Posts Tagged Wolfberry

Bower Woods, September 3

What really pushed me out on a walk today was to check on the the Caragana bushes I’ve been tracking since first blossom.  I thought I had left it too late, but I was just in time.  If you stand near a Caragana bush at this time of year and listen carefully you will hear the soft pop, pop, pop of  pods splitting and spitting forth their seed.

Ripe Caragana Seeds

Curled Horns of a Split Pod

Then I figured I should take a look around at what was happening.  The last time I walked Red Deer trails was on August 15th.  Even then you could see signs of the coming Autumn.  However, truth be told,  most things are still green though the wild roses are taking the lead with changing leaves.

Wild Rose Leaves

It’s as though the  Woods are poised waiting for the curtain to go up on Fall.  Today I noticed  the absence of the small butterflies so abundant two weeks ago.  The Sow Thistles that then boldly demanded attention with their yellow blooms, today blended their whites with those of the Canada thistles. The purple vetch that has bloomed furiously all summer, building mounded islands in the disturbed meadow, has given itself over to the making of seed too. Not a blossom to be seen.

Vetch pods

Smooth purple asters were still plentiful, though looking more tousled than before.

That consummate hustler, the Canada Thistle, was unfortunately abundant.   Not my favourite plant by a long shot, but there were so many they just begged to be photographed.

Field of Canadian Thistle in Seed

Canadian Thistle- ready to fly

Many red rose hips in evidence.  Also a variety of plants sporting inedible berries.

Wolfberries

One berry per plant

Cool Purple stripes

Blue belled berries

Oh yes, and an abundance of fresh mushrooms up and making the most of the end of summer.

Some of many Fungi in the woods

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Wolfberry

Also known as the Western Snowberry, (I presume for their white berries- still green at this date)  these small bushes are all over the ravines.  I’ve often been disappointed to find out that what I was hoping were low-bush Saskatoons were only these.   If you are desperate and don’t eat too many, or cook them first to destroy the saponins, you can eat these berries in case of famine.  If you get greedy you could end up with vomiting and diarrhea but apparently you’d have to eat a lot to be really sick.  Moral of the story- if your toddler pops one in his mouth don’t panic.  It’s bitter so he’s also not likely to go for a repeat of it.

In fact all parts of the bush are presumably toxic though the Blackfoot and Crees, I’m told, made an infusion of the leaves and inner bark to sooth sore eyes, and gave the liquid from boiled berries to horses as a diuretic.  Why would one give a diuretic to a horse though?

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