The Deadliest Plant In North America

In 1992, a 23-year-old man and his 39-year-old brother were foraging for wild ginseng in Maine.  The younger brother harvested several plants from a swampy area and took three bites from the root of one plant.  The older brother took one bite from the same root.

Within three hours, the younger brother died.  The older brother lived, though not without experiencing seizures and delirium.

The offending plant, of course, was not wild ginseng.  It was water hemlock (Cicuta maculata). 

Water hemlock is considered the most toxic plant in North America.  Some sources even consider water hemlock to be the most toxic plant in the Northern Hemisphere.

As it turns out, water hemlock is not a single species.  Water hemlock represents multiple species that all contain a potent toxin.  This toxin disrupts the central nervous system and can lead to death if prompt treatment isn’t given.

I recently spent some time in the presence of two water hemlock species.  If you’re interested in learning how to identify these deadly plants, check out the new video!

Thanks for reading and watching, and thank you for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging The Elusive Mayapple

Tropical fruit flavors are not commonly detected in my neck of the woods.  When they are, the experience is unforgettable.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is an eastern North American plant whose ripe fruit tastes like a mix between pineapple and Starburst candy.  All other parts of the plant (e.g., rhizomes, leaves, stems, and unripe fruits) are considered toxic.

My first encounter with a ripe mayapple fruit was unforgettable.  I actually smelled the fruit before I saw it.  Within seconds of harvesting, I indulged in what little edible material was available.  The taste was ambrosial — almost too good to be true — and from that day forward I became a devout seeker of ripe mayapple fruits.

As it turns out, conditions this year have been very good for mayapple fruits.  Foragers in many locations have been reporting bountiful harvests.  Because conditions have been fruitful, I decided to film a video in which I discuss key tips for improving your yield. 

If you are interested in becoming a devout seeker of ripe mayapple fruits, check out the video!

Foraging Wild Mushrooms is an online course that is currently open for enrollment until September 2nd.  This go-at-your-own-pace video course is perfect for beginners who are looking to develop their skills.  If you are eager to harvest wild mushrooms but don’t know where to start or where to go, Foraging Wild Mushrooms will equip you with the necessary skills to ensure that your harvests are safe and rewarding.  You can learn more by clicking this link.

Thanks for reading and watching, and thank you for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging Wineberries — Delicious Wild Edible Fruits

What would summer be without a trip to the local berry patch?

In my neck of the woods and fields, it wouldn’t be summer at all.

Some of nature’s tastiest fruits — black raspberries, red raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries — ripen during the warmest days of the year.  A perfectly timed visit to a prime location can yield a berry bonanza.

One such prime location includes sunny openings within rich woods.  It is here where a particular kind of raspberry grows.  Known as wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius), this semi-recent newcomer to the North American continent produces delicious edible fruits that taste like tangy red raspberries.

During my latest visit to a local wineberry patch, I filmed a video in which I discuss the factors that contribute to the success of wineberry in North America, as well as tips for locating wild populations.

If you are interested in harvesting wineberries this year, check out the brand new video!

I was a recent guest on the WildFed Podcast hosted by Daniel Vitalis.  In this conversation, we chat about my favorite topic as of late:  trees.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Wild Chamomile (Pineapple Weed) Keto Muffins w/ Cream Cheese Filling — Gather Victoria

OH, MY GODDESS – you’ve got to make these Wild Chamomile/ Pineapple Weed muffins! Their unique aromatic flavor ( a cross between zingy pineapple and soothing chamomile) just permeates these moist fragrant muffins which are made doubly scrumptious by the cream cheese filling. These are one of my favorite summer treats and my poor pre-diabetic…

Wild Chamomile (Pineapple Weed) Keto Muffins w/ Cream Cheese Filling — Gather Victoria

How To Find Pawpaws In The Wild

Good food is bestowed upon those who scout.

This is especially true when we consider what it takes to harvest pawpaws.

Pawpaws are incredibly delicious fruits that are produced by pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba).  Green and kidney-shaped, these tropical-tasting berries are considered to be the largest edible fruits produced by any native North American tree.

Many people are interested in finding pawpaws for the first time this year.  Some people will wait until the fruits are ripe in September to begin their search.

I would suggest another approach:  begin your search right now. 

Scouting the land in advance is an essential part of harvesting wild food.  When preparatory work has been done ahead of time, successful harvests are much more likely to occur.  Such is the case when we understand what it takes to find pawpaws.

What does preparatory work look like?  How do we begin our search for pawpaws?  What kinds of habitats are worth exploring?

I answer all those questions in a brand new video.  If you are interested in harvesting pawpaws this year, check it out!

I was a recent guest on the Silvercore Podcast hosted by Travis Bader.  In this conversation, we chat about foraging, the importance of learning trees, and why money is necessary to protect land.  You can listen to the interview here.

