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Cholla Flower Buds, Singing to Plants and Planting Songs.


Cylindropuntia imbricata

Family: Cactaceae

The Cholla cactus used to be considered in the same genus as the Prickly Pear cactus but now is in its own genus.

There are different types of cholla but I harvested Cholla buds from the fuschia flowered cholla growing all around where I live.


It is commonly called cane cholla.

Cholla grows primarily in the Southwest U.S. it has been naturalized in parts of Australia, where it is known as Devil cane.

Cholla flower buds are high in soluble fiber and have more calcium in two tablespoons than a glass of milk. Many people are lactose intolerant or have digestive issues with dairy or allergies. So plant sources of calcium make a lot of sense!

Cholla flower buds are an excellent plant source of calcium.


And here is a bit more health focus about Cholla flower buds which are high in soluble fiber as well as calcium. Also a good amount of iron. Protein is 6 grams per serving!


Soluble fiber….what is it good for?

“… Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, blueberries.” ………
…….And Cholla Flower Buds!

Cholla flower buds are eaten for taste but also to stave off osteoporosis and help with diabetes and blood sugar management.

Go Cholla!

I admit there have been times I have looked out at vast fields of Cholla growing with wonderment. But, also a sense of overwhelm. The desert is gorgeous but tough to live in. Now I feel more connected to Cholla. Not only as a prolific and adapted cactus but as an amazing food source. With all your thorns and abilities to thrive in the high desert, I presently call home… you beautify my life with your flowers, thorns and silouhette against blue skies and storms, Cholla.


You nourish me.
You drew me near.
With respect and tongs 🙂
I need songs…
I gathered from your spiney stems.

6 Cholla flower buds to add green bounty to my beans.

In my tanktop and cutoff jeans.

Sweat pouring from my forehead. I took a break from domestic tasks, and various mind chatter.

You nourish me.
Cholla, called me near.
And the ants…
Ants thrive here too.
And were called by Cholla to survive, thrive.

I am just one human surrounded by dozens of Cholla and countless ants swarming for nectar.

Grateful for the green I have for my supper


More meanderings than poetry but I think you know what I mean.



Twice today, I have heard of the importance of singing to plants. And, for the tradition, of so many traditional peoples of the world, who sing to plants… when growing them, foraging, connecting with, and making plant medicine. 🍃🎵

Cholla flower buds are a traditional food of many Pueblo peoples.

Buckthorn Cholla grows near the Tohono O’odham people although most if not all cholla flower buds are said to be edible.


The Hopi people, the Tohono O’odham, still gather Ciolum, Cholla flower buds, for a delicious and health giving food source.

The next link features a woman singing to Ciolim. She talks about coyote. How coyote will be upset. Because she got up early to harvest the wonderful Ciolim.

Or maybe someone sleeps late. Coyote is happy to get the Ciolim early in the morning.

Ciolim helps balance blood sugar.

The woman in the video says that leaving traditional foods behind has caused health problems. Returning with respect to these foods can help restore health balance. And she is one of many, who each year, respect and forage Ciolim.

It is often boiled after removing spines by rubbing against metal screens or colanders. I burned the cactus spines and fine sharp hairs, called glochids, off with my small stove. Then I boiled the buds for 15 minutes. They do taste a bit like asparagus. They are Okra like. Though, I personally like them better.

Of course, fried… could be really yummy too. With a dipping sauce. Maybe some Sumac spice in the batter?

Local foods and spices. Fine dining foraging style!

Here is a recipe I found that is simple and looks good.

Be sure to de-spine the cactus. Both the longer spines and barely visible glochid spines. I burned mine off, then boiled the buds for 15 minutes.

-De-spine Cholla flower buds and/or new growth stem joints.
-Make a batter of Cornmeal, whole wheat flour or other flour, salt & pepper, spices
-Roll pieces in batter and fry in oil

There are still a lot of cholla buds near me. I would like to try this recipe.

Also, you can de-spine them, boil for 15 minutes then dry/dehydrate them for future use.

My father, when he came to visit me, cut a stem of Cholla and replanted it when he got home. They re-plant really easily. Just let the stem piece scar over for a few days. Then stick it in soil. It should take to re-planting easily.

