Back off, pitdog!!

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by DOC-CANADA, May 5, 2011.



    Apr 14, 2006
    It seems every day, pitdog posts another excellent hiking/wild edibles thread. Well, I, for one, am getting sick and tired of this biased overrepresentation of West Coast resources. Kgd has fought back with his current thread on scrumptious Basswood and Garlic Mustard offerings and, also, possibly Woods Walker's excellent wild edibles thread (although I'm not sure where he lives - :confused:!)

    So it was with revenge in mind that I ventured forth on my first official old geezer's hike looking for local wild edibles

    There seemed to be quite a bit, although most wasn't in the correct stage for eating.

    The first thing I ran into was Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) AKA Indian Lemonade Tree, although not the best time for harvesting ( see kgd's thread). BTW, a workable wood for both drill and hearth for bow drill, although not the best.


    The next was Garlic Mustard (Allium petiolata- aka- Alliaria officinalis - aka - Sisymbrium alliaria). kgd also covered this in his thread.


    I have only eaten the leaves, so I'll have to try kgd/Thayer's recommendation. I found the leaves quite good, though.

    The next one is Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum - AKA Yellow Fawn Lily, Adder's Tongue). This is also an edible plant (corm) but be careful. I met a guy, once, who developed anaphalaxis from eating this plant, and, fortunately, his wife was a nurse that recognized what was happening and managed to get him treated, successfully. Actually, this caution should be considered when trying any new plant.


    Mayapple! Mostly this is a poisonous plant, but during a short period, when the fruit is ripe (yellow), it is supposedly edible (never tried it.). Here's the warning:
    WARNINGS!: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE UNRIPE MAY APPLES OR ANY OTHER PART OF THE PLANT. Leaves and particularly the roots contain a resinous compound known as podophyllin that can cause violent cathartic reactions. Consumption of small quantities will produce severe gastric upset and vomiting. Death may occur from larger quantities. The fleshy pulp of the fruit is edible, although the seeds should not be eaten. (OL262) Apparently Mayapple is being investigated for it's medicinal qualities - IIRC, one possible application is for treating testicular cancer.


    And, of course, proof positive that Spring has finally come to Southern Ontario - Trilliums!


    Here's a great little trail nibble and seasoning for the Spring-time salad - Cut-leaved Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata)


    Plants you should be wary of? Here's one - Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis - aka - Puccoon root, red-puccoon, red Indian paint, redroot, pauson, snake-bite ) Also a fairly early arrival in Spring.


    A sad bit of wild edible business - the death of a mature Butternut (Juglans cinerea, aka White Walnut) tree. Apparently, a lot of Butternut trees are falling victim to a devastating fungus than may be capable of wiping out the species, at least in our area.

    Last edited: May 5, 2011


    Apr 14, 2006
    Maybe on this sad note, a shift in gears:

    It was a beautiful day (Wednesday) in Southern Ontario and apparently it wasn't just me that thought so. Some other trail wildlife:


    A shot of Spring in Ontario woods - still pretty brown looking.


    And finally, the obligatory knife shot -


    There are more pictures, but that's it for now. (pitdog, we're gunnin' for ya :mad:)

    Doc :D
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  3. pitdog


    Apr 13, 2007
    Great stuff Doc I still live in your shadow buddy !!!

    I was gonna message you as I hadn't seen you around for a while and was starting to get worried !

    Back to the thread have you tried young Trillium leaves ? I didn't realise till recently that they were edible, however when I tried a little I felt a mild burning in my throat and that made me decide to give this one a miss from now on !

    Here is some info on them for those that are interested :

    Trillium is edible and medicinal, it has a long history of use by Native Americans. The young edible unfolding leaves are an excellent addition to salad tasting somewhat like sunflower seeds. The leaves can also be cooked as a pot herb. The root is used as an alternative medicine and is antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic, emmenagogue (to promote menstruation), and ophthalmic. The roots, fresh or dry, may be boiled in milk and used for diarrhea and dysentery. The raw root is grated and applied as a poultice to the eye in order to reduce swelling, or on aching rheumatic joints. The leaves were boiled in lard and applied to ulcers as a poultice, and to prevent gangrene. An infusion of the root is used in the treatment of cramps and a common name for the plant, ‘birthroot', originated from its use to promote menstruation. A decoction of the root bark can be used as drops in treating earache. Constituents found in the volatile and fixed oils are, tannic acid, saponin, a glucoside resembling convallamarin, sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate, gum, resin, and starch.
  4. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    doc canada & pitdog are great at extending our edible knowledge. i hope i/m never in position to have to depend on native plants. to a casual clod as myself i do'nt want to make a mistake, so far my peanut & butter sandwiches have sufficed. although the diet is fairly pedestrian i have'nt been distressed. the one indian trick i recall is the inner bark of the cottonwood tree alleves diahrrea. it's wonderful to see anything green since austin area is in a 150 year record dry period. thanks guys----dennis
  5. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Great stuff Doc, glad to see you are getting out and finally, finally a little sunshine has come to our parts!