Click to listen

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Learn To Identify 100 Trees In All Seasons

Greetings,

I am very excited to announce that registration for my brand new online course will be open on Monday, May 23rd.

Trees In All Seasons is a four-season online video course designed to help you successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Additional topics that are featured in this course include tree ecology, physiology, anatomy, and taxonomy.

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 75 exclusive videos that lay the groundwork for successful tree identification.  If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling as a student in Trees In All Seasons.  

Please note:  Trees In All Seasons will be open for registration for two weeks only from Monday, May 23rd to Monday, June 6th.  Upon registration, you have immediate access to all course content and you can watch the videos at your own pace.

To register for Trees In All Seasons, mark your calendar for Monday, May 23rd and visit this link.

All additional information (including course structure, outline, and cost) will be posted on Monday.

My good friend Aaron Watson recently invited me on to his podcast to discuss my work with Trees In All Seasons and Learn Your Land.  To learn more about the course, as well as my motives in creating the course, check out the recent interview:
Part 1
Part 2

I look forward to seeing you on Monday!
-Adam Haritan

How Do I Deal With Ticks?

Greetings,

Before I share a new video with you, I want to provide some exciting news regarding the upcoming online tree identification course. 

After many years of diligent work, I’m happy to announce that the brand new course — Trees In All Seasons — will be released in May.  This online video course is designed to teach students how to confidently and successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Additional topics that are featured in this course include taxonomy, ecology, physiology, and general natural history.

If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling in Trees In All Seasons this May.  To receive updates regarding the initial release of the course, simply remain a subscriber to this newsletter.

And now on to the brand new video…

It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time in the woods.  It’s also no secret that the woods in which I spend my time harbor some of the most reviled organisms on Earth.

Ticks.

Because I share many of my outdoor adventures on video, and because I live in a state (Pennsylvania) whose Lyme disease cases are extraordinarily high, people naturally want to know how I deal with ticks. 

What precautions do I take?  What repellents do I recommend?  How much duct tape do I wrap around my socks?  What does diet have to do with all of this?

Questions regarding ticks are among the most common questions that I receive.  To compile my thoughts and concerns, I decided to film a video in which I discuss my 6-part strategy.

To learn how I deal with ticks, check out the brand new video!

In addition to harboring ticks, the woods in which I spend my time are home to beautiful wildflowers.  Pictured here are 15 wildflowers that blossom during the early weeks of spring in the northeastern United States.  Have you seen any of these flowers recently?  To view a larger image, check out the latest Instagram post.

Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Gather Ye Redbuds While Ye May – A Colorful Harbinger of Spring…and Edible, Too!

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Karen Cottingham

Eastern_Redbud_by Dan Keck via wikimediaHere in Texas, there’s a saying: “We have two seasons – summer and winter.” That’s not quite true; but if you’re not paying attention, spring can slip right past. And the last thing I want is to miss a single day of our glorious, but ephemeral, spring. 

The nights here are still cold – sometimes approaching freezing – but the robins have arrived, so I know springtime is near. It’s time to listen for a hushed prelude to seasonal change, time to look for intimations of life beginning to stir. Every few days, this calls for a visit to the two redbud trees in my Houston neighborhood to check the trunks and bare branches for any evidence of tiny pink flowers. Nothing to see for weeks on end; then suddenly, here they are – scattered crimson buds emerging straight from the furrowed bark, swelling with life, and…

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Hawthorn Berry Brownie Cake w/ Hawthorn Berry Buttercream Frosting — Gather Victoria

What more appropriate treat could there be for an occasion of the heart like Valentines Day? After all, many herbalists consider hawthorn berries the ultimate heart tonic and every kitchen witch knows that bewitching hawthorn opens the heart to love.  Heart-warming.& heart-strengthening, hawthorn heals, protects and uplifts heavy hearts, supporting us physically, emotionally and spiritually. …

Hawthorn Berry Brownie Cake w/ Hawthorn Berry Buttercream Frosting — Gather Victoria

A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Reskilling at Imbolc

The Druid's Garden

Imbolc–the first signs of spring (artwork by myself and my father, Mark Driscoll)

In a traditional neopagan Wheel of the Year, Imbolc is the holiday that offers the first signs of spring.  Most traditionally, this is when the ewes began to lactate, and the snowdrops appeared on the landscape in the British Isles.  In the age of climate instability, traditional seasonal interpretations become challenged for many reasons–not the least of which are climate disruptions.  So how might we bring the holiday of Imbolc into the 21st century and think about what this holiday means to us today?

As I’ve discussed in earlier posts in this series, the 21st Century, the Age of the Anthropocene, offers us a set of unprecedented challenges and yet opportunities.  As a permaculture designer, I think it’s important to recognize that while the problems we already face are unavoidable, these problems give us a…

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