Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.
In my mind’s eye I see them. Bare feet in thick mud pushing their way through the thick reeds. Some of them balance delicately on dugout canoes as they gather the blue drope berries in hand woven baskets. The abundance of the silky dogwood berries won’t last long. They’ll need to race the birds to them. But for the paleo people of North America the silky dogwood is available.
It wasn’t until recently that I even knew that a dogwood with small flowers and dark blue berries existed. I had known that the flowering dogwood with it brilliant red berries was a favorite of wildlife but the tiny hard berries didn’t seem like they were worth the effort. Later I learned of the Cornelian Cherry and it’s also a dogwood but with large sweet and sour berries that are about the size of a grape. I’d learned that if I wanted to find a dogwood in Fall that looking for red berries was a good start. When I found out that some dogwoods have a blue berry I was pretty intrigued. Unlike the flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida) it has a pretty “fleshy” berry and unlike the Cornelian Cherry (Cornus Mas) the berries hang in dense clusters. Another thing that seems unique to silky dogwood (Cornus Amomum) is that it seems to prefer swamps. Not far from where I took the photo I’m told that large shallow stone bowls were found and that they belonged to a people that were probably from the Mississippian Era of North America. They were probably either Hopewell or Adena. I imagine that since no mounds are in the immediate area that this was a place where they camped in summer through early fall and that they processed and preserved the silky dogwood along with the fish and turtles in the swamp. I have found one source that said some people have experienced a rash from contact with silky dogwood but I personally haven’t had any problems. I’m pretty confident that given the types of foods found in the swamp that natives would have used the berries in pemmican and maybe even traded the final product with other tribes as they traveled towards Kentucky and Ohio for winter.
I wish I could tell you from personal experience about how delicious they are. I expect that they’re similar to Cornelian Cherry which for me is kinda citrus but sour like sweet and sour candy. However for 2 years in a row I’ve been beat out by the wildlife. One person has told me that they see deer come to the silky dogwood daily to check for ripe berries.
The berries are said to be very tasty and can be eaten raw or cooked.
The bark was once used as a substitute for Quinine and as poultice for external sores.
The flowers appear shortly after the flowers of the flowering dogwood fade away and so it’s a great landscape plant. However, the flowers are much smaller and resemble elderberry bloom. It’s also more tolerant of wet conditions than flowering dogwood.
That’s it for this week’s Forage Friday!
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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