Would you like to grow your own Cholla from seed? Check out this great site. And, you can buy a jar of Cholla buds too!


Songs to Ciolim!

Also a wonderful site above of empowerment and community for the Tohono O’odham.

Also today I heard this podcast from Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosemary Gladstar talks about many wonderful things including connecting to plants through song.

And listen to her community herbal song ❤

Funny, I was so happy in my garden this morning, I was singing to my plants, before I learned of these songs and traditions today.

Here is some fencing we made by dragging branches of dead cholla over to protect our container garden.


A beautiful flute song.
A Hopi Corn Planting Song based on traditional music.
Played and recorded by Eddy Herier.



The dead cholla makes a beautiful wood skeleton which is often used as a walking cane or ceremonially, and religious use. Also in art.

Here is the remnant of some of that beautiful cholla skeketon.



Thankyou Cholla for making my skeleton strong.



Sources include posted sites and:

Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest. by Telena Dull,
University of Texas Press. Austin, 1987.

Three Leaf Sumac. A Refreshing Drink. A Global Spice and Herbal Remedy!




Sumac grows all over the world and is used as a spice, food, a tea and herbal medicine.

It grows in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

It also can be landscaped into many environments.

It has many uses. Check out this site!

Sumac a Global food!

Make a delicious, popular Middle Eastern spice using ground sumac berries. Why not forage or garden your own. Dry the berries then grind for a spice!

This wonderful spice mixture is called Za’atar.

Get the recipe here!

Za’atar spice blend recipe!

Three Leaf Sumac
Rhus trilobata

Family: Anacardiaceae
Same family as cashews and mangoes!

Common Names: Three Leaf Sumac,
Basketbush, Sumac, Lemonade-bush

Foothills, canyons, slopes, usually dry rocky soil, usually on limestone outcrops.

Sunny locations, perhaps dappled shade. Not frost tender. Drought resistant, often used in landscaping.

The up to 6 foot high, rounded shrub, multi branched …when in new growth is supple and more upright when it grows.


When dried these stalks made good strong arrows for Pueblo peoples.

The leaves come in threes with small yellow flowers emerging before the leaves come out.

The fruit when it emerges is like a berry. Starting greenish tan and become orange-red to red in color, with sticky glandular hairs that give the fruit a fuzzy appearance.

The red fuzzy berries make a wonderful lemonade like beverage.
The berries are soaked in cold or hot (not boiling hot) to make a beverage. A little honey or sweetener can be nice since it is very sour. I liked it unsweetened myself. But, however you prepare it, it is cooling and refreshing on a hot day, like a lemonade or prickly pear fruit beverage.

Some people like to call this lemony, sumac drink Rhusade.

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit is Cooling

Or Rhusade is soothing and nourishing, as a hot beverage, on a winter day as a hot tea.

Per serving, steep a rounded tablespoon of the fresh or dried berries until it meets your fancy.

Don’t bring water to boiling as this brings out the tannins and makes it too astringent as a beverage.

The Rhus trilobata berries can also be added to salads, sandwiches, perhaps sauerkraut?
Throw in some juniper berries into your sauerkraut too. They are traditional.
Be inventive and avoid boiling the berries is my only suggestion.

In Michael Moore’s, Medicinal Plants of the Canyon West., he suggests and indicates 3 leaf Sumac’s uses:

Gather leaves when green.
Gather the berries when they are fully red in summer also when leaves are green or a bit red.

The leaves turn a splendid red in fall. The tree is deciduous.


The dried leaves last a year. The dried berries last 2-3 years.

The leaves can be used in powdered form and a quick salve made with castorlatum from castor oil. It has a petroleum jelly like consistency yet not petroleum based, a plus! Or if your coconut oil is still solid at room temperature try that… or the same with ghee.

