctor removal and cauterization. One lesion grew back and again was removed, only to grow back again, a raw open sore.

This time, discovering that the doctor was on a 3 week vacation, Francis boiled Golden Thread in water for 15 minutes and let it steep for several hours. Then he applied it to the boil "5 or 6 times a day" until it was healed. By the time the doctor returned, all that was left was a lump where the lesion had been.

The doctor said, "I don't know what you're doing, but keep doing it". Soon thereafter, even the lump disappeared.

Traditional Use: Medicinally it was used by the Indians and the early colonists to treat mouth sores, natures dental floss. Boiled goldthread root was used as a tonic. Checking use by Mi'kmaq for cankers; assume a tea, gargle or rinse. In current practice, the Mi'kmaq elders make a salve for topical application.

The elongated yellow roots of the goldthread, from which use it takes its name, had a use for the aboriginals as a thread for bead work.

Another species of Goldthread (Coptis chinensis) has been used in traditional Eastern medicine for thousands of years and is recommended by naturopaths for testicular cancer, stomach cancer, emaciation, etc.

Herbal-Drug Interactions / Pharmacology - Goldthread contains two active alkaloids, berberine and coptine which are responsible for its traditional use in anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antipyretic, antimicrobial treatments. Current interest revolves around results showing Goldthread to be the most potent of 15 natural medicines found in Canada with respect to cytotoxicity in five hepatoma human cell lines, including Hepatitis B (HB) virus genome. Thus, its reported success in inhibiting cancerous cell growth. Caution should be taken when using cancer drugs and natural remedies.

Further References

"Goldthread (Coptis trifolia); also known as Alaska Goldthread, Canker Root, Common Goldthread, Trifoliate Goldthread, Vegetable Gold; perennial evergreen herb with creeping rootstalk.

Family: Buttercup (Ranunculaceae)

Flower: White, star-shaped, 5-7 petals; usually solitary at tip of leafless stalks; May-July.

Leaves: Basal leaves on long slender stalks, triangular shape, 2-5 cm wide, compound with 3 leaflets, upper surface is shiny dark green, margins with rounded teeth.

Height: 7-15 cm.

Habitat: Cool, moist habitats in coniferous forests, swamps, bogs, road banks, thickets, mossy places, cedar swamps, and in damp woods. Prefers low light, cool, moist conditions on relatively infertile soils, which are acidic. Goldthread does not tolerate disturbance and disappears after logging. Requires some shade, possibly because of its preference for moist sites.

Interest: The Goldthread rootstalk is bright yellow or gold in colour and looks like a bit of golden wire. It is reported that Native Americans chewed roots to treat mouth sores and made tea from the roots to treat mouth sores. The name Coptis means "cut", referring to the divided leaves.

Thanks and Photo Credits to Blupete (Nova Scotia) and Andy (Northern Ontario) Book References: MicMac Medicine, Laury Lacey

Finally! A Google App That Measures Natural Capital

Ever wonder why folks get so upset about clearcutting? 

One of the reasons relates to the enormous economic wealth of our "Natural Capital", a resource that multinational pulp and paper companies, with help from our own governments, steal from us on a daily basis. 

Finally, the wealth of Natural Capital is entering mainstream. Google Earth and David Suzuki have teamed up to offer an App that measures the wealth of natural capital (trees and their canopies in this case) in any given area.

So far, just southern BC (Vancouver area) and the massive urban corridor in Ontario are available, but it's a eye opener, measuring the wealth of the Ontario Greenbelt at at least $2.6 billion in non-market benefits each year and British Columbia's lower mainland at more than $5.4 billion annually. And they're just getting started. Suzuki and Google Earth plan to map the world's Natural Capital. 

Suzuki writes, "Global studies have estimated the total value of the world's ecosystem goods and services to be on par with the value of the entire global economy. In short, our natural capital is a source of staggering wealth. Global studies have estimated the total value of the world's ecosystem goods and services to be on par with the value of the entire global economy. In short, our natural capital is a source of staggering wealth". 


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Fastest Way Ever to Hand Split Wood

Our urban migrant neighbor is very much involved with living sustainably and in sharing what he learns with others.

A couple of years ago, he learned a quick and easy trick for hand splitting fire-wood. This method, now being used by several of us along the shore not only saves hours of time, it saves your back as well.

Luckily, he wants to share this quick tip with you, so say goodbye to all that bending and stooping and learn how it's done in this video by Great 769!

(By the way, that 'was' our wheel barrow!)