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Species At-Risk-determine vulnerability to over harvest wild medicinals — The Grow Network Community
Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Species At-Risk-determine vulnerability to over harvest wild medicinals

VickiPVickiP Posts: 430 ✭✭✭✭

https://unitedplantsavers.org/species-at-risk-list/ A good list of commonly harvested medicinals that are at risk of over harvesting

Also, if you are interested in a more scientific approach to this subject https://unitedplantsavers.org/species-at-risk-assessment-tool/ This tool is to help determine if a particular plant is in danger of being over harvested. (This uses Excel) I love this site, it is very informative with loads of free downloads.



  • toreytorey Posts: 1,339 admin

    @VickiP Great post! I am surprised at some of the plants on the list. I guess it depends on where you live. I am in a very rural area in an underpopulated region so some of the "To-Watch" list are very common here. Very surprised to see Eyebright on the "At-Risk" list as here it is almost invasive in some places. Even if we are picking common plants or weeds, we must remember to take just what we need. It only takes a small amount of plant material to make a tincture or enough infused oil to last till the next season. We don't need to bring home basket loads of material.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    I have huge stands of mayapple on our home farm. Watched it expand now for the last forty years. We do have ginseng on our farm also. Have only dug a few plants in all these years, usually when I find it I will bury the seeds nearby so they don’t get eaten. Interesting list. Thanks

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 430 ✭✭✭✭

    I have a number of the plants listed as well. We have decided to let things grow as nature intended. So they are in no to very little risk here. I also never take everything and always replant roots or berries as I go.

  • siobhanashmolesiobhanashmole Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I love United Plant Savers! Thanks for sharing this. I have a business which cultivates medicine plants in a 'wild-mimicking' setting because many of our African species are fast becoming endangered/extinct (most of our people use herbal medicine first and some popular ones have become massive exports).

    If you want some good 'rules of thumb' or are just interested in the cultural methods of preserving wild populations here's a few I like from African and American traditions (i.e the taboos which have scientific reasoning but are easier to teach and remember).

    • Only harvest from every 3rd plant you come across
    • Never harvest from the last plant you see (of any one species in any one trip)
    • Harvest only on waning moon days
    • Harvest only on waxing moon days
    • If taking bark from a tree, only take from the Eastern side (prevents ring barking)
    • Take what you need only
    • If you harvest to sell, only harvest double your families needs. More than that is stealing.
    • Leave a gift in return for everything you take
    • Don't take what is being used by animals
  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 430 ✭✭✭✭

    @siobhanashmole Those are great "rules of thumb!" The ethics behind them would apply to mushroom hunting as well.

  • Nancy A.MaurelliNancy A.Maurelli Posts: 43 ✭✭✭

    I was taught to always ask permission from the plant before wildharvesting. Also to not take too much from the periphery of a colony. And perhaps it goes without saying, to make sure that the plant is growing in an area where it is safe to harvest (i.e., not contaminated from air/water/electromagnetic pollution, ground water with high bacteria content, etc.).

  • frogvalleyfrogvalley Posts: 118 ✭✭✭

    @siobhanashmole Great list! There are a few good guidelines you included that I hadn't heard of before.

    Learning as much as you can about the plants around you is another way of empowering yourself to do without those At-Risk plants. Many plants are anti this or that or help you to do such and such, we just don't know it. There are plants in America that do the same thing as the plants in Africa, but we have yet to have the knowledge of our communities/environment to utilize them.

  • toreytorey Posts: 1,339 admin

    @frogvalley Excellent point about knowing the plants around you. People tend to jump on "new" herbs or treatments that are indeed, great plants, but often come from far away. When I am doing plant walks, I try to impress upon people that local is better. We walk on the same earth they grow in, breathe the same air and drink the same water (usually). So they are energetically more compatible with our needs. This is not to say that I don't use herbs from outside of my area cause somethings may need a specialised herb but on the whole I believe that local is better. And, like you say, it is empowering to be able to provide for your medical needs in your immediate environment. Almost every medicine that I require either grows in the wild or is something that I can grow in my garden

    @siobhanashmole I am curious as to the type of gift that might be appropriate in your part of the world? Some Indigenous cultures in North America might leave a bit of tobacco or sage. I know others that will use a piece of their own hair. I was taught as a child to leave a coin.

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