Forage Friday #95 Strawberry Bush – Toxic

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature was taken specifically for Forage Friday and is simply titled “Strawberry Bush 92920a”. All photos found on my website are my original work unless otherwise specified and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

WARNING ⚠️ STRAWBERRY BUSH IS LISTED AS A TOXIC PLANT IN ALL OF MY REFERENCES.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

The first time I found a strawberry bush I thought it looked like something out of a science fiction movie. A pinkish spiked husk encasing bright redish orange berries had my reaching for a tri-corder. But it is native to earth and specifically the Appalachian Mountains. It’s actually in the bittersweet family and the berries are eaten by wildlife however it’s toxic to humans. The side effects that are listed in the medicinal values include “strongly laxative” which means that it’s capable of making any survival situation even worse. Nevertheless the history includes using the plant for several common conditions and includes that it was once given to treat malaria. The powdered bark was applied externally to treat dandruff.

Image Titled Strawberry Bush 992920b.

In my opinion, the plant is best used as an ornamental in place of a imported invasive species.

Image Titled Strawberry Bush Flowers 60520

The flowers themselves are not very showy but the plant makes up the difference in late Summer and Fall with it’s bright fruit and deep red leaves. Plus, it’s listed in association with several native Butterfly species. And the berries are readily eaten by turkeys, Yellow Rumped Warblers, Eastern Bluebird and the Northern Mockingbird. So, even though you might not want to eat the berries yourself the fact that they attract turkeys means that you might use it to bring the big birds in. And of course the songbirds are a way of dealing with stress when they sing and I count that as being a medicinal value all on it’s own.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

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.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Forage Friday #94 Partridge Berry

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Partridge Berry 21221a” and was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All photos found on my website are my original work unless otherwise specified and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

The hilltop still carries a few traces of the last snowfall as I drift along watching the edges of the forest for any signs of changes in seasons. February is typically the coldest month here but the snow tends to melt fast and replenish the soil. I was looking at the sporeheads of the plentiful ground pine when a tiny red dot caught my eye. At first glance I thought that I had lucked out and found a random teaberry. They’re typically found in fall but it’s not unusual to find one that’s in just the right place to produce berries deep into winter. But it’s not a teaberry at all. It’s a Partridge Berry. They are edible but only a faint flavor of wintergreen if they even have a flavor at all. The can be astringent and my gut feeling is that they might contain some good minerals but I wasn’t able to confirm that.

Plant is actually a creeping woody vine with opposite leaves as seen in the feature image. The unusual thing is that they produce two trumpet shaped flowers that only yields one berry. They can be pretty prolific but the lack of flavor means that they’re best used in a mix of some sort.

The main use seems to be from the small leaves. Traditionally they are made into a tincture and combined with several other plants such as raspberry leaves tovaide in childbirth. It’s believed that the effect that they provide is to tonify the uterus.

The sources also suggested that the leaves would aid in treating rheumatism, irregular menses, insomnia and as a diuretic. The astringent quality that’s often mentioned makes me think that the leaves might be good to rub on insect bites and stings and could possibly help with skin rashes.

One last thought was that I found it when I wasn’t really expecting to see much in the way of foraging. However, it seems that God’s providence was present even on a cold winter day when not much was growing.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement:

I am adding additional social media to my network. Eventually, I’ll be leaving Facebook behind for a multitude of reasons. Even though the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page is strictly non-political I have been restricted from interacting with followers with no explanation for why. But it’s not just that. For years now Facebook has throttled content providers in general. They encourage us to grow our audience and then want to sell us back the access to them. In addition, they collect and sell the data from our interaction. So Facebook has become an entanglement of thorns. In response I have created the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe. We can still interact directly on the blog but starting today I’ll be looking for more platforms that respect the privacy of my followers and don’t limit who gets to see the post.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Forage Friday #93 Dogbane or Indian Hemp

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All photos found on my website are my original work and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Warning ⚠️ ALL OF MY REFERENCES LIST THIS PLANT AS TOXIC.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and is not to be mistaken for medical advice.

Dogbane ( Also known as Indian Hemp) is one of the first utilitarian plants I learned about when I started my journey into survivalism more than 30 years ago. Up until that point it was only food for the butterflies. But to to the Native Americans it was an important fiber plant. Rather than a long complex description of the extraction method here’s a video from of a gentleman who can show how the fiber is harvested.

