Practical Uses of Northwest Native Plants
Edible, Household, Medicinal, Personal Care
Ceanothus cuneatus (Buckbrush): Quietly beautifying a corner of the landscape, who would guess this lovely northwest native shrub is enriching the soil for itself and all those in the immediate vicinity. All the shrubs in this family offer their natural ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Learn how helpful this can be on the Ceanothus page.
Most of the ways to use northwest native plants that we list on these
pages have been handed down from Native Peoples who were the first to discover which plants could
be used for which purposes. They shared what they had learned with early
settlers, and in fact still hold the keys to bringing the beneficial
qualities of native trees, shrubs and perennials into our lives. Some
plants have historically been used in day-to-day living, some have been
held sacred for ceremonial values. Always, the Original People have been
careful to preserve the wellspring of each plant that is used so their
origins are not depleted. We must share this care for our earth.
It must be understood that, in today's large populations, plants to be harvested should be grown for that purpose. Plants should not be gathered in the wild. Those wild plants are for the enjoyment of us all. Plants we take for our own uses should be grown and nurtured, as are other crops.
When you choose a site and prepare the planting place for your northwest native huckleberry or your Salmonberry, consider how delightful it will be to pick those berries and put them on your cereal in the morning or bake them in your pie. Tend them carefully and teach your children to enjoy them as well. What a luxurious feeling to pick a few Northwest Native strawberries on an early summer afternoon right in your own garden!