A native New Englander and former news broadcaster, Michele Crane jumped at the chance to narrate the NaturePod about Cape Cod’s beaches and wildlife. Michele has always appreciated the beauty of New England’s rugged and picturesque coastline.
Michele’s broadcasting career includes work as an anchor and reporter for both radio and television news programs. Working at News40 in Springfield, Massachusetts and on WFCR Five College Radio in Amherst provided her with an extensive background in writing, producing and narration.
Michele is currently pursuing freelance writing, voice work and narration projects. She lives in Western Massachusetts and enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children.
Can you find a more apt name for this plant whose roots ooze red or
orange sap? I think not. This early bloomer is already in seed in my area, but in the last few weeks, the brilliant white blossoms dotted woodland slopes and stream sides. The single protective leaf that wraps around the blossom continues to grow even after pollination duties are fulfilled.
American Indians used Red Pucoon, as it is also called, for medicinal and practical uses. Here are a few:
*Paint skin and dye cloth and baskets
*Repel insects and treat rattlesnake bites
*Treat cramps, induce an abortion, and induce bleeding
Early settlers used it for the same purposes, plus a few more:
*A few drops of the sap on a sugar cube was used as a cough drop
*Treat skin ailments
*Treat sick mules
The efficacy of these medicinal purposes has not proved out. Taking this plant internally is a bad idea as the roots are poisonous. Just as well. It is too fantastic a wildflower to go digging up its roots all the time.
Swan Song is the term used when, after a lifetime of ineffectual silence, a heart-wrenching beautiful song is sung just before death. This charming folklore is attributed to the beautiful Mute Swan. Despite the fact that the mute swan makes hisses, grunts and other noises throughout its life, it doesn’t revert to a song before dying. The name does apply however, when comparing it to other species of swans that are noisier than the mute swan.
Being native to Europe and Asia, the Mute Swan has been introduced to North America and is expanding. I visited Irondequoit Bay off of Lake Ontario in New York last week and counted no less than 75 birds hanging out. Thought I’d share some pics.
Throughout history and with various cultures, the plant world was the pharmacopoeia for ailments. Not only that, but some plants were believed to hold powers that could do things besides provide treatment. Here is a listing of some of the more interesting uses of wildflowers I’ve found:
*False Hellebore was used to call rain, to jinx people and to kill sea monsters.
*The Meskwaki Indians used a decoction of Columbine root to heighten their powers of persuasion either at council meetings or when they were trading.
*Iroquois used Columbine to detect witchcraft.
*Folklore relays that a Jack-in-the-pulpit seed can predict the outcome of a sick person. The person will recover if the seed, when dropped into water, spins around 4 times clockwise.
*A Native American superstition claimed a Trillium root, served by a young woman to a man would make him fall in love with her.
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