Showing posts with label All Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label All Canada. Show all posts


Scientific Name(s): Gnaphalium, Pseudognaphalium, and Gamochaeta species
Abundance: plentiful
What: leaves, stem
How: tea, smoked
Where: yards, fields, disturbed areas
When: fall, winter, spring
Nutritional Value: medicinal
Dangers: do not eat, only smoked or drank as tea

Medicinal Summary:
Leaves/Stem/Flowers* - improves breathing during congestion, emphysema, and asthma (tisane, smoked)
*plant should be allowed to die and dry in the ground to develop medicinal properties

Grey-colored cudweed (Gnaphalium spicatum) are considered the best medicine of the common yard weed.
Cudweed Rabbit Tobacco

Mature cudweed (Gnaphalium spicatum)going to flower.

Close-up of cudweed (Gnaphalium spicatum) stem. Note the fuzzy stem and alternating leaves.

Close-up of cudweed (Gnaphalium spicatum) flowers.

Close-up of cudweed (Gnaphalium spicatum) fluffy seeds.

Another common cudweed (Gnaphalicum spicatum) is green on top with whiteish-grey undersides.

Cudweed (Gnaphalicum spicatum) going to flower.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Many yards and disturbed areas end up filled with cud weeds come the cool months in Texas. The tops of cudweed leaves can be either green or grey depending on the species but the undersides are always white-grey. They start out as a rosette but then one or more stems grows either upwards or outwards from the taproot. Cudweeds have alternating leaves with a pinnate vein structure. Stems are fuzzy and so are the leaves. When mature, the tips of the stems turn even fuzzier, reminding me of Q-Tips due to the furry nature of their tiny flowers.

Cudweeds are NOT eaten. The only recorded ways they were used was as a tea or smoked. One of its common names is "Rabbit Tobacco". Both the tea and smoke were used to treat problems breathing, especially from colds and other lung issues. The tea also helps some with coughs. While it was mainly smoked for its medicinal effects, the flavor is mild and pleasant enough that it was also smoked for pleasure. The usual Native American technique for smoking was to hold the smoke in their mouths rather than drawing it into their lungs. Be aware that pulling out a baggie of dried leaves and lighting up in public may draw unwanted attention so be smart if you're going to smoke this.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Tinder/Hoof Mushrooms

Scientific Name(s): Fomes fomentarius
Abundance: uncommon
What: mushroom
How: infusion medicinally, smoke to repel mosquitos, inner layer to catch a spark
Where: woods
When: winter, spring, summer, fall
Nutritional Value: not applicable
Dangers: not eaten, but infusion is used internally and externally to fight infections


Tinder (Hoof) mushrooms on a dying tree.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Side view. Note the layers and gray color.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Top-angled view. The greenish color near the top is from mildew.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Looking at the underside, note the tiny holes aka pores. This is in the class of polypore mushrooms.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Though oddly shaped, this is still a tinder/hoof mushroom.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Cut in half, the lower, dark section consists of hundreds of tightly packed tubes and the upper, brown section is called "amadou".
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

The amadou layer will catch a spark from flint and steel.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Tinder hoof mushrooms are one of several different shelf polypore mushrooms found on dead/dying trees. The distinguishing characteristics of these is the layers of grow that result in a thick/tall mushroom rather than a large fan shape. These can be found any time of the year on Texas trees, preferring hardwoods such as oaks, hickories, maples, elms, and sweet gums to pine, cedar, or cypress. The use of these mushrooms can be traced back thousands of years, even being part of Otzi, the Alps caveman corpse's kit.

Hoof mushrooms have several main uses, one of which is medicinal and the others are bushcraft. An infusing made from fresh or dried hoof mushrooms by boiling a tablespoon of chopped-up mushroom in a cup of water produces a strong broth with both antibacterial and antiviral properties. This broth can be drunk to fight internal infections as well as a wash for infected wounds.

This mushroom has some awesome bushcraft use, the first being it's one of the few natural products that will catch a spark, hence the name tinder mushroom. The inner, fibrous "amadou" layer, when dried can be used to start fires from any spark or ember generating source such as flint and steel, flint on quartz, firesteel, or fire-bows. The amadou is pounded into a flat fabric that has lots of fuzzy fiber ends to catch fire.

If you already have a fire going but want to transport the fire elsewhere, hoof/tinder mushrooms will smolder for a long time if ignited. Packed in so moss, you now have a hot coal you can carry with you to start a fire at the next campsite without the effort and uncertainty of making a fire from scratch.

The amadou also has a history of being pounded into a felt-like material used to make clothing and bags. It'll take a lot of mushrooms to get a decent-sized piece of fabric to cover yourself but fewer if you're okay with being indecent. If you look on you can find amadou hats and other gear, though I can't vouch they're made from real amadou.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Privacy & Amazon Paid Promotion Statement

I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.

I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. The prices you pay for the item isn't affected, my sales commission comes out of Amazon's pocket.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.