Today- after an extremely productive 7am trip with the vertebrate zoology class mind you- I nipped over to Langdon Woods in the rain to learn about the the little plants growing around the forest floor at a rapid, hydrated rate.  The ones I can remember off the top of my head include:

Bunchberry:  a ground covering plant with red berries clustered in a bunch.  Edible!

Partridge berry: a tiny plant with a leaf or two red berry on top.  not dangerous to eat!

Goldenthread: A little plant with three fan-shaped leaves. the deep orange root has numbing and diuretic properties.  Useful! Probably not good nutrition though!

Purple trillium:  a flower with an exotic crimson color.  It is also called “stinking benjamin” because it has an undesirable odor when in bloom.   Nice to look at!

Starflower:  A distinctive, flat white flower with 7 blades.  the leaves all grow from the same spot in a circle- a phenomenon known also in pine trees as a “whorl”.  Pretty!

Indian cucumber:  a plant that also grows leaves in a whorl shape, with a varying number of leaves.  A prime  root tastes and feels like a sweet carrot.  Some think they can tell how developed the cucumber is by how many leaves are on the plant, though I do not know this to be true.  Very tasty!

Wintergreen:  a small thick-leafed plant.  The leaves are round and a bit waxy looking, but the point is it is a great consumable.  Makes great tea!

Sensitive fern:  This is a fairly nondescript fern with one key feature: it leaves its fertile fronds attached to the plant for a while, making them easy to spot.  Just look for brown “beaded” fronds sticking straight up – this is a clear indication of sensitive fern.  Fun to ID!

Ostrich fern:  A big fern with large fiddleheads.   Great sauteed!


There are more plants we covered, but these are the ones I can remember the best.