Stir 1 part powdered leaves into 2 parts castorlatum gel. *


For a glycerine tincture, macerate 1 part by weight of powdered leaves in 5 parts by volume of a half water & half glycerine menstruum for the tincture. Leave for four weeks. Then shake and strain*

Moore states that the powdered leaves, quick salve and glycerine tinctures are excellent for mucosal-epithelial sores. Such as: lips, mouth membranes, genitals, and nostril membranes. The actions are to soothe and shrink inflamed tissues and to mildly disinfect.

Powdered leaves are very soothing to mouth sores on nursing infants.

*Preparation method is important here, such as with quick salve method and glycerine tincture. Heating and alcohol tincture could pull out too many tannins.


Sumac is originally an Arabic word.
And Rhus, the Genus name, is derived from a Greek word meaning to flow. So named due to its properties in stopping flow of blood, this case with hemorrhages. It is hemostatic. Proper methods and use are critical.


3 Leaf Sumac looks similar to POISON OAK!

Poison Oak is not actually an oak species. It is in the Sumac family too… Anacardiaceae

The leaves of both are lobed.

The next picture is of Poison Oak.
Toxicodendron diversilobum
It also turns red in the fall.


image: wiki commons

Whereas, 3 Leaf Sumac has a velvety texture on the TOPSIDE as well as underneath.

Poison Oak is fuzzy UNDERNEATH the leaf only, shiny on top..

Also, poison oak has non fuzzy whitish-green berries.

Poison oak can cause severe contact dermatitis and further injury if trees are burned and smoke is inhaled.


Three Leaf Sumac



Berries not ripe yet

Plants for a Future/ 3 Leaf Sumac

Research your local species of Sumac. The berries are the easiest way to determine if it is safe. The safe species have red fuzzy berries like the Rhus trilobata here.

3 Leaf Sumac


3 Leaf Sumac berries makes a wonderful lemony drink!

When I lived on the East Coast I enjoyed making a lemony tea from the Staghorn Sumac. I was in my early twenties then and felt a little bit leery about Sumac. I grew up with caution about Poison Sumac that grew in the swamps. And New England has its fair share of swampy areas in the woods.

One season, I and others, worked as Interpreters, in beige uniform, alongside coworkers of many different Native American backgrounds, including Wampanoag. I am grateful to my friends who taught me so much about Wampanoag customs and culture. Including the use of local plants, such as Staghorn Sumac berries. I even filled in a few times and gave guided nature trail talks, pointing out useful and edible plants. It is fun to piece together these experiences since the plant world is an everyday ally to me now.

A Wampanoag perspective on history and Thanksgiving.


Rhus typhina…Staghorn sumac


staghorn sumac: wiki commons

Further Herbal medicinal, food and other traditional, global uses of edible/medicinal Sumac, including Native American… just some of the info I found!

Please Note:
Learn to identify the safe Sumacs in your area. This means positively identifying possible poisinous look alikes, in the same family, such as Poison Sumac, Poison Oak, and Poison Ivy.

It brings that old song to mind….maybe I can find it on youtube.

Here it is!

The Coasters. Poison Ivy 🌿


Edible/Medicinal Sumac is: astringent, antipruritic, analgesic, contraceptive (for males,) deoderant, diuretic, emetic, hemostatic, odontalgic, oxytoxic

-tanning leather, dyeing wool, etc.
*-Dyeing hair black/dark…a decoction of boiled leaves (I want to try!….also Globe mallow decoction makes for a fine dark rinse for hair.)
-Added to meat helps deter stomach upset (bacteria on meat?)
-Leaves made into poultice with vinegar or honey stops the spread of gangrene
-Seeds pounded and mixed with honey help with hemorrhoids
-The gummy sap when applied to a tooth eases pain
-The leaf and root helps a woman expel the placenta (there is a description and method of preparation in book cited below.)
-helps stop internal bleeding
-helps with dropsy
-Helps with diseased gums
-Helps with freezing/frostbite or burns
-helpful with some venereal disease with application
-leaf added to tobacco mixes
-sumac helps with: dysentery, fevers, rhematism, dysuria, diahrrea, skin ulcers
-Seeds make oil for lighting or tallow like oil can be made into a candle.
-Decoction of bark and berries for sore throat
-aids in female urinary incontinence
-vermifuge in mixture with other herbs
-leaves rubbed on your skin make for a Bug and Snake repellant
-Root used as deoderant and buds used as perfume

Sumac species may vary in given properties and effects.

natural hair dyes including fun colors!

