Old Ways Herbal: Juliette Abigail Carr, RH (AHG)

Women & Children's Herbal Clinic, Vermont Herb School, & Ramblings on Family Herbal Wisdom

Identifying Lookalike Forest Plants: June Wild-crafting Journal

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Solomon’s Seal and Blue Cohosh are blooming! 

This is a great time to practice differentiating look-alike plants.  Remember that Solomon’s Seal blooms from all its chakras, with flowers all down the stem, whereas Solomon’s Plume only blooms from it’s head, with the flowers protruding from the end of the stem.  Another friend that is sometimes confused with Solomon’s Seal is Uvularia, or wild oats.  Appreciate its diminutive size, flexibility in habitat–dappled sunlight or deep forest–and small, sweet yellow bell of a terminal flower.  Solomon’s Seal is on the United Plant Saver’s At-Risk List; in other words, don’t harvest it unless you have a ton–just love it growing right where it is.  If you don’t have a huge, super abundant population, you might try using willow, turmeric, meadowsweet, or black birch instead.

In terms of Blue Cohosh, it is not Black Cohosh, nor is it wild Columbine or Rue.  Check out the buds and blooms and be like “oh yeah totally, I get it, so different.”  Now is the time, my friends–follow the same plants through the season to see how they differ from their cousins.  Fun fact: the people who gave Blue Cohosh its scientific name agreed with the rest of us that those leaves look really similar to Meadow Rue–Blue Cohosh is Caulophylum thalictroides, or “looks like thalictrum” (the scientific name of Meadow Rue).  So fun.

Read more about the importance of ethical wild-crafting here.

 

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