Herbal/Medicinal

HERBAL NOTES
Naturally Native Nursery stresses the importance of proper identification of plants to be used for food. We take no responsibility for information herein. All prepared foods should be taken in small quantities until individual reactions are understood fully. Remember: never use insecticides or herbicides near plants used for food: never over-collect plants from the wild! Enjoy.

• American Plum, Prunus americana A multi-stemmed, shrubby small tree to 25 ft. White spring blossoms, purple-red fruits in late summer. Full-part sun with wide range of soil. Suckers readily forming thicket.– jam, jelly, plum sauce, plum juice.
• Asters Aster spp. Several species of asters: all bloom in fall, some white, some purple/blue, some taller or shorter. Valuable nectar source for butterflies. Young, fresh leaves used as greens. Tea for headaches. Smudge from blossoms to treat insanity
• Black Walnut, Juglans nigra – Deep, rich, well-drained soils; tolerates poorer, drier soils. 50-75’ or more mature height. Full sun to part shade. Prized for wood and nuts. Good shade tree, though nuts can be treacherous when mowing or walking. Many plants cannot tolerate being under a walnut tree. Nuts in cookies, bread, dressing, fudge. Hull used for good dark brown dye.
• Blazing Star Liatris spp. Different species, different soils. All in full-part sun. Grow 3-5’ Lavender spiked flowers. Attract butterflies, long-lived. Tall spikes get more numerous and thicker each year. Bloom July-Sept. Used extensively by early Americans as a stimulant and to treat gonorrhea, sore throat and kidney disease. Corms are edible (much like a potato). Tea was made from the leaves for snakebite.
• Blue Flag Iris Iris virginicus Moist-wet soil in full-part sun. Grows 2-3 ft. with blue and yellow flowers. Blooms in May-Jun. Native Americans used iris to treat earache, sore eyes, respiratory problems and liver ailments. Early pioneers applied pounded root pulp to reduce bruises and pain.
• Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica Moist soil, part to full sun. Grows 1-4 ft. Easy to grow. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Blue spike of flowers. Blooms Jul – Oct Used to cure tobacco smoking habit. Thought to cure syphilis. Is still used to treat ailments worldwide.Used in spiritual ceremonies
• Common Boneset Eupatorium spp. Wet to moist soil: full-part sun. 3-4 ft. Large, white cluster of flowers. Attracts butterflies and has interesting leaves. Blooms Jul-Sept. Native Americans believed boneset could mend broken bones leaves for tea for bone and joint pain. Used as laxative and tonic. Remedy for colds, flu, fever. Too strong a tea = vomit.
• Common Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis – Moist soil, full to part sun. 5-15 ft. This shrub has tiny white flowers. Blooms June-Aug with purple berries in fall. Berries edible; excellent wildlife food. May spread. Flowers and flower petals for pancakes; ripe fruits for wine, jelly, juice, syrup. Stems hollowed and used to make flutes and smoking pipes.
• Compass Plant, Cup Plant, Prairie Dock Silphium spp Grow in moist soil in full-part sun. 4-10 ft with yellow sunflower-like blooms in Jun-Sept. Best in prairie setting. Birds eat seeds in fall. Silphium seeds are edible. Resin used as chewing gum by natives and early settlers: just add mint!
• Culver’s Root Vernonia veronicastrum Moist to dry soils in full-part sun to shady. 3-6 ft with beautiful spikes of white flowers. Blooms June-Aug. Good tall plant in back border of garden. Attracts butterflies. Good cut flower. Used as a cathartic, stomach tonic, laxative, typhoid, fever. Thought to cure venereal disease and dissolve kidney stones.
• FernsVarious species Ferns are often found in moist, shady habitats. Some tolerate some or full sun; some tolerate drier soils. Fiddleheads are eaten boiled like asparagus in spring.
• Foxglove Beardtongue Penstemon digitalis Average, moist soil, full-part sun. Grows 2-4 ft. with soft white flower spikes that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Blooms June – July Remedy for chills and fever, toothache.

