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Test Your Herb Knowledge!

Follow a family of opossums on a moonlight walk in the forest. While you explore, test your knowledge of 7 things you might find...

It's a lovely moonlit night, so you decide to take a stroll on the forest path near your home. While you're out, you spot an opossum with a couple of babies in tow. She stops briefly to inspect a plant - what is it?


 

Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

It's Dandelion!



Dandelion is a terrific plant, you can sometimes get dandelion greens in some stores to go in your salad. Some people even make wine from dandelion flowers. Their name comes from the shape of the leaves, in French they're called, "Dent de lion" which means lion's tooth.


 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

This opossum mama seems to have her nose set on finding something, she continues down the path with her babies following, and so you decide to follow them...from a respectful distance so she doesn't get frightened. She stops her little family near the exposed roots of an ancient tree for a snack of ticks. A single opossum can eat hundreds of ticks in a night. Many of the trees in this forest are big and old - they almost cut off all the light from the moon, so you step closer to them to see what type they are - what do you see?


 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.


 

They're pine trees! Smells awesome here.


 

Pine trees are some of the oldest known tree species. They were around when dinosaurs walked the planet and can grow massively large, given the chance.

As the opossum family wanders down the path, you notice that they give this little group of brightly colored mushrooms a wide-clearing. Why do you think that is?


 


 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.



Curious...even opossums avoid fly agaric.


Holy smokes! Amanita Muscaria, known commonly as fly agaric, aren't good eats. They can cause all sorts of problems and land you in the hospital. They're a great reason for why the most people say that you don't collect mushrooms without an expert mushroom-hunter.



Don't eat these. Ever.


Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

Phew! After a close encounter with a beautiful, but poisonous mushroom, you follow the opossum deeper into the forest until you come to a clearing. A small stream runs through the clearing and you notice that a vine is growing up the side of a few of the trees on the other side. What is it?




Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

Wild grapes. Definitely.


 

Vitis riparia, also known as riverbank grape, is a woody vine which can grow so large that it completely envelopes a tree.


But be careful! Another vine species that IS poisonous looks a lot like this tasty plant.


 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

The opossum family turns off the path now, and follows the stream. There is all sorts of plant life, but one sticks out at you because it's got these neat-looking flower spikes. While you're checking out the plant that you know you've seen before...a noise off to the side of the path catches your attention and you look in the direction from which it came.


 


 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

Plantain - a great medicinal!


Plantago Lanceolata, known as plantain (not the banana), has been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes. Crushed, the leaves make a great poultice for insect stings, and some make a tea to use as a cough remedy.

 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

It's a rattlesnake! You back away instinctively, but the opossum doesn't. She stands her ground, waiting for her chance to attack - maybe this venomous viper will be dinner?
What if the snake bites her?



 

The bite might sting a little, but she'll be fine!


Opossums are immune to rattlesnake venom - isn't that awesome?


They're pretty impressive animals, and studies are currently underway to see if scientists can adapt their super-power to our own anti-venin needs.


 

 

The stream empties into a pond, and here is where the opossum family stops. There is a wide clearing where a carpet of green plants grow, and they head over there and immediately start munching on the greens. You think it looks familiar, but you're not really sure...so look around for more of the plant to inspect. Upon finding another patch, you look closer and discover that it is...


 


 
Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

Chickweed!


Stellaria media, known as chickweed, is highly nutritious is also interesting because its presence reduces insect damage to the plants around it.


Disclaimer: We do not advise eating or otherwise ingesting plants you find in the wild unless you are with an expert and they tell you it's safe.
Bad things happen when you eat the wrong plant, and we're not responsible for your behavior or the consequences of it.

Thanks for playing! Click submit to see your score, and if you've always wanted to know more about edible and medicinal plants, check out the freebie that Kelli has for you on the next page.