Will keep you posted, I am curious myself how to use 3 Leaf Sumac leaves as a darkening hair rinse.

I made a boiled decoction of fresh leaves, then added apple cider vinegar with success. My hair became a darker tinted shade. 👧

Perhaps dried, powdered leaves made into a paste would further darken my hair. But, I like it!


Haha my gardening hands! While I wait for my hair rinse to finish!


Above, Globe Mallow is used as a traditional dark coloring for hair.

I also want to try black walnut hulls and garden sage… known to darken hair and garden sage is good at covering grey.

The 3 Leaf Sumac branches are used to make basketry and dyes for decorations on baskets too.

Jemez Pueblo people still use Sumac branches in their basketry.


This post is mainly a description of 3 leaf sumac…Rhus trilobata.

Only the red, fuzzy berries of Sumacs are edible. Some species may cause contact dermatitis and Poison Sumac should be avoided! It is not included in Sumac’s healing effects. And it is highly toxic!

Here is a botanical sketch of Poison Sumac.
Note the similarity to other Sumacs and also note the whitish berries. The berries are green in spring and not fuzzy. A strong distinguishing feature from the fuzzy red berries of the edible sumacs!

Toxicodendron vernix
formerly classified as Rhus Genus


image from PFAF and Wiki Commons







In addition to posted links:

PFAF Rhus trilobata

Use of Plants. For the Past 500 Charlotte Erichsen-Brown, Breezy Creeks Press. Ontario. Canada, 1979.

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province. by Dunmire & Tierney, Museum of New Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM, 1995.

Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West. by Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM, 1989.

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. by Nicholas Culpeper, W. Foulsham & CO., London, England.


Tincture Making Exploratorium! Herbal Tincture Apothecary.

Purple Aster
Dieteria bigelovii
Verbascum thapsus
Grindelia aphanactis



The Simpler’s method using these 3 wildcrafted herbs and 40% brandy are what I am starting with in my tincture making exploratorium!

I am very excited about this as I can see and feel that this will be lifelong endeavor of herbal tincture making! 🙂

Simpler’s Method

I am going to try the Simpler’s method with 80 proof Brandy! (40% alcohol)

excellent clear guide!

The above link by Annie’s Remedy describes Herbal Extracts in good detail. I have summed up here:

Herbal tinctures are herbs- whose healing, vital properties are extracted using either: alcohol, glycerin or vinegar.

These agents act as a solvent and this solvent is called a Menstruum.


Alcohol is often used because it can result in a more potent tincture.

Alcohol acts as a solvent for many herbal compounds. And can more readily extract resins, waxes, fats, volatile oils, and other healing and assistive plant compounds, etc.

Water would then be necessary to extract water soluble components of the herbs. (for ex, I think herbal infusions such as teas, here…)

Since 80 proof (40% spirits) also contains water, I do not have to add water to my Menstruum.

Of course, there is also debate, tradition and research about how much alcohol proof will work optimally, according to each herb.
With this specific remedy, I know I will come up with a safe healing tincture so will be flexible in observing and feeling its healing effects. And therefore my dosage with it. My feelings are to start with least dosage first and go from there.

Also, for adults or children, where taking an alcohol tincture is unwanted due to the alcohol… some people opt for glycerin or vinegar tinctures. (Not white vinegar!)

My herb teacher said that it is a myth that alcohol dispels in hot water. So, I am going with that and would offer a glycerine or vinegar tincture instead.

Also, many teas are very effective medicines as many plant constituents are water soluble.

So, an herbal tea, syrup, medicated ghee, or herbal paste mixed with honey would be of benefit in some cases. Other methods abound! There are many herbal methods of preparation and therapeutic value for each or a combination of methods.

safety guide on which herbs to use!

Also tinctures have certain properties and the alcohol produces certain effects by itself. Tinctures are not a good health strategy for all conditions. Please see this next site, it is useful!

When to use tinctures!

