Tag Archives: mother earth

Love Your Neighbor: At-Risk and To-Watch Native Herbs of Long Island, NY

As I began researching the native flora of Long Island, NY, I was fascinated by the diversity, magnitude, and beauty of the many medicinal and healing plants that I found. I was also stunned at how many of the native plants I came across are also on United Plant Savers‘ lists for at-risk or to-watch native plants. The goal in compiling these lists is to raise awareness of the fragility of our native flora and to be able to assist these irreplaceable plants to regrow and repopulate in their natural environment. We can do that by cultivating these plants ourselves and also not purchasing any products which use these plants from the wild, which would further strain the plants’ ability to survive for future generations. Let’s honor and educate ourselves about these amazing plants who are native to our home, what I like to think of as our dear old neighbors, who deserve our respect and our help in their time of need. Here is a list of Native Herbs and Plants of Long Island, NY that are on United Plant Savers’ At Risk or To-Watch lists:

Black Cohosh – an at-risk LI plant. source: everlastingseeds.com

At-Risk Native Plants of Long Island, NY:

Bloodroot –  Sanguinaria canadensis
Black Cohosh – Actaea racemosa (Cimicifuga)
Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides
Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra
Sundew – Drosera spp.
–Drosera rotundifolia var. rotundifolia
–Drosera intermedia
Trillium, Beth Root – Trillium spp.
–Trillium cernuum
–Trillium erectum
Virginina Snakeroot – Aristolochia serpentaria
Wild Yam – Dioscorea villosa, D. spp.

To-Watch Native Plants in Long Island, NY:

Butterfly Milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa
Gentian -Gentiana spp.
Closed Gentian – Gentiana clausa
–Narrow-leaved Gentian – Gentiana linearis
–Soapwort Gentian – Gentiana saponaria
Lobelia – Lobelia spp.

Wild Blue Indigo – a To-Watch LI Plant. Source: Schaumburg Garden Club

–Great Blue Lobelia – Lobelia siphilitica
–Indian Tobacco – Lobelia inflata
Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum pendatum
Mayapple – Podophyllum peltatum
Partridgeberry – Mitchella repens
Wild Indigo – Baptisia tinctoria

Sources:

Plant Native: Regional Plant List for Long Island, NY
New York Flora Atlas
Wild Flower Center
United Plant Savers

Further Reading & Resources

Long Island Botanical Society
Top 10 Reasons to Use Native Plants in Your Garden
NY Flora Association Blog
NY Natural Heritage Program’s Plant Guides
NY Botanical Garden on Home Gardening

Soon I will be posting a list of Native Flora that are fortunately not at-risk, as well as information about the medicinal and traditional folkloric uses of many of the native flora of Long Island, in hopes that this information will inspire Long Island’s people to turn to the native flora for guidance, healing, and partnership in the old ways, for a better future for all.

Your input is appreciated and encouraged, do you know of any other native plants to add to these lists? Have any photographs of these plants growing near your home on Long Island? Please share!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Herbs of Renewal

The holy day of Yom Kippur is on the horizon. Just beyond the starry sky, the cloak is lifted, the sky is split, and the cosmic white light is revealed. All new energy, all new hope. The universe is at the edge of a new dawn, as the past is let go in a collective sigh of relief, a collective cry, a cry of sadness for what’s been given away, a cry of joy for what is to come. The white light guides us and comforts us, reminds us of our primal essence, our unfaltering cosmic identity that never can fade, never can fail. The individual journeys all cross each other’s paths in some way, at some point in this whirling wave wind of time. Looking at the physical plane, we see the change in the seasons, the high energy rush of Autumn comes flying in with a gust of wind. Autumn is a poem of renewal and death, of loss and rebirth, or the story of our lives. Inside each of us a heart that never ceases to beat plays the music that calms our souls as we walk sometimes alone sometimes unsure sometimes misguided in our belly bearing existence. But there is always something there to remind us who we really are. The white light is inside and never fades. This day emerging honors the white light eternally. Renewal is where all the parts of life and death meet, and make color on the white light.

Image

via green spirit

Herbs for Renewal

milk thistle – the herb of renewal. it contains silymarin, a unique component that protects the liver against free radicals and toxins. a happy liver means a happy immune system and a happy whole person free to live fully.

ginkgo biloba – a 200 million year old tree that gets blood flowing to all parts, bringing the waters of life to the brain, hands, feet, and everywhere where a fresh supply of energy and blood is needed.

