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1899 and After

Wild Plants and Berries

   

PincherriesNative fruits supplement local diets of fish and meat. There are at least 19 fruit-bearing shrubs, trees and plants in the northern regions of Canada. Like all plants responding to favorable micro-climates, fruit bearing species tend to cluster in regions best suited to their growth. Fruit varieties plentiful in the northern bush include high-bush cranberry, low bush cranberry, bog cranberry (the Christmas type), pincherry, blueberry,  chokecherry, raspberry and rosehip. Less plentiful varieties are saskatoon, strawberry and gooseberry. Blueberries and bog cranberries are favorites. Kinnikinnick berries are are plentiful but not widely used as food. They support local bird populations, however, as do all the fruits. High-bush cranberry and rosehip berries remain on the plant thought the winter if not taken by birds. They are good to eat in the coldest days of winter. Some species, including black and red currants and twisted stalk, are comparatively rare. In general, fruit availability in a given year depends to a great extent on whether the trees, shrubs or plants were frozen during the spring flowering period.

Wild mintMany varieties of plants are also used to make drinks - native teas. Wild mint is liked by most people. Mint is often found on the banks of a beaver dam. It can be dried and preserved for later use or put freshly picked into hot water to make tea. Either way it is a refreshing hot drink. Similar drinks can also be make from kinnikinnick and a number muskeg plants.

Reprinted from Bush Land People with the permission of the author. Copyright Terry Garvin, 1992-2002.

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