And, this is something I want to put more into my herbalism methods. Harvest and make preparations according to the phases of the moon!

lunar based

It is suggested to make your tincture on the new moon and strain it on the full moon. The moon exerts physical properties on the liquid and the herbs and this method makes for a stronger tincture!


New Moon

Image source:

wise woman herbalism

When using Everclear or 190 proof grain alcohol, it is necessary to add distilled water because it can burn the herbs. See site links above and below.

everclear and % alcohol in tinctures


Huge Mullein leaves from a gorgeous plant!

Ideally it is suggested to pick mullein from the first year growth’s basal leaves in spring.


Autumn basal leaves. A bit less vibrant.

I harvested the large, 2nd year growth leaves in autumn where the energy of the plant also went up the stalk to the flowers. (And roots) But there are still medicinal qualities in these leaves.


Second year Mullein plants

And, it is bi-annual so will die soon. I gratefully harvested a few leaves from this majestic plant.

I may go back and harvest some seeds and flowers from the stalk. Make a therapeutic oil infusion. The flowers gently warmed in oil. Some people also add garlic. (Heat the mullein and oil…Not too hot as to kill the beneficial properties…) Mullein infused oil is a traditional herbal remedy for earaches. Many mothers depend on this remedy for their children!
Do Not Use Remedy on a perforated eardrum! or with any doubt!

mullein & garlic ear oil remedy


* Also my Herb teacher, who also is trained in Ayurveda, mentioned that if you treat one ear, even if the other ear doesn’t hurt… treat both ears. In this case, using mullein oil, start by slowly massaging oil on the outside rim of the ear, then massage the whole, front part of the ear itself working your way eventually to the ear canal.

Then add a drop or two into the ear canal.
Then another drop when the oil goes in fully.
Do both ears the same way. For application, warm the oil, only slightly. The ear canal is very sensitive and the person being treated is already in pain, so just warm the oil a tiny bit to take off the cool/cold edge it might have. It also will help it to apply better when slightly warm. Not hot.

But please, seek precise herbal and/or ayurvedic advice on this as I have not tried it myself…yet! And seek a physician if need be!

Also, see mullein & garlic remedy above.

Mullein flowers


mullein uses

And here is the outer human ear and its Reflexology points just for fun.


image source


Also delightful aster is going into this remedy!


all about aster!

All 3 of these herbs have beneficial effects for respiratory conditions. I am making it to assist healing of colds and coughs.


Reknowned herbalist Michael Moore put together an online manual. Not to be sold but happily shared.

It is a comprehensive guide on making
herbal tinctures. Including dosages for children, % alcohol needed for effective tincture, etc. Also, one of the reasons I chose to do the Simpler’s method… (see links in post) is that I do not yet, own a scale for weighing herbs. But, soon I will happily have some more useful tools… On my wishlist!

In the online manual, herbal formulae contain ratios.
For example:

1:5 70% alcohol.

Sometimes the word alcohol is omitted and just the percentage is listed in the ratio.

Such as: 1:5 70%

These numbers are just examples. The percentage equals the percentage of alcohol content in the menstruum. For example, I used 40% Brandy. For higher percentages of alcohol content a combination of distilled water and Everclear will equal, in this case, 70%. Other spirits such as Vodka can be 70% alcohol, etc.

More about herb:menstruum % ratios:

So for 1:5 ratio above, take 1 part weight of *herb (such as 1 ounce weight of herb) to 5 parts (or 5 ounces measured volume of the liquid menstruum) Make sure the alcohol is proper percentage so that the dosage given corresponds with healing intent of the herbal formula. Negative Side effects could occur if dosage too strong or weak.

(*herb matter in tinctures is called marc)


The Ratio is: the marc by weight (use scale) in ratio to ounces by liquid volume (use measuring cup) of specific percentage menstruum.

Herbs vary considerably by weight. Something light and fluffy would take up a lot more space per equal weight of a dense root, for example.

Follow the proven, effective ratio regardless of density of herb. Not to say there isn’t inventiveness in coming up with herbal blends and formula. Although some formula are well proven, is all.

Ounces of liquid for volume are, of course, much different than ounces by weight for plant matter.