The featured image is the seed pod which open this time of year and a few very fine fibers can be harvested from the pods but it’s really the stem that is used. It was these fibers that were used to tie up just about anything. We often think about native people using sinew and rawhide for cordage and for some things that was the best option. But Dogbane fibers were used for things like fishing nets and light lashings.

The fibers of Dogbane were able to hold up to the water where sinew gets kinda messy and will stick to itself if left in the water for too long. It’s the widespread use of this fiber that gives the plant the name Indian Hemp. I’m often told by cannabis actives about how the native population used hemp for food and medicine and rope. While I’m sure that they adopted the use in some ways cannabis wasn’t introduced to North America until after the white man arrived. It’s actually a native of Asia. But Dogbane filled the textile and cordage roll quite well in the pre-Columbian age.

As I stated in the disclaimer every single reference I have ever seen lists Dogbane as toxic and as the name suggests it is highly toxic to our furry family. The toxins can cause cardiac arrest in dogs which means that any product made from Dogbane should be kept well away from your best friend.

In spite of the dangers Dogbane is also listed as an edible. The sources say that the seeds can be ground into a flour and used cooked or raw. There’s not much more than that. Niw the reason for this is because the toxic chemicals are stored in the leaves and stem. It’s possible that small amounts are also found in the seeds and in low enough concentrations that humans can deal with it. But it couldn’t have ever been a main food source or there would be a richer history of it.

One thing that should be considered is the plant’s ability to clean up lead out of the soil. Apococynum cannabinum is considered a hyperaccumulator of lead. ( Also adding to the potential toxicity of the plant.) I suspect that it might also be able to collect and retain other heavy metals as well but that’s just conjecture.

There also seems to be a wide range of medicinal uses. The toxins do affect the heart rate and in the past was used to treat certain heart conditions. I suspect it’s done in the same way foxglove would be used but again. It’s a toxic plant and such a high risk use requires an expert with the equipment and training to monitor the effectiveness and weigh that against the risks. The list of uses is extensive and even includes wart removal, expelling parasites and increasing the flow of milk in young mothers. However, with the risk of cardiac arrest I think it’s best to look for one of the many other options. I suppose that if I were stranded on an island with no hope of rescue and Dogbane was the only medicinal plant available then I wouldn’t have much to lose but otherwise leave it for the experts.

The last thing I’ll cover is that it is an attractor of pollinators. Specifically the Snowberry Clearwing moth that I’m so fond of.

A Snowberry Clearwing Moth visiting ironweed.

Image Titled “September Visitor 90720” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

But hummingbird moths aren’t the only insects that frequent Dogbane. I’ve seen every type of bee and Wasp also visiting the blooms.

That’s it for tonight friends. Good night and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement:

I am adding additional social media to my network. Eventually, I’ll be leaving Facebook behind for a multitude of reasons. Even though the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page is strictly non-political I have been restricted from interacting with followers with no explanation for why. But it’s not just that. For years now Facebook has throttled content providers in general. They encourage us to grow our audience and then want to sell us back the access to them. In addition, they collect and sell the data from our interaction. So Facebook has become an entanglement of thorns. In response I have created the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe. We can still interact directly on the blog but starting today I’ll be looking for more platforms that respect the privacy of my followers and don’t limit who gets to see the post.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Forage Friday #92 Heartleaf Foamflower

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Heartleaf Foamflower 40720a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

Mottled light spills over the forest floor in the little forest sanctuary on the edge of my property. I am knelt down on my knees and elbows as I focus in on the new growth that has appeared.

That was last April and I held back the images in the knowledge that from the end of January until about the end of March there was very few plants I could photograph. Plus I can post a few images well ahead of the coming Spring and give you my dear friends a little time to learn more before they emerge.

The Heartleaf Foamflower is a tiny but beautiful woodland wildflower. The leaves first began to appear in mid March on my mountain.

Image Titled “Heartleaf Foamflower 33120”. All photos found on my website are my original work unless otherwise specified and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

I first noticed this little clump around St. Patrick’s Day and by the end of the month it was forming flower buds. After such a long winter it’s a true joy to see something green and growing on my mountain. Normally my Forage Friday post is about wild edible or medicinal plants but there’s a psychological aspect of nature as well. Especially for hill people like myself. It’s not just the dark of October to the end of December but the lack of the fullness of the forest that brings me down a little. To see life in full bloom is really what I live for. It’s a source of contentment for me. But I digress.

