Skip to main content

Distributed for Canadian Forest Service

Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada’s Northwest Boreal Forest

This handbook describes the traditional uses by aboriginal people of more than 200 different plants from Canada's boreal forest. It is the result of original ethnobotanical fieldwork in 29 communities across the boreal forest region of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Natural resources of the boreal forest have always been essential to the dietary, medical, economic, and spiritual well-being of First Nations people, but until now much of their traditional environmental knowledge has remained unrecorded and at risk of being lost.

To compile this book the authors, along with seven other First Nation trainees, five Métis trainees, and four other botany students, learned how to collect voucher plant specimens and record traditional knowledge about the use of plants for medicine, handicrafts, technology, and ritual practices. Over 100 elders contributed information that they felt should be shared among communities.

The entries and accompanying photographs are arranged according to the plant family and include information on physical descriptions, habitat, uses for food, technology, medicine, and potential economic use. The book also includes an explanation of the research approach, a literature review, and an overview of the ecological and cultural background of the area.

256 pages

Table of Contents

A Note on the Text



Research Methods

Ecological Background

Cultural Background

Related Literature on Boreal Plant Uses

Traditional Uses of Boreal Forest Plants

Common and Other Names

Scientific Name and Voucher Specimens

Description and Habitat

Food Uses

Medicinal Uses

Technological Uses

Ritual Uses



Listing of Useful Plants



Nonvascular Plants

Vascular Spore-Producing Plants


Angiosperms: Magnoliopsida

Angiosperms: Liliopsida



Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press