    On the trout lily, according to Thayer (Nature's Garden, 2010) the corm is best harvested just before the leaves push through the ground where it can be eaten raw but apparently you should mark a good patch now because they are hard to find at that stage. He also suggests that the corm can also be harvested after the plant has died back when the foliage has returned to the trees. In this case, the corm is starchy rather than sweet. Again, if you have a patch in an area that it is okay to harvest in, now is a good time to mark it.
  6. Mack

    Mack Expert Ultracrepidarian Platinum Member

    Aug 19, 2007
    It's good to see ya Doc. I absolutely love these threads and really need to fill a notebook with the information you gents pass along to us.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, please don't stop educating us.
  7. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    Great post and pics gp!

    I tend to look for Blood Root (Sanguinaria canadensis) and not stay away from it, specially when I have a little cut on my hand which is pretty often...

    Anyway, I have been going over that database slowly and so far I like it, but I do have some feedback for you to make it a little easier for the not so bright like me.

    Give me a few more days and I'll email you with it.

  8. Yahmanin


    Sep 29, 2003
    Fantastic, interesting, and well presented stuff guys, thanks for taking the time to share! Great camera work too, both still and action.

    Not a wild edible, but might help if a mook like me makes a mistake when harvesting; I keep a pack of the Benadryl (Dyphinhyrdamine(sp?)) quick dissolving tongue strips in the bag for the just in cases, advantage over caplets/sules, imo, being that they're really light and tiny (though they need to be rotated and don't like humidity much) and you don't have to swallow them, which could be problematic if they're needed. There are other antihistamines out there, but this is my go to for severe reactions ymmv. In a pinch they can also help calm down a fellow hiker or someone else with you if it all goes in the pot and they need (or you need them) to chill. Same stuff is used in Tylenol PM, as most probably know.
  9. coaldigger


    Jan 27, 2007
    Nice pic's Doc ! Trillium & MayApple are everywhere here !
  10. Doc13


    Apr 10, 2010
    Nice to see Ontario getting some love too.. Although B.C is beautiful!

    Thank you both for your contributions:thumbup:
  11. jcl-MD


    Aug 30, 2008
    THANKS for the Post!!
  12. TheGame


    Sep 24, 2008
    Thanks for sharing the information with us. I still need to vastly improve in this category. I've been doing a good amount of reading in my spare time, but definitely not enough.
  13. --J


    Jan 26, 2008
    Excellent Post Doc, I live in SW now (London) but grew up North of Timmins where I new what, (and when), wild edibles were available but we shure have a lot of different plant life down here. I've looked for references...can you suggest one book which encompasses Ontario and Quebec wild foods?
  14. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    --J I live just down the road from you in Windsor. My two favorite books which have many examples in our area are both authored by Samual Thayer. The first one is called The Forager's Harvest. The second one is called Natures Garden. These two books prove a great deal of information on a smaller number of common edible plants that have high potential yield. The book goes into a lot of detail about how and when to harvest the plants, what parts to eat and how to prepare or preserve them for consumption. If you are just going for straight i.d. then Peterson's guide is quite good.
  15. pitdog


    Apr 13, 2007
  16. ROCK6


    Feb 8, 2004
    That just confirms my initial thoughts...I thought Doc was just an old goat; however, it's now proven he's just an old bear...finally coming out of hibernation:D

    Great post Doc...I really enjoy the wild edible posts, they're always very educational:thumbup:



    Apr 14, 2006
    Hey pitdog, I know that Trillium are supposed to be edible, but I have not tried them. I wonder how much saponin are in the leaves. If there is enough, the leaves could be used as a fish poison.

    Gee, Dennis, I hope your dry period improves soon. As far as depending on native plants, it's not a viable option. Much better to learn trapping techniques, etc. although peanut butter sandwiches work :D

    Plus one on Thayer's books. They are excellent. Another excellent one is 'Edible Wild Plants' by John Kallas. Kallas is/was the director of 'The Wild Food Adventurer' newsletter.

    Thanks, protourist. But remember, The final responsibility for determining the safety and suitability of using a particular plant for food or medicine is YOURS! In other words, you eat it, you get sick, you get the blame! :D

    Well? Actually the tree portion is finished - I couldn't wait for you, but I'm interested in hearing your comments.