• Golden Alexanders Zizia aurea Moist soils in full-part sun and shade. Golden yellow umbel flowers. Parsley family, food for many butterfly species. Blooms Apr-Jun. 1-3 ft. Early European settlers considered this to be an antisyphilitic, a diaphoretic and a medicine for healing wounds. Native Americans used this to reduce fever and to cure headaches
• Goldenrods Solidago spp. Several species of goldenrod: none cause hay fever or allergies: all bloom in fall, all have yellow blossoms, some taller or shorter, some more aggressive than others. Some grow in full sun, some in full shade; some tall, others shorter. Valuable nectar source for butterflies. Treated bee stings with lotion made from flowers. Swollen throat treated with liquid made from boiled leaves. Flowers used as dye.
• Gray-headed Coneflower Ratibida pinnata Wide range of soil from moist to dry: full-part sun. 3-6 ft. Yellow flowers with drooping petals. Nice in back border of garden. Blooms Jul-Sept Tea from flower cones and leaves Root to cure toothaches
• Horsetail, Equisetum spp. Another name is scouring rush as it is used to scour pans and dishes! It is a non-flowering evergreen aggressive plant of many soil and sunlight types from full sun to full shade. Can live in 4” standing water to quite dry habitats. It is an ancient plant with jointed stems, 2-4 ft tall, upright having strong vertical interest in the garden. It can be extremely aggressive and difficult to eradicate. The upright stems can be prepared as a tea, fresh or dried. Used to treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and topically to treat minor wounds and burns.
• Indian Grass Sorghastrum nutans This tall prairie grass grows best in moist to dry soils in full to part sun. Reaching 3-6’ this graceful grass provides valuable seed for birds in fall and winter. Used as forage for livestock. Seeds eaten by birds.
• Ironweed Vernonia spp. Moist soil, full to part sun. Vivid purple blossoms in July through September. Grows 4-6 ft. Very large, showy plant attracts butterflies. Beekeepers know it as an excellent nectar source
• Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus A very tall sunflower with yellow flowers. Grows in moist soil in full to part sun. Can reach 5-10 ft tall. Aggressive. Good bird seed. Edible tubers. Blooms Aug-Oct – tubers edible like potatoes.
• Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium spp. Moist to average soils, in full sun. 4-7 ft. tall with huge domes of pink/purple flowers. Blooms July-Sept. Great butterfly attractor. Long history of use of this plant in a variety of medicinal applications
• Milkweeds Asclepias spp. Dry to moist soil: full-mostly sun to shade. 2-4 ft. Fragrant, clusters of pink, white or orange flowers. Attract butterflies. Larval food source for Monarchs! Some species aggressive, others are not. Bloom Jun-Sept Early doctors listed milkweed as a subtonic, diaphoretic, alterative, expectorant, diuretic, laxative, escharotic, carminative, astringent, antirheumatic, antisyphilitic. Sap used as rubber substitute Seedheads used in jackets, hats and life preservers. Excellent fiber for cords and ropes. Edible young shoots, flowers (fritters) and pods – boiled…MUST BE YOUNG, otherwise poisonous.
• New Jersey Tea Ceanothus americanus Prefers well-drained sandy soil in part sun. 3 ft. with beautiful white flowers in Jun–Aug; attracts many beneficial insects and butterflies. Perennial and woody. Roots for treatment of bowel troubles Leaves and seeds used for sore throat Leaves used as tea substitute (caffeine-free!) Used to tan hides Flowers crushed in water: lather used for skin cancer and venereal sores
• Nodding Wild Onion Allium cernuum Wide range of soil from moist to dry: full-part sun. 1-2 ft. Globe of white flowers, turning pinkish as they age. Spreads by seed. Edible. Blooms June-Sept Used to relieve colds, coughs and bronchial ailments. Bulb is edible; used in soups or added to other foods.
• Oak, Quercus sp – Many species of large trees in different habitats. Best-tasting acorns come from White Oak, but all are edible. Acorns should be boiled several times then roasted and pounded for flour or eaten like any other nut.
• Ohio Spiderwort Tradescantia ohiensis Wide range of soil from moist to dry: full to part sun. 2-4 ft blue flowers. Many flowers thru summer. Attracts butterflies. May – Sept Used as cure for spider bites American Indians used the stems as pot herb.