At first, I was mistaken and thought you could measure an ounce of plant material in a measuring cup! But, of course that doesn’t make sense. What if I chopped my herb too fine or not at all. The volume would be different. Oy! So, weigh your marc, plant material, on a scale!
Chemistry class…you are coming back to me.
Mr. Emerson you were hilarious, as almost were my grades… but, with tinctures I am getting there!


The online source for the manual.

Herbal Tinctures in Clinical Practice. by Michael Moore.1996.

And remember, if you want to you can always try the Simpler’s method!


Now to the tincture making. My first one!

Remember those beautiful, majestic Mullein leaves? In just two days they shrank considerably. They were soft and not totally crispy. Many people suggest using fresh herbs, not dried but all the herbs I used were not, for instance, sitting on a shelf somewhere for a year or more. So I feel confident of their healing properties being intact!


Wildcrafting… I am so grateful!

Next I chopped and added the dried grindelia I had stored out of sunlight, in a cool place. Just a few weeks from my harvest of it.



Then I chopped and added the daisy aster. It can go to seed and become mere seed puffs in just one day of picking but only one blossom seed puffed in two days. It had a delightful resin-y healing smell as did the grindelia.

It is good to chop/cut the herbs as this exposes more healing properties to the Menstruum.

The hints of purple in the jar is the aster!


I am calling this my MEGA Tincture… for Mullein Grindelia and Aster! So good for respiratory ailments, tickly throat, nagging coughs and bronchial issues. I have had a nagging cough since April. And, perhaps, not so ironically as I research, think and write about all this, I have had a cold. Luckily, I saved some of my grindelia, that I dried to make a healing respiratory tea!


The Grindelia that I then dried!

So pack the herbs in the jar. Don’t smoosh them down too much as you want the alcohol to get in and around all the herbs… but do fill and pack the jar.


Add the alcohol slowly.


And press down herbs again to submerge them in the alcohol. Leave an inch of alcohol over the herbs if you can. Make sure no air has contact with the herbs. Weigh down herbs with a sterilized rock if need be. Fill jar to the very top with alcohol.


The herbs may swell when they absorb the liquid. Especially when using fresh material. Just check your tincture and add more alcohol if this happens. You always want the herbs completely covered by the alcohol.

Cover tightly and shake. Check for leaks when you hold it upside down and tighten down the hatches! Flip bottle over every other day so the herbs all get equally covered by the Menstruum. <—I like this word. 🙂

Shake it every day and get it constituted that way.

Most herbal tinctures take 4-6 weeks to set. Check it and see what you think and I will keep you posted too!

Here is my MEGA tincture.


When you make it, Congratulations!
Tightly cover it and give it a shake!


The next morning the colors are vivid!
And even 2 days later, it had a wonderful medicinal smell that smelled different than the brandy… = happy… medicinal effects are on its way.

Go tincture!


Next step for your Herbal Apothecary!

Make a Label.

1. Put the date on it
2. The herbs and their Latin Binomials
3. What the Menstruum used is, in this case Brandy
4. What ailments the remedy is for.
(i.e. Respiratory, bronchial issues, nagging cough and wheezing cough in this case.)
5. Date tincture will be done!



Happy health and healing to You! And best wishes on your tincture making adventures and apothecary herbal medicines!

Then when the time is up and your tincture is ready… get a funnel and some cheesecloth. Line the funnel or colander and strain out all the herbal goodness! Squeeze and wring out all the tincture from the herb.
Some people even use a press, such as an apple press.

It is recommended to store in a dark bottle such as an amber brown colored one. My herb teacher recommends to cap off your bottle.

Do not leave the rubber sealed dropper in your tincture as the alcohol will corrode the rubber of the dropper and then this corrosion is in your tincture! Also, make sure your dropper is made of glass as a plastic dropper will corrode your tincture too!

And, don’t forget to cap off between use! 🙂

Also be sure to strain this tincture as mullein has irritating fibers! As possibly does the aster. Strain it in any case!