I’m not aware of any edible uses for Foamflower. It’s listed as an evergreen and found in shady areas which means that it would probably adapt well as an indoor plant. It’s got a fairly low profile and grows in clusters.

Image Titled “Heartleaf Foamflower 40720b.”

The small flowers grow in spikes and really are quite pleasing to the eye. I think that they’re well suited for a native terrarium. For best results you’ll want to include living soil with anything you bring in out of the wild. Just be aware that you might have some insects or undesirable fungus in that soil and be prepared for dealing with it. Otherwise I think it would be a lovely idea.

Foamflower in general does have some medicinal value.

The Iroquois used the mashed roots to poultice on minor wounds and made a tea from the cured leaves to sooth sore eyes.

The Cherokee made an infusion with it for treating thrush.

Other uses are as a diuretic to flush out bladder infections and kidney stones.

That’s it for tonight. Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement:

I am adding additional social media to my network. Eventually, I’ll be leaving Facebook behind for a multitude of reasons. Even though the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page is strictly non-political I have been restricted from interacting with followers with no explanation for why. But it’s not just that. For years now Facebook has throttled content providers in general. They encourage us to grow our audience and then want to sell us back the access to them. In addition, they collect and sell the data from our interaction. So Facebook has become an entanglement of thorns. In response I have created the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe. We can still interact directly on the blog but starting today I’ll be looking for more platforms that respect the privacy of my followers and don’t limit who gets to see the post.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Forage Friday #91 Blue Cohosh

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Blue Cohosh 32420” and was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All photos found on my website are my original work unless otherwise specified and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

Blue Cohosh is one of our native cash crops in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s long history among Midwives goes back deep into the history of the Native Americans. They used it to cause flow of delayed menstrual cycles and to cause miscarriages. It’s also said to have been used for muscle spasms including hiccups. Some online sources say it was once used to treat epilepsy. The action of the would appear to be that it has a relaxing effect on parasympathetic nerves. Modern science has concluded that it contains glycocides and alkaloids are toxic to the myocardium ( muscles of the heart ). Obviously it shouldn’t be used lightly by anyone but especially heart patients.

It is a member of the buttercup family which has a lot of toxic plants. So we shouldn’t be surprised to find out that blue Cohosh is one of the plants that should be reserved for those who have reached a certain level of expertise ( which I am not one of them having never been in need of it’s main purpose). In spite of all the hazards, blue cohosh is available over the counter and I’ve not really heard anything about people reporting bad experiences.

As stated earlier it is a cash crop for landowners who make the time to go out and collect it. It’s kinda like taking a hike in the mountains and finding money just lying around all over. Currently it seems to go for about $11.00/pound and the last time I sold it ( more than 20 years ago) the buyers bought it washed and wet. This means that the diggers would soak it in a bucket overnight to increase the weight. The buyers knew that and adjusted their offering price accordingly. As best as I can remember we dug it in late summer and it’s actually considered endangered in some places. (Check your local regulations before harvest. Some plants have a legal season.)

As far as food value goes I am aware that the roasted seeds can be used as a coffee substitute but there’s also more plentiful plants like dandelion and chicory that can be used for coffee that it’s never been worth pursuing for me.

That’s really all I have for tonight. The growing season here hasn’t really started yet so there’s not much foraging available.

Oh and before I sign off. Please consider joining the MeWe discussion group. ( Announcement below). I’ll be addressing this in further details as a bonus post in the near future that will not be posted to Facebook except for the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Facebook page and my personal page.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement:

I am adding additional social media to my network. Eventually, I’ll be leaving Facebook behind for a multitude of reasons. Even though the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page is strictly non-political I have been restricted from interacting with followers with no explanation for why. But it’s not just that. For years now Facebook has throttled content providers in general. They encourage us to grow our audience and then want to sell us back the access to them. In addition, they collect and sell the data from our interaction. So Facebook has become an entanglement of thorns. In response I have created the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe. We can still interact directly on the blog but starting today I’ll be looking for more platforms that respect the privacy of my followers and don’t limit who gets to see the post.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!