Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Go Green with Native Plant Societies

Thanks to Native Plant Societies across the world--we can amp our appreciation and knowledge of wild plants in our homelands. You needn't be a plant geek with a hand lens. Anyone with a hankering to learn what grows in the fields, forests and flanks of wild places is welcome.  Local chapters abound! Chapters often meet monthly and sponsor field trips and cool educational events--all while helping to protect the Northwest's rich native plant heritage. They are full of fun folks, too. Consider joining a native plant society in your state or province. Here's where you can start:

Alaska Native Plant Society

California Native Plant Society
PH (916) 447-2677

Native Plant Society of British Columbia
(604) 831-5069

Native Plant Society of Oregon

Washington Native Plant Society
(206) 527-3210

Idaho Native Plant Society

Here's a hint of what you can learn by joining a Native Plant Society: A tidbit on Devil's Club from the website for the Kinnikinnick Chapter in Sand Point, Idaho: "Also called Devil’s walking stick--and for good reason...the plant is covered with sharp spiny thorns.  Also called Echinopanax horridum...and very closely related to Ginseng....

Devil's Walking Stick
It is used in the treatment of diabetes, especially adult onset insulin resistant diabetes...reportedly reducing the craving for sugar as well as the elevated blood glucose levels. In large doses it is emetic (causes vomiting) and purgative. The root bark boiled in oil and used to treat psoriaisis worked better than hydrocortisone in one study. Like all the ginsengs it is an adaptogen, balancing the stress response and stabilizing the body. Tlingit Shamans undergo solitary initiations in the wilderness fasting and drinking Devil’s club tea... It has been called the most valuable medicinal plant native to the Pacific Northwest..."

Find out more at:

Better yet, join a Native Plant Society and get outside, up close and personal with plants!

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