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.