Bloodroot In Bloom

Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ) is native to eastern Canada and an early bloomer here on Vancouver Island. Bloodroot has been used as a red dye by native artists. It is a member of the Papaveraceae (poppy) family.


Sunrise, Sunset and Shakespeare


The Sponsa Solis flower opens at the rising of the sun and closes at its setting. We like to call it a Marsh Marigold and botanists call it Caltha palustris. This wonderful pond plant has a long bloom time of April to June, has been used as a medicinal plant in the past, and has even made it into the theater !

‘Winking Marybuds begin to ope their golden eyes.’ ( Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline ii.3)

Arnica – Sun Powered Medicine

Sun Powered Medicine

“Arnica has been used for centuries to treat bruises, arthritis and other inflammations.”(ref Thomas J. Elpel Botany in a Day 5th Ed 2010 ) . We grow a large bed of Arnica chamissonis on the farm. The flowers are harvested and used to produce a solar infused oil which forms the foundation for many herbal products. Click on the photo to read a wonderful summary of various solar infused oils.

Friend or Foe ?

Friend or Foe ?

One stiff gust of wind will launch dozens of these seeds out into the world, some of them may settle into a garden or lawn where they may not be welcome. According to the website “Herbicides account for the highest usage of pesticides in the home and garden sector with over 90 million pounds applied on lawns and gardens per year.” That is a lot of herbicide ! Maybe your lawn doesn’t have to look like a golf course ? The Dandelion ( Taraxcum officinale ) has been used medicinally, as a vitamin rich food, a dye plant, a wine ingredient, and a herbal fertilizer for 100’s of years.

That’s cool, but what else do you do ?

That's cool, but what else do you do ?

Lady’s Mantel ( Achemilla mollis ) holds water drops that glitter like jewels in the sun.
In fact Achemilla means “little magic one”. According to The Encyclopedia of Herb and Their Uses ( Deni Brown 1995) ” A. mollis is widely planted in herb gardens but has no medical uses” Alpine Lady’s Mantle ( A. alpina ) is considered the medicinal variety.
Click on the photo to learn about how Lady’s Mantle can be part of an “edible lawn”.

Celandine aka Greater Celandine, Swallow Wort, Tetterwort

Celandine aka greater celandine, swallow wort, tetterwort

Chelidonium majus has a long history of use in homeopathy and Chinese medicine for a large number of medical complaints. It grows in several unused corners of the farm and whenever I have to cut it down it instantly makes me sneeze. I am thinking of renaming it to Brian’s Sneeze-weed ! Speaking of plant names, the name Tetterwort seems to apply to a few different plants used for treating Tetter which is an old English term for skin disease.