Maples are often best known by the world for the sweet flowing sap that runs along its limbs in Spring and Summer. The Bigleaf Maple is largely considered the sweetest of west coast maples. It can be found growing in low to middle elevations along the southern coast of British Columbia and in the coastal regions of Washington State.
Saffron has been cultivated in Mediterranean countries and used by cultures all over the world for over 3000 years. It has many historical and contemporary uses besides colouring and spicing up European and Asian cuisine. Recorded uses include as a dye, a perfume, a cosmetic, and a medicinal herb used to treat eye problems, genitourinary infections and many other diseases.
One day when I was out walking with my Maasai interpreter in Monduli District, Tanzania, he gave me a twig and he told me I could chew it to clean my teeth! I wasn't convinced, but it turns out I should more open-minded about my dental hygiene practices!
Rubus parviflorus is an erect shrub that grows between 1 and 1.5 metres tall along the coast of Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. It is characterize by large, bright green, maple leaf-shaped leaves that are quite fuzzy to the touch. It was an important plant for Coastal First Nations and all aerial parts of Thimbleberry are edible. Parts of R. parviflorus also have traditional medicinal uses as well.
Prunus africana is an evergreen hardwood tree found in montane regions in Africa, which is harvested for timber, firewood, and medicine. Unfortunately, P.africana is often harvested unsustainably from forests, and is listed in CITES Appendix 2.
Vetiver is a grass in the poaceae family. It comes from India where it is popularly known as khus, and is used for medicinal purposes and as a fragrance. It is also a very useful plant in the garden in warm climates.
Identified by Linneaus, European, or sometimes, English Holly is an evergreen tree or shrub, generally growing to a height of 10-15m and is known for its spiny leaves and its iconic red fruits. Often found in shaded oak forests and near beech hedges, it is quite an adaptable species and one of the first to sprout in clear-cut areas. Its high levels of caffeine has seen it be used in Germany’s Black Forest as a substitute for tea.
Nepenthes khasiana is the only pitcher plant native to India. Like other carnivorous plants, N. khasiana gets its mineral nutrition from insects that fall into the pitcher-like trap. It is used in local medicine in north-east India, and is also an ornamental plant.
Yellow Rattle is an annual herbaceous flowering plant with vivid yellow flowers found throughout the British Isles, and has a widespread distribution in Europe and North America. It is a hemi-parasitic species that develops haustoria –a bridge from the water and nutrient store of the host to that of the hemi-parasite. Yellow Rattle increases biodiversity as it tends to attach to the roots of dominant grasses, suppressing their growth.
The coconut palm grows to 30m tall and is characterized by its fruit. Coconuts can be found throughout the tropical and subtropical world growing in a variety of soils along coastlines. It is an exceptional plant for its varied range of growth and the number of uses it offers up. From the refreshing water and milk encased in the fruit to the utilitarian uses of the husk, timber, and leaves the coconut palm is an integral plant for the tropics.
Stinging Nettle is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant that is found growing in open forests and disturbed sites across North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Stinging Nettles have been used for centuries as a source of medicine due to its high concentration of iron, boron, vitamins A and C, chlorophyll, and tannins.