    I've never heard of the quick dissolving tongue strips before - I'll have to look into them. You'd still need an epipen in the case of a really bad reaction, though, AFAIK.

    Thanks coaldigger. They're everywhere here, as well.

    Thanks Doc. (It's like talking to myself, except in print :confused: )

    Thanks jcl

    There's never enough time to do everything.

    Thanks J. Wild edible books are something like Lay's potato chips. One is not enough.

    For example, I have one book that says the berries of Virginia Creeper (Partheocissus quinquefolia) are edible and another that says they're poisonous!!! :eek:

    IMHO, the best course of action, if you're learning from a book, is to have several, and cross reference everything.

    Peterson's guide is quite good, but one that I think is better for identifying a particular plant is Newcomb's. It has a very good keying method. I just checked Amazon and it looks like it's out of print. Now, I really have to look for my copy.

    Nice link, thanks pitdog.

    Hey Rock. I'm not sure what you getting at. You want to see me bare? :eek: Sorry, Rock. I don't swing that way - "Not that there's anything wrong with it..........."

    Glad you enjoyed the thread. Thanks Rock.

  18. gunknifenut

    gunknifenut KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 9, 2006
    Hey Doc, I think what you are trying to say to Rock is " dont ask, dont tell"...LOL
    Great pics, and thanks for the info.
    I thought "blood root" , although NOT edible, is good to treat wounds, but I am NO EXPERT, maybe Marty or Tony can chime in. Or Kevin or Brian.
    Anyways...I am on the hunt for mustard root right now..I just taught my girls "mullen" I think its called...or toilet paper plant..LOL.
    Doc, you would have loved it, my 2 year old met her first Garder Snake last first she tried anything to get that snake to go thing you know, she is trying to kick it, all the while, I am telling her how GOOD the snake is..and that he is her friend. really funny moment. I thought of all you guys..cause I didnt have a camera with me that had video...I was glad she was brave though. I did think she was a knuckle head..(just like dad) , as I told her the snake would bite her if she bothered it to much...this DID NOT stop her at all. LOL.
    Great post...OH..pitdog..dont you stop for nothing brother!!!!
  19. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    Yes the liquid in the root of Bloodroot can be used as a light antiseptic and anti inflammatory.


    Apr 14, 2006
    Gene, excuse my laziness but some information from my notes:


    The red-colored latex found throughout this plant contains several alkaloids, including sanguinarine, chelerythrine, protopine, and homochelidonine, as well as resins. These physiologically active compounds can, if consumed, cause vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, shock, coma, and potentially death. They can also cause fluid retention, or edema, and glaucoma. However, there are apparently no known cases of human or livestock poisoning by Bloodroot under natural conditions (MG103)


    - Induce vomiting, or perform gastric lavage; follow with activated charcoal and a saline cathartic; treat for symptoms. (MG103)



    - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists bloodroot as "unsafe": do not use it. (QF113)


    - The red latex was formerly extracted from the rootstock and used as a medicinal drug. It is now also used in research to induce glaucoma in laboratory animals. The same alkaloids contained in Bloodroot latex are present in other members of the poppy family. (MG103)
    - Research indicates that the red juice in the rhizome is an escharotic, a caustic substance that produces a mass of dead tissue after application. Bloodroot's effectiveness in specifically treating ringworm and eczema is probable, but has not been proved, nor has its use as an expectorant (since the plant may be toxic when taken internally). (QF113)


    - was used for infected cuts (KS321)


    - "they use it to paint their Mattes (mats), Targets, and such like." (KS318) - 1612 - Capt. John Smith
    - as a dye for people's skin, animal skins, baskets etc. (KS319)
    - It inhibits plaque on teeth, and is used commercially in toothpastes and mouthwashes. (ZB35)
    - a wash of the roots is an effective repellent against flies and mosquitoes ( ABE122)

    GENERAL (includes legend and lore):

    - "..........Bachelors of some of the tribes, after rubbing some of the red milky juice on their hands, would contrive to shake hands with girls they desired; if successful in this, after five or six days, these girls are said to have been found willing to marry them." (KS320)
    - American Indians made a root tea for lung ailments and rheumatism. (ZB35)
    - member of the Poppy Family ( MG102)"

    As to the Mullein, one of its common names is 'Quaker's Rouge' because young Quaker girls, who were forbidden to use cosmetics, used to rub it on their cheeks. Because the leaves are rubefacient, it would 'redden' their cheeks. I mention this because of your reference to 'Camper's toilet paper'. :D


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