Lance Foster (hengruh) wrote,
Lance Foster

Useful Plants Lists

A working list of "top 5/10/etc. most useful plants" from various sources. If you are learning to identify and use plants, or find new uses for kitchen spices, these are plants to look for. If you have a thing about so-called "weeds," realize some of these "weeds" can be more nutritious and medicinally useful than most of your pretty garden plants.

n = native to Montana (may only be in particular areas though, like yucca won't grow where western red cedar does).
i = "weedy"/nonnative/introduced invasive plant, grows in Montana
g = desirable garden/cultivated plant, can be grown in Montana
s = will not grow outside in Montana, must be bought in store

The Ten Plants with the greatest number of uses by Native Americans overall, and uses for medicinal, food, dye, fiber, and other, (Moerman 1998: 11)

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) = n (nw MT)
Common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) = n
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) = n
Banana yucca (Yucca baccata) = ? (Yucca glauca is native; don't know if baccata would grow here though)
Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) = n
Common cowparsnip (Heracleum maximum) = n
Skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata) = n
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) = n
Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) = g
Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) = g

The Ten Plants with the greatest number of uses by Native Americans for medicines (Moerman 1998: 12)

Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) = w
Calamus (Acorus calamus) aka Sweet flag = ?
Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), aka Grandfather Sage = n
Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) = n
Common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) = n
Louisiana sagewort (Artemisia ludoviciana), aka White Sage, Prairie Sage, Man Sage = n
Devil's club (Oplopanax horridus) = n (nw MT)
Common juniper (Juniperus communis) = n
Canada mint (Mentha canadensis) = n
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) = n

The Ten Plants with the greatest number of uses by Native Americans for food (Moerman 1998: 15)

Common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) = n
Banana yucca (Yucca baccata) = g?
Corn (Zea mays) = g (doesn't grow well in some parts of MT)
Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) = n
Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) = ?
American red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) = g
Saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantea) = 0 (too cold here in MT)
Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) = n
Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) = n
Broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia) = n

There are also top ten lists in Moerman for dyes, fiber, and "other" (this last category is for things like toys, fuels, tools, or ceremonial, etc.). I might add these later.

Common Plants used to treat kids
when they have simple, day-to-day, first aid type ailments

Chickweed - w
Violet - g
Lemon balm
Plantain (the weed, not the food) - w
Chamomile - g
Calendula (pot marigold, not the common marigold)
Burdock - w
Pine - n
Rose - g, n

Herbals Medicines for your Medicine Chest (general, adults/children)

Peppermint - w, g
Lemon balm
Eucalyptus - s
Echinacea - n
Licorice root
Tea tree
Calendula - g
St. Johnswort - w
Arnica - n
Plantain (weed, not the food) - w
Aloe vera - s
Clove - s
Slippery elm - ?s
Mullein - w
Garlic - g

= = = = = = =

Learning Herbs.
Moerman, Daniel. 1998. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland: Timber Press.
Tags: herbalism, plants

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