Mullein basal leaves in Autumn


Grindelia with locust seed pod draped by nature!


and Aster with seed puffs!

make a glycerin tincture

make a vinegar tincture


Beautiful fall in the New Mexico Mountains

my post about Grindelia

my post about Mullein

Stay tuned for my next post on How to make a healing liniment!

Calendula Grindelia Liniment!

So good for poison ivy, contact dermatitis and skin irritations!

Field Notes and a Sound Walk. Finding Grindelia


Walking to a favorite arroyo… maybe a 1/4 mile away. I have the most amazing nature hike. Nature is always all around. Even beneath layers of concrete. The earth is there. The air. The cosmos outside our bubble of atmosphere is I would guess a cosmic nature.

I feel so lucky to know, at least, some of the plants by name. To tap in and align with ancient knowledge. To hopefully join a stewardship of respect for these plants and trees. Water and sky. And to remember, I am part of nature. Not de-natured. But one and the same.

I heard on a radio show that humans are, most attuned, to register the sound of bird calls. Songbirds. Why? Because songbirds are always around sources of water. We have an affiliation with songbirds that has always led us to water.

We are. Nature.


Acoustic Ecology




Apache Plume


Yerba del Buey
Grindelia aphanactis
Family: Asteraceae


Indian Paintbrush








Milkweed…beautiful but, this species likely toxic to humans.


I don’t know what this is


Clammy ground cherry

And more Grindelia
a.k.a. Curlycup gumweed


And it has coarse toothed leaves especially the larger ones further down the stem


With my chipped polish!

Flower head with sticky curled bracts



Basal set of leaves


Graffitti and Grindelia


Harvest during milky stage of flowers going to seed soon. I also harvested yellow flower heads and leaves when plant was in this stage above.


Wildcrafting pretty photo blur


I found Grindelia on the bank of this arroyo.
This beautiful plant… captured my attention. Its beautiful flowers and seeds… a mystery plant to me.
Also a reminder, to respect all plants and to wildcraft ethically and with good discernment and respect for the plant and the land.


Grindelia in its sunny glory. Also known as gum plant as it has a sticky resin to it.

Medicinally it is a good expectorant and good for bronchial coughs and dry hacking coughs. Oh how I wish I had some Grindelia tea this past April!

It also makes a soothing skin salve. A tincture made with alcohol is recommended to help heal and dry up poison oak/ivy rash.

Also according to: Dunmire and Tierney’s book: Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province., 1995… p.p. 219-220

Uses include: waxes and resins in the U.S. and Europe. Also makes a good yellow dye.

Also the book sites various Puebloan uses… such as: a tea drunk for kidney problems, dried boiled herb parts with liquid added to clean abrasions, ground herbs applied to skin sores and a sticky blossom on an aching tooth.

I plan on making a tea after drying the flowers and leaves. And also making a healing salve with the dried leaves and flowers.

I will dry these tomorrow


I did dry them… and now as I edit this post… I feel achey and a sore throat. I am having tea and honey now but I am going to make a Grindelia tea when I get home tomorrow morning. Feeling grateful that I have some Grindelia healing herb for a tea!

Meanwhile, I am saving most of my Grindelia along with Mullein and Aster for a healing respiratory tincture! I will keep you posted shortly!

history and use of Grindelia for lungs and skin aid!

Aster is a healing plant for respiratory problems too…

Aster Heals!


So much to learn and discover.
On my own, nearby nature hike to an arroyo.
Some familiar plants.
Some new.
Songbirds happy with the weather and the recent rain.
A Sound walk.
Where I can listen.
And be in harmony with hearing.
Hearing what is offered. What needs to be still. What can be harvested or let alone. From hearing to listening and I am just beginning.
But at least beginning…
and joyfully.

Con alegría
Yerba del Buey





Michael Moore Herbalist. Online Manual for Tinctures

Includes information on Grindelia


Beautiful poetry…almost made me cry.

poetry by John Luther Adams…acoustic ecology. “The Place Where You Go To Listen.”


A spring in a desert arroyo.


Posted Sites and these texts for Sources:

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province. Exploring Ancient And Enduring Uses.
By, William Dunmire and Gail Tierney, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fé. 1995.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. by, Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003.