• Pasture Rose, Rosa carolina. Grows in poor, dry soils in full to part sun. 1-3 ft tall with soft pink blossoms; flowering from Jun-Sept. Fragrant! Good butterfly attractor. Petals for food: in salads and to make syrup, hips eaten raw or dried and for high vitamin-C tea, fragrance.
• Prairie Cord Grass Spartina pectinata This tall, aggressive grass forms large masses in moist areas. In full to part sun it reaches heights of 4-8’. This tough grass is used for thatching roofs. Early settlers bound and tied into bundles for burning as fuel. Used in mats and baskets.
• Prairie Dropseed Sporobolus heterolepis This beautiful fountain grass grows best in moist to drier soils in full to part sun. Reaching 2-3’ this graceful grass provides valuable seed for birds. Seed is fragrant and tasty. Seeds ground into flour
• Purple Coneflower Echinacea spp. Moist-dry soil in full-part sun. 3-4 ft. Drooping purple petals bloom in July-Sept. attracting butterflies; goldfinches flock to eat seeds in fall. Strengthens the immune system; good for sore throats, headaches, stomach cramps, toothaches, bee stings. Possible cure for cancer.
• Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum– Moist to dry well drained soils, sand or clay, in full to part sun. 18-24” with showy spikes of bright purple flowers. Blooms July-Aug. Stems used to make brooms.
• Raspberry, Blackberry, Rubus spp. Wide range of soils, slightly moist. Sun-pt sun. 3-6’. 6-12’ wide. White blossoms in May-June. Dark or red berries in late summer. Will sucker and has thorns. Good wildlife shelter and food. Edible. Attracts birds, mammals and bees. Fruits for jams, jellies, syrup, juice. Leaves for tea.
• Rattlesnake Master Eryngium yuccifolium This curious plant grows in moist to dry soil. In full sun it can reach a height of 4-5 ft. Tiny white flowers blooming in late summer attract many butterflies and birds eat seeds in winter. Used medicinally by the ancient Greeks. Native Americans used this plant for exhaustion, hemorrhoids, V.D. and insect and snake bites.
• Red Mulberry, Morus rubra Tree to 50 ft., full to part shade, tolerates drought and pollution, has showy edible purple-red berries in late summer/fall – berries used in pies, jams or eaten raw.
• Redbud, Cercis canadensis Large shrub/small tree. Blooms Apr-May with striking magenta pink flowers. Grows in sun or shade in moist soil. 15-20 ft tall, 20-25 ft. spread. Edible flowers.
• Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow, Hibiscus laevis, H. palustris, Short, shrubby plant of wet ground, marshes, pond edges. Grows 4-8’ in part to full sun. Showy pink/white flowers. Blooms July – Sept. Seeds can be roasted and ground for coffee substitute. Young leaves cooked like spinach. Young flower buds and seed pods can be fried or pickled. Flowers can be added raw to salads.
• Sedges Carex spp. Many species – some grow in dry soils, others in moist. Some prefer shade, others in sun. All are grass-like in appearance and add texture to the home garden. Can be used for naturalizing and are a host plant and shelter for skipper butterflies. Grass blades were used in moccasins to protect the feet in winter. Dark roots are split finely and used for black design material in fine basketry.
• Serviceberry, Amelanchier sp Multi-stemmed, understory small tree. Grows 15-25’ in full sun to part shade, with white flower clusters in spring, red berries in fall. Very pretty bark and leaves. – berries edible! Used in pies, jams or eaten plain (like grapes).
• Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale Moist to wet soil, full to part sun. Hundreds of many bright yellow flowers bloom from Aug – Oct. 2-4 ft. on this shrub-like plant. Doesn’t make you sneeze! Seeds were dried by Native Americans and used as snuff to rid the body of evil spirits
• Spicebush Lindera benzoin Bright yellow tiny blossoms appear in very early spring, April-May, on the bare twigs of this short tree. Reaching a maximum height of 15 feet, spicebush does well in moist to dry soils, in clay or sand; best in full shade. Bright red berries in fall. Leaves and bark make a nice tea, berries used in cooking as spice.
• Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginiana Grows in moist woodlands. Just a few inches tall, this plant blooms pink/white in abundance in very early spring. Vital for early pollinators. Mar-June – young leaves and plants raw or cooked in salads, vegetables. Tubers boiled (taste like chestnuts).
• Sunflowers Helianthus spp Several different species grow in different habitats and vary in height: all are yellow-flowered, all are edible. Flowers and seeds used as dye. Seeds are edible as snacks or added to breads. Oil extracted from seeds.
• Swamp Rose, Rosa palustris Moist to wet soils in full to part sun. This beautiful rose of dark pink, light pink or white attracts wildlife with its abundant nectar and juicy rose hips. 5-7 ft. tall, spreads by roots. Fragrant! Blooms Jun-Jul. Petals for food: in salads and to make syrup, hips eaten raw or dried and for high vitamin-C tea, fragrance.
• Vervain Verbena spp. Gorgeous spikes of deep purple flowers top this plant. Blue vervain prefers moist to wet soil in full to part sun, Hoary Vervain likes dry soil. This plant blossoms in June-Sept and provides seed for birds in fall and winter; butterfly attractor. Long revered as a sacred, powerful plant associated with divine or supernatural forces. Has been used by Native Americans for kidney stones, bladder problems, expelling worms, headache, rheumatism.
• Violets – Different species, different habitats from full sun to full shade. Some in moist soil, others dry. Deer resistant. Host plant for butterflies. 6-8”. White, yellow or purple. Blooms Apr-Aug, especially in spring. Flowers used to make jelly, syrups. Petals added to soups, salad. Flowers sugared and used as edible decoration on cakes. New leaves and flowers as a trailside snack. Leaves and flowers cooked like spinach or used as tea.
• Virginia Mountain Mints Pycnanthemum virginianum Wet to dry soil, full to part sun. Many tiny white flowers bloom June-Sep. 2-3 ft. Attracts many beneficial insects. Nice addition to any garden. Is NOT aggressive like other mints. Leaves used as tonic for run-down condition Poultice as a rabies treatment Treatment for mild indigestion, chills and fevers Used as spice in cooking or flavoring in drinks and chewing gum
• Wild Bergamot Monarda fistulosa Moist to dry soil, full to part sun. Lavender blossoms in June – September. 2-4 ft. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Flowers used as garnish in salads, drinks, cheeses, jellies and meat dishes. Fresh or dried leaves make excellent mint tea and flowers for potpourri, sachets and wreath-making. An infusion of flowers and leaves is medicinal used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, menstrual pain, and insomnia.
• Wild Grapes, Vitis spp. Vines with inconspicuous flowers. Showy purple fruit. Can become aggressive. Various species in various habitats. Can be trained on trellis, fence or wire. – Berries make jams, jellies, syrup and juice. Leaves for stuffed grape leaves. Vines used for baskets, other decorations.
• Wild Leek, Allium tricoccum Rich, moist, organic woodland soils: shade. 1-4 inch wide leaves appear first in spring, then white flowers top the 6-10” stalk after the leaves have withered. Pollinated by native bees. Edible. Blooms May-July– bulb, stem used in soups, salads and cooked with meat.
• Wild Quinine Parthenium integrifolium Moist-dry soil in full sun. 3-5 ft. Large clusters of tiny white flowers in prairies. Blooms June-Sept Tea of the leaves has been used to treat fevers Fresh leaves applied to burns helps healing
• Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana – Moist to dry soil in full to part sun. 4-6” with small white flowers in April-June. Good groundcover. Red berries attract birds, children and small mammals. Edible fruit, leaves for tea, fruit for syrup, jam.
• Yarrow, Achillea millefolium – Dry soil, in full to part sun. 1-3 ft. Lacy foliage, compact clusters of white flowers. Medicinal. Fragrant. Painted Lady butterfly host plant. Attracts beneficial pollinators. Blooms May-Sept leaves used in tea – caution: can induce sweating.

• Cactus and Pokeweed: both edible but can be dangerous/fatal if not properly prepared!!!