Practices and Musings on the Respectful Gathering of Wild Plants

After yesterday’s post, I wanted to share some of my personal practices and musings on respectful gathering of wild plants. I’m by no means fully realized in this regard; I believe learning how to tend and care for and honor the other living beings on the planet will be a life-long learning experience. However, because of the response to yesterday’s post (and also because I’m so wordy and ran out of room!) I wanted to dedicate a full post to this topic. Many of these practices have been introduced by wonderful herbalists & teachers I’ve encountered, including Thyme Herbal and Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book “Braiding Sweetgrass.”

In no particular order:

  1. For harvesting barks: collect from newly fallen branches or limbs, or clip small twigs & get bark from them. Peeling bark off the trunk is at the least stressful and at the most deadly to a tree

  2. Plants in the mint family (and I suspect others as well): clip the stem just above a new segment of two leaves—this is kind of like dead-heading flowers and the plant will sprout new shoots from that point. Mints are usually pretty enthusiastic growers, so it may not be a concern!

  3. In the wild, always harvest from a large patch // don’t take the only plants you see // don’t take the first and don’t take the last // think about the patch thriving: will it survive/thrive after your harvest

  4. Roses: collect only the petals, leaving the center untouched as that will still ripen into the fruit (rose hip)

  5. Berries: leave some for the birds and creatures

  6. Flowers: leave some for the bees & pollinators ✨ if you can, harvest from plants that have new buds waiting to peep out

  7. Sap/resin: pine resin/sap is the tree trying to heal itself from “scars” or damage... I never scrape off the full layer, leaving the trees bare “skin” exposed. I love pine resin harvesting after a wind storm... the resin is pouring out in abundance!

  8. Make sure the plant isn’t endangered or at-risk. United Plant Savers is a great resource for this!

  9. Bring an offering or a gift for the patch you harvest from... this could be something your own hands made, a song, or just the gift of full presence, gratitude & love when you harvest

  10. I believe that ultimately, gathering plants is a natural, good relationship. For a long time I felt uneasy about gathering. But just the act itself brings you closer to nature, opening your eyes to how codependent and interconnected we are. There probably always will be room for improvement, but if you enter into gathering with an open mind and an open heart, I believe only good will come from it

And finally, do be safe and make sure that you are 100% positive on your plant ID. There are many safe edible and medicinal plants, many plants that should only be used with great caution and wisdom, and some plants that are quite powerfully dangerous. But also remember that humans have been relying safely on wild harvesting since the beginning of time. There are many great resources for plant ID out there!

Laisser un commentaire

Veuillez noter que les commentaires doivent être approuvés avant d'être publiés