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Luna Farm Medicinal Plant Trail
posted on Friday, April 17th 2015 12:33 am
Trail Head

Beyond the Mulberry tree lies a secret trail…

New in 2015, this trail runs the length of our property line in a woodland setting. As time and funds permit, we’ll be adding native and medicinal plants, creating a teaching trail for the community to enjoy and learn from. The purpose of this trail is to educate the community, enhance native and endangered plant species, create wild spaces for wildlife to habitat and to cultivate at risk and endangered medicinal herbs.

Currently this medicine trail hosts (we’ll add to the list as we add to the trail and discover what’s growing as we clear out the invasives):

Plants
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Shrubs
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Trees
Slippery Elm aka Red Elm (Ulmus rubra)*
Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Mulberry (Morus alba)
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
Box Elder (Acer negundo)
White Maple (Acer saccharinum)

In the coming seasons, we hope to add:

Plants
Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)*
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)*
False Unicorn Root (Chamaelirium luteum)*
True Unicorn Root (Aletris farinosa)*
Trillium (Trillium spp.)*
Solomon Seal (Polygonatum commutatum)
Solomon’s Plume (Smilacina racemosa)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)*
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)*
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)*
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense reflexum)
Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens eriocarpa)
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Ramps (Allium tricoccum)**
Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)*
Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium spp.)*
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)**
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)**

Shrubs
Rose (Rosa rugosa)
Sumac (Rhus glabra)
Gooseberry (Ribes spp.)
Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

Trees
Red Bud (Cercis canadensis)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Hawthorn (Crataegus mollis)
Holly (Ilex opaca)

Water/Marsh Plants
Calamus (Acorus calamus)
Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Common Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)
Lizard’s Tail (Saururus cernuus)
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Horsetail (Equisteum sylvaticum)

Trillium blooming in the woodland garden.

Trillium blooming in the woodland garden.

Phase One – 2015
Clearing of invasives – We will be removing large amounts of bush and vining Honeysuckle from the area to make room for a multitude of wood land natives and medicinals. Much of the debris will go towards creating natural habitats for wild creatures to make their home such as birds, insects, rabbits and other small woodland animals.

Clearing trash and debris – The previous tenants of our property viewed our land as a trash dump. There are lots of beer bottles and cans (they held wild parties that the town is still talking about 20 years later), old household goods and car parts as well as trash that has blown in from the subdivision.

Planting of natives and medicinals – We have plants we will be transplanting from our gardens and friends’ gardens as well as many that we have on order to plant as time and funds permit. We hope to create a native oasis that will benefit the community and the local fauna.

I forgot to snap before photos but this is looking back out towards the trailhead. To the left is a stream where I can grow some water loving plants. All that greenery to the left? Honeysuckle. By the time we were done today, it was all gone. I'm envisioning Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Ginger, Goldenseal, Ginseng, Bloodroot, Solomon's Seal, Trillium, False Unicorn Root, True Unicorn Root, Mayapples, Gooseberries, Nettles and so much more along this trail...

I forgot to snap before photos but this is looking back out towards the trailhead. To the left is a stream where I can grow some water loving plants. All that greenery to the left? Honeysuckle. By the time we were done today, it was all gone. I’m envisioning Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Ginger, Goldenseal, Ginseng, Bloodroot, Solomon’s Seal, Trillium, False Unicorn Root, True Unicorn Root, Mayapples, Gooseberries, Nettles and so much more along this trail…

Turning around and looking the other way, you can see the wall of Honeysuckle we'll be facing in the next day of hacking. The greenery on the right is Honeysuckle that has been cut down and ready to be cleared out. We are mostly throwing it into the pasture at the moment for the goats and sheep to clean off then we'll burn the stripped branches once they dry out. That white glob in the back is a pile of trash that I gathered to be picked up and thrown away. There is so much trash all along the trail, a lot of it blows in from the subdivision (on the left side of the entire length of our property). Sage was excited to start building himself a debris hut as we worked.

Turning around and looking the other way, you can see the wall of Honeysuckle we’ll be facing in the next day of hacking. The greenery on the right is Honeysuckle that has been cut down and ready to be cleared out. We are mostly throwing it into the pasture at the moment for the goats and sheep to clean off then we’ll burn the stripped branches once they dry out. That white glob in the back is a pile of trash that I gathered to be picked up and thrown away. There is so much trash all along the trail, a lot of it blows in from the subdivision (on the left side of the entire length of our property). Sage was excited to start building himself a debris hut as we worked.

Before shot of what we're working with.

Before shot of what we’re working with.

Another before view.

Another before view. That’s the stream running through the center.

Lots of vines to hack our way through...there's a path in there somewhere...

Lots of vines to hack our way through…there’s a path in there somewhere…

Hey! There's one of our mama turkeys, setting on a clutch of eggs. She wasn't very happy to see us cutting down the brush around her, but we piled it back up to give her some privacy, she's one of the first critters in our habitat hedge row!

Hey! There’s one of our mama turkeys, setting on a clutch of eggs. She wasn’t very happy to see us cutting down the brush around her, but we piled it back up to give her some privacy, she’s one of the first critters in our habitat hedge row!

Finally, a bit more cleared away...

Finally, a bit more cleared away…

Phase Two – 2015/2016
Labeling medicinal and native plants – Native and medicinal plants will receive a plaque that gives common and botanical names, historical and present uses and status if an endangered plant. The trail head will also have brochures with maps and points of interest/information about the medicinal and edible uses of many of the plants for self guided tours. Eventually I hope to also post signs explaining the natural habitats that we are creating for the fauna as well.

Continue planting, including native trees and shrubs – We will continue to build up the natural flora each year, working to see which habitats within this location best suit the plants we are planting.

Phase Three – late 2015 and beyond
Hosting plant walks for adults and kids – It is my ultimate goal to give guided tours to the adults in the community as well as the children of the community to teach them awareness about growing native species, not spraying their own lawns and how to create their own native gardens, incorporating native at risk plants into their landscapes to help preserve our native plants.

Maintenance and continual planting – We’ll host work days for folks of the community to come out and assist with weeding out the invasives that are sure to return in the first few years of growing this garden and to help divide and spread the plants as they begin to grow.

*On United Plant Saver’s “At Risk” List
**On United Plant Saver’s “To Watch” List

Sources for Native and Endangered Medicinal Herbs:

Companion Plants

Horizon Herbs

Thyme Garden

Mountain Gardens

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