Saturday, April 5, 2014

Greeting the Wild Plants of Spring

Earlier this week we had the opportunity to enjoy the lovely Pacific Northwest springtime weather on a walk by the river. In other words, we ran around by the river and got rained on. At least it was a gentle rain.

When we're out walking, I like to play plant identification games with Chobie like:
  • pointing to a plant and asking "What plant is this?"
  • asking him to go find a certain plant, "Go find sword fern!"
  • asking him to go touch a certain number of plants
  • showing him a new plant and then asking him to find another one

While we were out we had the opportunity to see lots of plants, now that spring is in full swing.

salmon berry leafing out
Salmon berry is easy to identify by the butterfly shape of the two top leaves as shown here.

Oregon grape in flower
Oregon grape root is a powerful medicinal that benefits the liver and contains some of the same antimicrobial compounds found in goldenseal. Goldenseal is a threatened species, so Oregon grape can be a viable alternative in many circumstances.

 Pacific bleeding heart

purple dead nettle

sword fern fiddle heads

 banana slug.
Not actually a plant, obviously, but a fun friend to spot nonetheless. These guys' claim to fame is that they have a mild analgesic effect. Licking a banana slug will (temporarily) make your tongue numb.

It was also sweet to just be out by the river.

 Do you take your kids out on plant ID walks? I would love to hear about it in the comments. If you have posts showing the beautiful springtime plant life in your area I would love to see those too!

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  1. Yes, we do nature walks with the kiddos regularly too. We also like to do animal track id and bird id while we're walking. Thanks for stopping by our blog Walking in High Cotton!

  2. I agree, animal and bird ID are great skills for kids to learn. I admit I'm not as good with birds, it's a skill I need to work on!