Image

milk thistle via herb companion

yarrow – the official wound healer. it physically stops bleeding and repairs tissues, and spiritually it also helps to heal wounds and create healthy boundaries to protect against harm. it tones the liver and flushes out toxins – renewal.

wormwood – a bitter that is truly sweet. it’s believed that wormwood’s bitter taste is due to this plant’s absorption of human suffering and injustice of the world. a true healer, it removes bitterness from inside us and restores peace and self-love.

cleavers – superb lymph cleanser that breaks up lymphatic buildup and toxins which would otherwise lead to cysts/tumors/infections/etc. treats external manifestations of stagnation (skin disorders) internally.

bitter orange – native of China. it is a “CHI” energy tonic that releases energy and gets stuck things moving. vitamins A B C. the building blocks.

fo-ti-tieng – the Chinese Herbalist Li Chung Yun was rumored to live 256 by drinking this tea with ginseng every day. (He also only ate vegetables that grew above ground, drank mineral water, and remained calm at all times.) Fo Ti Tieng contains Vitamin X, which energizes and rejuvenates the brain, nerves, and endocrine system.

citron (etrog) – one of the four species used on the holiday of sukkot (feast of tabernacles). It is said one who suffers from eye pains should gaze at a citron for healing. This fruit stabilizes liver function, helping to let go of depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and fatigue.

Other RENEWAL/REJUVENATING herbs : dandelion, plantain, sarsaparilla.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lessons from the Mushrooms: Be Optimistic, Resourceful, and Recycle

amanita muscaria, the archetypal mushroom

Take a moment to be awed when you spot a mushroom popping up through the ground. No mushroom is an island. What you are actually looking at is the reproductive structure of a complex, magical organism called Mycelium that is found underneath the grass that you and the mushroom stand on. You are facing the next generation of a superpower whose handiwork is intertwined with the fate of millions of life-forms. Mycelium (and their mushrooms) are there at every stage of an animal or plant’s lifecycle – from birth to death, and so on. Here are some inspiring habits of nature’s recycling squad:

~Mushrooms are the guardians of the forests. Their role in the decomposition and rebuilding of life forms, manifested in partnerships with creatures of all sizes and kinds (such as helping snails digest their dinners),  make them the overseers of the forest’s well-being. Some say they can even help prevent forest fires.

~Studies on mushrooms indicate promising medicinal benefits for us humans, including antibiotics, anticancer, antioxidant, and stress reducing properties. The Reishi/Ling Chi species is also antiviral, anti tumor, and promotes cardiovascular, immunity, and liver health, amongst other virtues.

~Certain species of mushrooms are so powerful that they can break down toxic wastes. Researchers implanted mushrooms on piles of soil contaminated by diesel and watched as the mushrooms were able to find nutrition in the chemicals, ultimately transforming the lifeless pile into healthy soil. That goes for toxic spills and radiation-ridden lands, too…so resourceful!!

~Some mushrooms can be natural alternatives to chemical pesticides that threaten the quality of our foods and the delicate balance of insect ecosystems. Rather than using harsh chemicals, farmers and individuals can use mushrooms to control pests and insects in a safer and less harmful way to us all.

~Mushrooms can be cultivated in the craziest places. We all know about those that grow on cow manure, but also straw, logs, tree stumps, hemp rope, hats, clothing, buckets, cardboard, your own backyard, and yes, nuclear waste sites. They are the ultimate optimists, taking the best from whatever situation they are in.

a fairy ring via The Telegraph

~They form “Fairy rings” – naturally occurring arcs or rings of mushrooms that appear on grasses and in fields. In European folklore, these are the gateways to fairy realms and the indicator that an elf or fairy has stopped by. These beautiful rings form when underground webs of mycelium grow in an outward direction. The mushrooms pop up along this circle, outlining the presence of the complex system working just below the surface.

~There are over 10,000 known species of mushrooms!! Each type is unique and many are amazingly bizarre in appearance. Some glow in the dark (mycena chlorophos), some are tiny (flammulina velutipes), some are as big as a tree, some grow underwater, and some are as hard as rocks. They are all beautiful.

for further information, visit Mushroom Appreciation, and read Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Beauty May I walk

In beauty may I walk.

Image via Moon Fire Meeting House

All day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons
may I walk…

On the trail marked with pollen
may I walk…

With grasshoppers about my feet
may I walk.

With dew about my feet may I walk.

With beauty may I walk.

With beauty before me, may I walk.

With beauty behind me, may I walk.

With beauty above me, may I walk.

With beauty below me, may I walk.

With beauty all around me, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
living again, may I walk.

It is finished in beauty.

It is finished in beauty.

-from the Navajo Nightway Chant

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: