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Before consuming wild plants, contact your doctor to make sure it is safe, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.  Michael Moore’s books contain an excellent glossary of medical terms, as well as maps. )
 
 
# 19
 
Common Name: Buckwheat
Latin Name: Eriogonum ssp. ( do a search for Eriogonum on usda plant database, you will be amazed at how many.)
Family: Polygonaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERAL4 Arizona -Texas north to Wyoming – Nebraska (E. alatum)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERIN4 California to New Mexico and Colorado (E. inflatum)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERJA Arizona to Texas north to Wyoming and Kansas (E. jamesii)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERLA5 California – Oregon (E. latifolium)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERLO5 New Mexico -Kansas to the Mississippi + Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida (E. longifolium)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERMI4 Rocky Mountains and west (E. microthecum)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Common Name: Winged Buckwheat (Eriogonum alatum)
Appearance and Habitat: Sandy to gravelly flats and slopes mixed grasslands, saltbush, and sagebrush communities, oak, pinyon, and/or juniper, and montane conifer woodlands at elevations of 300 – 3100 meters.  South-western N. America-Nebraska to Texas, west to Colorado and California.  A perennial growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in). It is in flower from Jul to October. 
Edible Uses: Root – raw or dried for later use. Seed – ground into a powder and made into a mush.
Medicinal Uses: The plant has been used in the treatment of pain and also to make a lotion to treat rashes. A cold infusion of the root has been used to treat diarrhoea and bad coughs. It has also been used as a mouthwash for sore gums. The powdered root has been mixed with oil and used as a dressing on a baby’s sore navel. The Navajo (Diné) people consider the species to be a ‘life medicine’, using a mixture of shredded roots and water primarily to treat internal ailments. The species is used as a ceremonial medicine. The Zuni use it as an emetic for stomachaches.
 
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Common Name: Red Wild Buckwheat (E. atrorubens)
Appearance and Habitat: Southern N. America – New Mexico to Mexico.  Sandy to loamy flats and slopes mixed grassland communities, oak an montane conifer woodlands at elevations of 1800 to 2,000 meters.  A perennial  growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from Jul to October.
Edible Uses: Root – chewed
Medicinal Uses: The root is used medicinally in Mexico as a treatment for toothache
 
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Common Name: Crispleaf Buckwheat  (E. corymbosum)
Appearance and Habitat: Sandy to gravelly or clayey flats, washes, slopes, outcrops, and cliffs, saltbrush, blackbrush, and sagebrush communities, pinyon-juniper and motane conifer woodlands 1200 – 2700 meters.  Western N. America – Nebraska and Kansas to New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.  An evergreen shrub growing to 0.3 m (1ft) at a slow rate.  It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August.
Edible Uses: Leaves and stems – cooked. The leaves can be boiled, mixed with water and cornmeal and baked into a bread. The stems are boiled, pressed into cakes then dried and eaten with salt.
Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the leaves, taken three times a day, is a remedy for headache. The var glutinosum was most probably used. This variety was also used as a treatment for TB, or at least to treat coughs
 
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Common Name: Desert Trumpet, American Pipeweed (1)  
Native American Name: Babagoumm (Moapa Paiutes); Tosanan bawkip (Death Valley Shoshone) (2)
(E. inflatum) (Side Note: these grow throughout S. Nevada and my mother called them “bottle stoppers”.)
Appearance and Habitat: Sandy gravelly washes, flats, and slopes, mixed grasslands, saltbrush, creosote bush (Chaparrel), mesquite, and sagebrush communities, pinyon and/or juniper woodlands at elevations of 30 to 1800 meters.  Southwestern N. America – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, N. Mexico, Utah, and Mexico.  A perennial  growing to 0.6 m (2ft).  It is in flower from Aug to October. (3)
Edible Uses: Young leaves and stems – raw or cooked]. Tender. Eaten before flowering. Most commonly harvested just after emerging through the ground in spring. Seed – pounded into a powder and eaten dry or mixed with water (4)
Medicinal Uses: The plant is used as a lotion for bear and dog bites. (5)
Other Uses: Native Americans used the wide stem as a Medicine pipe.  They put very small pinch of Tobacco in the wide part and smoked it (6)
Foot Notes: (1, 3, 4, 5)
Foot Notes: (2, 6)  Indian Uses of Native American Plants by Edith Van Allen Murphy, page 62, Publisher Meyerbooks, copyright 1990, ISBN # 0-916638-15-4
 
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Common Name: Antelope Sage (E. jamesii)
Appearance and Habitat: Sandy to gravelly or infrequently rocky flats and slopes, blackbrush, creosote bush, mesquite, and sagebrush communities and montane woodlands 1300 – 2900 meters.  Southwestern N. America – Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.  It is a perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).  It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from Aug to September.
Edible Uses: None Known
Medicinal Uses: Some native North American Indian tribes used this plant as a contraceptive. The women would drink one cup of a decoction of the root during menstruation. A decoction of the whole plant has been drunk to ease the pain of childbirth. The root has been chewed as a cardiac medicine and as a treatment for stomach aches. An infusion of the roots has been used to treat despondency. The infusion has also been used as a wash for sore eyes. The plant has been chewed to sweeten the saliva  http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Eriogonum+jamesii
 
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Common Name: Seaside Buckwheat ( E. latifolium)
Appearance and Habitat: Sandy coastal flats, slopes, bluffs, and mesas, coastal scrub and grassland communities, from sea level to 80 meters, and ocasionally to 200 meters.  South-western N. America – California and Oregon.  A perennial  growing to 0.6 m (2ft).  It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from Aug to September.
Edible Uses: Young stems – raw. Tender. Eaten by children in early summer
Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the root, stalk and leaves has been used in the treatment of headaches, stomach aches, coughs and colds. A decoction of the roots has been used as a wash for sore eyes
 
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Common Name: Longleaf Buckwheat (E. longilfolium)

Appearance and Habitat: Rocky or sandy open woods and glades.  Sandy soils and calcareous soils and calcareous clays in Texas.  Southern N. America – southern Missouri to Texas.  A perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from Jun to October.
Edible Uses: Root. No further details are given
Medicinal Uses: An infusion of the root has been used to treat stomach disorders
 
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Common Name: Slender Buckwheat (E. microthecum)
Appearance and Habitat: Sandy deserts to lower montane slopes, especially with sagebrush.  South-western N. America – Nebraska to Washington, south to New Mexico and California.  It is a perennial an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August.
Edible Uses: A tea is made from the plant
Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the roots or tops has been used in the treatment of coughs caused by TB. A decoction of the stems and leaves has been used to treat bladder problems. It has also been used externally in hot compresses or as a wash for lameness and rheumatism
 
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Common Name: Sulphur Flower Buckwheat
Native American Name : Naka- donup (1)
Latin Name: Eriogonum embellatum
Range:http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERUM (main database) all states west of the Rocky Mountains, excuding New Mexico
Appearance and Habitat: This is an exceedingly variable species with many different varieties & subspecies. Plant height varies from 3 in. to 3 ft., but all plants make loose mats of leaves, often green above and gray-woolly beneath. Leaves at base, and on long, erect stalks bloom tiny, yellow or cream flowers in balls at ends of branches of an umbel-like cluster. Flower clusters occur on 6-9 in. stems. The cream to sulfur-yellow, tubular flowers fade to orange or red. Sulphur Buckwheat is highly variable, and this adds to the difficulties of identification in a complex group of similar western species.  Dry mountain slopes and ridges in gravelly soils.  Bloom color is white or yellow.(2)
Medicinal Uses: A tea was made from the roots and taken for a cold (3)
Foot Notes: (1, 3)  Indian Uses of Native American Plants by Edith Van Allen Murphy, page 37, Publisher Meyerbooks, copyright 1990, ISBN # 0-916638-15-4
Foot Notes: (2)

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(On to Michael Moore)
Common Names: Wild Buckwheat, Antelope Sage, Colita de Raton, Sulphur Flower, Skeleton Weed
Appearance and Habitat: Buckwheats are an immense species, particularly in California, Nevada, and Arizona.  Munz lists 104 species in California alone.  They are not related to cultivated Buckwheat.  Most Buckwheats have rosettes of basal leaves, long skinny flower stalks that are topped with flowers, most have puffs of flowers.  The most common colors for the flowers are white, pink, and yellow.  The most common species are E. deflexum, E. fasciculatum, E. parviflorum, E. racemosum, and E. wrightii. 
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERDE6 California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico (main database)
 
 
 
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERRA3 Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado  Photo and more information  http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ERRA3
 
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERWR California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (also a main database)
 
Many species are woolly or silvery in appearance.  As they age, they become reddish brown in the flowers, basal leaves, and stems.  Buckwheat Bush grows around the edges of terrain, rarely on peaks, and seldom in rich valleys.  They prefer growing in gravel, along roadsides.  They are usually found in the deserts of the southwest.
Medicinal Uses: Most information on using Wild Buckwheat comes to us from Native Americans and Mexican uses.  The plants dry well, placing them in a paper bag in the shade.  This is basically covering all species.  They are water soluble and no signs of toxic effects.  The tea from the plant is a reliable eyewash, and internally for shrinking inflamed membranes.  The flowers are  diuretic, and although astringent to the bladder, they are not irritating to the kidneys.  The tea is also useful for pre-menstrual water retention that happens in the later stages of pregnancy.  The mild astringency makes it useful for soar throats as a gargle.  It is also helpful with nauseous headaches that localize in the forehead.
 
Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, pages 18-20, Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, copyright 1989, ISBN # 0-80913-182-1    
 
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# 18
 
Common Name: Gound Nut
Latin Name: Apios  americana, A priceana  
Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=APIOS Rocky mountains eastward to the Atlantic Coast.  This is the main database.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=APPR Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee. Mississippi, Alabama.   
 
Appearance and Habitat: Usually found in low damp bottomland or riparian woods and thickets, it is slso often found around ancient Indian campsites.  N. America Pennsylvania (The area is a lot bigger).  A perennial growing to 1.2 m (4ft). It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf 11-Apr It is in flower from Jun to September.
Edible Uses:
Tuber – raw or cooked. A delicious flavour somewhat like roasted sweet potatoes, it always receives very high marks in taste trials with us. The tuber can also be dried and ground into a powder then used as a thickening in soups etc or can be added to cereal flours when making bread. Tubers contain 17% crude protein, this is more than 3 times that found in potatoes. The tubers can be harvested in their first year but they take 2 – 3 years to become a sizeable crop. They can be harvested at any time of the year but are at their best in the autumn. The tubers can also be harvested in the autumn and will store until at least the spring. Yields of 2.3 kilos of tubers per plant have been achieved. Seed – cooked. Rather small and not produced very freely, they are used like peas and bean. A good source of protein, they can be ground into a powder and added to cereals when making bread etc. Young seedpods (complete nutritional  data at the website)
Medicinal Uses: The tubers were used in folk remedies for that cancerous condition known as “Proud Flesh” in New England. Nuts were boiled and made into a plaster, “For to eat out the proud flesh they (the Indians) take a kind of earth nut boyled and stamped
 
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Common Name: Traveler’s Delight (A. priceana)
Appearance and Habitat: Woods and thickets- North America – Kentucky and Tennessee.  A perennial growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
Edible Uses: Tuber – raw or cooked. It has a delicious flavour somewhat like sweet potatoes when roasted. The tuber can also be dried and ground into a powder. The tuber is solitary, unlike other members of this genus that produce strings of tubers. The tuber can be 15cm thick and somewhat longer.
Medicinal Uses: None Known
 
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# 17
 
Common Name: Tobacco, Coyote Tobacco, Tree Tobacco, Wild Tobacco,
Latin Name: NIcotiana glauca, N. attenuata , N. rustica, Family: Solanaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NIGL California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Hawaii (N. glauca)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NIAT states west of the Rocky Mountains + Texas (N. attenuata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NIRU Oregon, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, N. and S. Carolina,Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire. (N. rustic)
 
 
 
 
Common Name: Tree Tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)
Appearance and Habitat: S. America, Bolivia, naturalized in the Mediterranean. An evergreen shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft). It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October.
Warnings: All parts of the plant are poisonouis.
Edible Uses: The leaves have been made into a drink. Some care should be exercised here. The tea will contain nicotine and this can be toxic to the body.
Medicinal Uses: A poultice of the leaves can be applied to cuts, bruises, swellings and other wounds. The plant has been used as a poultice for removing the pus from scrofulous sores or boils. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to inflamed throat glands. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a steam bath in the treatment of rheumatism
 
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Common Name: Wild Tobacco, Aztec Tobacco  (N. rustica)
Appearance and Habitat: The original habitat is obscure.  Plants are naturalzized in Eastern N. America where they grow in wast places, open areas etc. An annual  growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September.
Warnings: (Same as above)
Edible Uses: None Known
Medicinal Uses: All parts of the plant contain nicotine which is a strong narcotic. The leaves are antispasmodic, cathartic, emetic, narcotic and sedative. They are used externally as a poultice and a wash in the treatment of rheumatic swelling, skin diseases and scorpion stings
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Note: even though Native Americans used this Tobacco remember they smoked it in pipes and didn’t inhale.  You could probably look up curing Tobacco, but it  is a process that takes several months.  It has to age and get the sugars out of it, or you might get lung cancer rather quickly.)
 
(PFAF does not list N. attenuata; Michael Moore does not list N. rustica but lists others species. )
 
