As you drive through Quartz Mountain you may notice the signs of the changing seasons. Grasses have set seeds and are drying to golden stalks. Prickly pears are turning purple and the Mesquite beans are plump and starting to dry. All these ripening fruits and seeds will help fatten animals up for winter or for their travels to warmer climes.
The vast majority of plants have innumerable uses, many of which have fallen out of common practice. Not only are many of the plants found at Quartz Mountain edible, they can also be used as medicines or dye plants. Even some tools, such as needles, cord, sandals or mats have been fashioned from parts of these plants.
Please do not pick or collect any plants within the Nature Park. Not only is this illegal, many of these plants provide important food and shelter for our wild animals. Deer and Woodpeckers are two animals that eat prickly Peers. Wild Turkey, Deer and Raccoons consume Mesquite beans. As the wildlife live at Quartz Mountain and people just visit-fruits, nuts and plant products may not be harvested.
Before you even think about eating or using a medicinal plant, do some research!
You must be absolutely positive of the plant identification.
You must know which part of the plant is to be used in which season. What was edible in the spring may be poisonous in the fall.
Know what chemical might have been sprayed in the area. Is there a nearby farm, golf course or highway that might have been sprayed recently?
Do you or does anyone in your family have any allergies?
You should NEVER “take just a little taste” to see if a plant is poisonous or not. Even a tiny bit may be fatal. Another common myth is that if animals can eat, so can humans. This is absolutely not true!! Visit your local library for more information on edible, medical or useful plants before you consume or use any plants.
Reach Sue Hokanson at email@example.com