Forest Botanicals Deep and Tangled Roots Webinar with Eric Burkhart

There are many native plant species on eastern US forestlands that are wild harvested for the domestic and international plant trade. In this talk, Eric Burkhart, Program Director with Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center (Penn State University), will share insights from his studies and involvement with this complex and little understood trade, and highlight the opportunities and challenges facing forest farmers interested in production of forest botanicals for market. Quality-control, profitability, and sustainability within this industry will be discussed along with …

Seasonal Greening in U.S. Forests, Fields, and Urban Areas

Using the assessment tool ForWarn, land managers can monitor the growth and development of vegetation that signals winter’s end and the awakening of a new growing season. Researchers have devised a way to more precisely characterize the beginning of seasonal greening, or “greenup,” and compare its timing with that of the 14 previous years. Such information helps land managers anticipate and plan for the impacts of disturbances such as weather events and insect pests.

Three maps detailing greenup in …

YouTube Channel Pine Needle Basket Series

Long leaf pine needles are the most prized when it comes to weaving pine needle baskets. The long leaf pine tree is typically found in the Southeast from the east coast of North Carolina to the Florida’s Gulf coast.  The long leaf pine needles last longer in the weaving process than shorter needles do and are therefore used more often in basketry. Nancy Basket is a Cherokee descendant and is renowned for her pine needle baskets and kudzu installations. In …

YouTube Channel Pine Needle Raking and Baling Series

Associate Professor with Auburn University, Becky Barlow, introduces the loblolly pine which is valued for timber because it is a fast-growing pine species that gains height and width before other trees within the stand can compete. Loblolly is most easily recognized by its needle structure. The needles are in groups of three and run along the length of the branches. Its bark is thinner and flakes off easily, in part due to its failure to adapt to fire. Loblolly pine …

YouTube Channel Growing Forest Medicinal Herbs for the Market

Robert Eidus, owner and operator of Eagle Feather Organic Farm, explains the ecology of ginseng, goldenseal, trillium, and ramps. In order to successfully grow these forest medicinals, edibles, and decorative plants, it’s imperative to understand their relationship to their environment and in some cases, to each other. While their rate and success of propagation in the wild are different, they enjoy similar forest ecosystems. Loamy soil that drains well, often related to slope, in addition to the shade of deciduous …

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis L.)


Botanical Information

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis L., is a member of the Papaveraceae family. It is a native spring wildflower that grows in rich woodlands of North America from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Manitoba. It can grow in full sun but is more often found in semi-shaded, light-wooded areas with moist, acidic soil. A perennial that grows up to 10 inches tall, the plant has a single basal leaf that can be as wide …

False Unicorn or Fairy Wand (Chamaelirium luteum)


Botanical Information

False unicorn or fairy wand [Chamaelirium luteum (L.) A. Gray], member of the Liliaceae family, is native to North America with a natural range stretching from Florida north to New York and west to the Mississippi River. Most of the significant wild populations of this plant exist in the southern portion of its range. An herbaceous perennial, its leaves form a basal rosette with an emerging flower stalk that bears either a male or female flower spike …

What type of canopy/tree species are required to grow ginseng, goldenseal, and/or black cohosh?

Assuming the species in question are ginseng, goldenseal, and black cohosh, look for a stand of mature hardwoods — typically beech, birch, maple, tulip poplar, oak, and cherry located on north- and northeastern-facing slopes. Some pines can be present but shouldn’t predominate. The site should have dabbled shade (70 to 85 percent) and the soils should be well drained and high in organic matter.

Is forest farming of ginseng, woody florals, ramps possible in hardiness zones of the Midwest using 3 or 5 row shelterbelts (Green ash, Eastern red cedar, Chinese elms)?

Yes. You would need to confirm that conditions in your shelterbelt agree with growing conditions for the plant(s) you want to grow. Ginseng and ramps, best grown in moist hardwood forests, may not be good choices in a Midwest shelterbelt, especially a new planting without deep shade or if the area does not have rich soils high in organic matter. If you are in a forest type (rich, moist and high in organic matter) where you know ginseng grows (or …

YouTube Channel Bee Keeping Series

Jon Christie, owner of Wild Mountain Bees in Western North Carolina, explains the various ways one can begin with bees: catching a swarm of bees, buying a package of bees, or purchasing a bee nuc. Each option has its pros and cons. Since the introduction of the varroa mite in the early nineties, most feral bee colonies have died off. Buying a package of bees can help ensure a stronger start. A package consists of about three pounds of bees …