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Partridge Berry A Special Wild Edible & Natural Medicine

The little Partridge Berry, also known as Squaw Berry, is a red berry that resembles Wintergreen in appearance. The tiny red berries are both refreshing as a snack and useful as a medicine. The proper name for Partridge Berry is Mitchella Repens.

 

The Partridge Berry is found in acidic soils across North America. It prefers shady areas and is often found randomly strewn across the forest floor.

 

Partridge Berries are low growing evergreen herbs, growing less than an inch high on average. The spread out on vines to cover the forest floor with an all year ground cover. These are a beautiful addition to shady areas in your yard or garden where small plots of ground cover are needed. This is a very slow growing plant so larger areas would take too long to cover.

 

 

The Partridge Berry leaves are tiny, roundish shaped with a pale green to yellow vein running through the center. These leaves are less than half an inch round and paired on opposite sides of the stem. The plant spreads out on vines often less than a foot long and send out roots throughout its length.

 

 

 

 

 

In the Spring the plants have tiny white flowers about an inch long in pairs. The flowers are trumpet shaped and have four petals each, one pistil and four stamens. There are not very many flowers per plant but they are quite pretty and mild smelling. In the fall these flowers form into a single little red berry. These berries resemble Wintergreen in appearance and have two indentations where the two flowers were.

 

 

The berries are less than a quarter of an inch round and red colored. When opened the meat inside is white and has the texture of a very ripe apple. The flavor is very mild and somewhat sweet, slightly resembling Wintergreen in flavor. It is a refreshing treat along the pathwways of the forest. The fruit is long lasting and survives the winter. The little berries can often still be found in Spring along with fresh flowers of the new year.

 

 

The Native American Indians harvested the berries for their medicinal qualities, especially for women, hence the name Squaw Berry. The Partridge Berry is very useful to prevent miscarriages in women, regulate menstrual cycles, ease the pain of cramps and prepare the uterus for child birth. This little berry is safe for pregnant women and very valuable. Sadly we often overlook such plants these days and simply walk over them as we trudge through the woods.

 

You can make a tea from both the berries and leaves. The Indian women would drink this tea when nearing the end of pregnancy to ease child birth.

 

This is a tiny plant wich huge value but is sadly often overlooked and ignored in today's modern World.


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Troy Reid

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