Tag Archives: United Plant Savers

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


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!

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Star of the Herbs: Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

via Henriette’s Herbal

What’s in a name? For Juliet, little importance. But for plants, everything. Dubbed the “Cherokee cure for cancer,” Goldenseal was one of the cure-all herbs favored by many Native American tribes. Hydrastis, Goldenseal’s botanical name, means “water” and “to accomplish,” hinting to the yellow root’s unrivaled effectiveness at soothing the body’s mucus membranes. Folk names often reveal the value and traditional uses of a plant, such as Indian Paint and Turmeric root; both references to the potent amber-yellow dye released by Goldenseal. It is a star ingredient in Kloss’ Liniment, a timeless remedy that heals virtually any skin ailment. The eclectic physicians of the 19th Century relied greatly on the endless virtues of this plant as well. For starters, it can be used in all cases of infections, skin disorders such as eczema, sore throat/mouth, and irritated eyes. It is rare and costly, so every ounce of its powder is like gold to those who formulate with it.

Like any gift we are given, we are entrusted with the fate of this and other precious herbs that have given so much to mankind throughout time. Goldenseal is native to the North Eastern woodlands of North America but is quickly becoming depleted due to over harvesting. According to United Plant Savers, of the 27 states where Goldenseal grows naturally, 17 have reported it imperiled or uncommon.  Efforts are being made to preserve this important herb and as consumers we must demand only cultivated  forms of it, and never purchase products that use Goldenseal taken from the wild. If you are unsure of the sources of a product, look into the company’s practices or ask them yourself where they get their Goldenseal from. A reliable source for certified organic, cultivated Goldenseal and hundreds of other herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs.

Goldenseal is a magnificent herbal ally that must never fade away. One way to help preserve Goldenseal is to replace it in formulas with Barberry or Oregon Grape Root. For a list of at-risk plants, visit United Plant Savers.

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