edible species

Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta)

The kiwi that many of us associate with New Zealand, Actinidia deliciosa, is one of several kiwi species native to China, Japan, and Siberia.

The hardy kiwi vine, pictured above, yields a much smaller, hairless version of the familiar fruit, while tolerating temperatures of -35˚C.

These vines are normally dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate vines: I’m working with a cultivar called ‘Issai,’ which is self-fertile.

Apparently, the vines smell like catnip, so cats are prone to digging them up and destroying them.

A single vine produces 20-45 kilograms of fruit in a season, growing up to 6 metres in a year. For this reason, they are being investigated as a potential invasive species in parts of North America.

If kept in cultivation, they are a fantastically-productive fruiting vine for Northern gardeners.

Day 194: Ozark Medicinal Herb Packet, part 2

NOTE: Caution should always be taken when looking for medicinal plants out in the wild. Do not consume or use any plant that you are unsure about. The internet is a wonderful resource for plant identification. Look up photos and identification information for plants from reputable sources before collecting any plant out in the wild. NOTE also that many Ozark medicinal plants are endangered and should not be harvested out in the wild.

When wild-harvesting take only what you need at that time. DO NOT STOCKPILE! Chances are the plants will go bad before you can use them. A good rule of thumb for any plant is to count three plants then take one, that way there are plants left behind to go to seed. Leave the roots intact unless the root is being harvested, then try and leave a piece of the root or any seeds/berries behind in the soil.

Responsible harvesting means these medicinal plants will be around for many more generations.

Hickory, Carya: Edible nuts (several species), stems, leaves:

Leaves can be used for headaches and poultices. Bark can be used to help treat arthritis. The sap of the shagbark hickory is used like sugar or maple syrup.

Horsemint, Monarda bradburiana: Leaves, flowers:

Infusion used for colds, chills, as a febrifuge, and for bowel complaints. Can be used externally in oils and salves for dermatological needs. Used in many of the same ways as Monarda fistulosa.

Mullein, Verbascum thapsus: Leaves, flowers, root:

Leaves and flowers can be used to clear chest congestion (smoked or as an infusion), as an analgesic for rashes, aches and pains. Leaves can be wilted and used in poultices for swollen glands. Roots can be used in decoctions for gynecological issues.

Oak, Quercus: Leaves, bark:

Astringent, antiseptic, bark and leaves can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery, can be used in poultices and to help stop bleeding.

Oxeye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare: Flowers, leaves:

Used in infusions as a febrifuge. Tonic plant. Used in washes for chapped hands, rashes, and other dermatological needs.

Plantain, Plantago major “Broadleaf Plantain” or Plantago lanceolata “Ribwort Plantain”: Leaves, roots, flowers:

Leaves used in poultices for bug bites, inflammations, rashes, cuts, bruises, stings, and other skin complaints. Whole plant infusions for colds, fever, upper respiratory complaints, rheumatism, hypertension, regulating blood sugar, bladder problems, kidney problems. Root used as a gentle expectorant and in helping sinus issues. “Snake Weed” because of the belief that the plant can help draw venom out of a snakebite. It was also thought that a person could carry the plant to help ward off snakes.

Red Cedar, Eastern, Juniperus virginiana: Berries, foliage:

Berries used as an aborifacient and anthelmintic. Decoction of twigs and leaves used for colds, internally and externally for rheumatism. Externally in salves for many dermatological needs. Diaphoretic. Disinfectant. Smoke from leaves used in cleansing ceremonies and breathed as a remedy for chest congestion. Used in steam baths. Berries and foliage used against sore throats and coughs.

Red Clover, Trifolium pretense, White Clover, Trifolium repens: Leaves, flowers:

Used in oils for skin and hair health. Infusion used as a febrifuge and against colds. Used to help with a variety of gynecological needs. Respiratory aid.

Sassafras, Sassafras albidum: Leaves, bark, roots:

Bark infusion used as an anthelmintic wash against worms. Root bark infusion for diarrhea, as a blood tonic, febrifuge, and for colds. Poultice of leaves and bark for dermatological needs. CAUTION not for extended use as the active chemical compound safrole has been linked to liver damaged with prolonged use. 


Eugenia uniflora is in the eucalyptus family Myrtaceae. This species is commonly known as Surinam cherry, and has a native range from Suriname to Brazil. This plant is commonly cultivated horticulturally as a hedge or shrub, but this plant has many uses beyond its ornamental value. The fruits of this species are edible, and range in flavor from tart to mildly sweet. The leaves are also spread on the floors of homes in Brazil, so that when crushed, mosquitoes are repelled by essential oils released from the leaves! Follow for more plant facts and photos!

Bryoria fremontii “Wila/Black Tree Lichen”

Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, MT
October 24, 2015
Robert Niese

This lichen was a staple food source for about 20 different native groups (mostly Salish) of people here in the eastern PNW. Wila (which is the Secwepemctsín or Shuswap word for this lichen) grows abundantly here in our Ponderosa Pinelands, coating old trees from crown to floor in dangling blackish hair. No other species in the PNW east of the Cascades achieves quite as much biomass as B. fremontii (up to 3000kg per hectare!). Interestingly, like several other species of edible lichen in our region (e.g. Letharia), some regions have populations with high levels of vulpinic acid which is toxic when ingested in large quantities. It can be nearly impossible to tell these two chemotypes apart visually, and yet the vast majority of the tribes that subsisted on these lichens had to make the distinction daily. 


Botanical Explorers: The Fruitful Forest (Full Movie)

Its been almost 4 months since I put out this Film. If you have not seen it, Please check out & share my first Film. Shot in the Peruvian Amazon. 

Their are over 20,000 Species of Edible plants on the planet, but Humans use only about 20 Species to provide 90% for our food. So why do we Utilize so little when there is so much? Joseph Simcox, a passion driven Food Plant Ecologist has traveled to over 100 countries, finding, documenting & eating all the plants we don’t use. From the deep jungles of Papua New Guinea To the vast deserts of Namibia Africa, he sheds light on the extraordinary wonders of the edible plant world. In this Film Joe meets up with his brother Patrick Simcox in Peru, along with there team, and ventures deep into the Amazon Jungle to document, eat, & shed light on a small fraction of some the most amazing things nature has to offer. Come along on the Adventure! 

Shot & Edited By: Me Anthony B. Rodriguez

Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) on display in the arthropoda section of the Diversity of Life exhibits on the ground floor of the museum. Ink and watercolor by Laura Streicher.

The dungeness crab is found from Santa Barbara to Alaska, and is the largest species of edible in that area. They prefer sandy-bottomed areas and eel grass beds where they can stay buried in the daylight.