Common Name: Coyote Tobacco, Punche, Tree Tobacco,  Indian Tobacco (1)
Native American Names: (Green Tobacco)- pwui-bamo in Nevada;  Bohombe (if mixed with cured Tobacco near Beatty, Nevada.)  (2)
Appearance and Habitat: The only perennial Tobacco in out area is N. glauca, Tree Tobacco.  It is a long scraggly bush from 4 to 15 feet tall.  It has very unkept branches.  Both the branches, stems, and leaves are smooth.  It’s basal leaves are large, oval, and bluish green with long leaf stems.   The stems are alternate on small branches. The flowers are pale yellow and tubular as all Tobacco is.    The flower flares out at the end of the tube to form 5 tiny lobes.  The flowers are about an inch in length with a slight twist below the corolla.  When the flowers mature to form seeds that are brown capsules. It can be found from San Diego to Santa Cruz and then eastwards to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.   Look for it in dry stream beds below 4,000 feet.  
N. attenuata are the most common and are annuals or short lived perennials if the climate doesn’t get to cold.  The plants are usually somewhere between one and a half feet tall to four feet.   The plants are densely covered with sticky hairs and the overall appearance of the plants is brownish and dirty from the dust that collects on the sticky hairs.  They are also ill smelling.  The leaves are long stemmed, with basal leaves oval while the upper leaves are lanceolate.  The flowers are white to light green tubular and somewhere between one to two inches in length, and once again flaring out to a five lobed corolla.  The seed capsules are green to brownish and very sticky.
Two other species are N. trigonophylla/N. obustifolia and N. bigelovii.   
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NIOBO California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland 
 
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NIQUB Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts  
 
Both of these species are predominately found in the higher deserts.  With the exception of N. glauca, most plants have a triangular silhouette with large basal leaves that become smaller as they extent towards the flowers.  N. attenuata, N. trigonophylla, and N. bigelovii.  These species are mainly found in California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and West Texas in meadows, flats, flood plains, dry steam beds, and sandy washes from sea level to 7,000 feet.  The plants are usually separate from other plants in the area, like having their own colony. (3)
Medicinal Uses: Tobacco is for external use for either a analgesic poultice or  tea for bath water.  For the poultice crush the plant laying it between two moist hot towels and use it for sore muscles, sunburn, sore joints, and  all other external pains including hemrhoids.  For the bath, boil a half cup of the plant in a quart of  water for twenty minutes; strain and add to bath water.  If you start to get light headed, immediately get out of the bath water and dry yourself off.  If you use N. attenuata it will probably be a short bath, as that type of plant has high levels of alkaloids.  (4)  At Pyramid Lake (Nevada) the Paiutes would use the whole plant to smoke but would add Indian Balsam chips to rid themselves of a cold.  (5)
Other Uses: Smoking Tobacco was in custom among Native  Americans  even before Lewis and Clark made their trek to the northwest.  They smoked a native mixture called kinni-kinnick.  Ceremonial smoking was the same with all Indians, blowing the smoke to the four cardinal points, to the sun, and to the earth.  Before any important deed the pipe was smoked, for declaring war, or ratification of peace.  The Moapa Paiutes would mix tobacco with creosote mistletoe in a dry form.   In Owyhee (Nevada) they dried the whole plant,  but first striped slender leaves for smoking.  At Battle Mountain (Nevada) Shoshone use the whole plant including the seeds for pipe Tobacco.  Kini-Kinnick was Tobacco with leaves from the following, Red dogwood “Lotzanee”, Bear Berry “Larb”, or “A Luck” (Warm Springs, Ore) and “Big Larb” or “O-makse-ka-ka-sin” when the Black Feet added Sandwort. (6)    The basal leaves of our native Tobacco can be aged for smoking.  The aging breaks down the sugars that is perhaps the most carcinogenic aspect of commercial Tobacco.  Pick large healthy bottom  leaves in spring and dry in full sun or indoors, just hang them until they are dry.  (Four to five days in the Sun or two to three months if hung indoors)  For mildness,  place the dried leaves on a table and spray them down with warm water until they are rubbery and saturated.  Next lay them along a length of cheese cloth and roll them up with the cloth only on the outsides, spraying them with water as they start to dry out.   Tie them firmly with twine or rubber bands and allow them to ferment for another month.   Instead of spraying them with water, you can also use rum or whiskey, just nothing that will add more sugars.  After a month of fermenting, un-roll the cloth and using a razor blade or sharp knife cut them to the desired thickness.  Then bag it and keep it moist.  N. attenuata has a high nicotine content is makes a strong Tobacco, while N. trigonopylla makes a very mild Tobacco.  The other plants are in the middle. 
Tobacco can also be used as an insecticide, but once again the wild Tobaccos are best to use.  Tobacco, especially commercial might have mosaic virus in it where wild Tobacco doesn’t have it.  The mosaic virus can attack tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers (I would assume eggplant as they are all in the same family).  For spraying aphids and other leaf suckers, steep one cup of chopped plant in a quart of boiling water for 30 minutes, add a tablespoon of baking soda or liquid detergent, let cool and spray on your vegetable garden. (7)  
 
Foot Notes: (1, 3, 4, 7) Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore, 2nd Edition, pages 246-250, Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, copyright 2003, ISBN # 978-0-89013-454-2
Foot Notes:  ( 2, 5, 6)  Indian Uses of Native American Plants by Edith Van Allen Murphy, pages 61-62 , Publisher Meyerbooks, copyright 1990, ISBN # 0-916638-15-4
 
reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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