Wildcrafting Hoop – One person’s journey

Wildcrafting Hoop – One person’s journey

“The Hoop” is one of the terms to describe traditional people’s yearly round of harvesting activities. Here are the main medicinal herbs I harvested last year in the order that I harvested them. I am making my 2018 calendar and needed to know my Eastern Washington wildcrafting schedule. I just made a list of the harvest times for the things I collected on 2017’s Hoop and taking into account that last year was a late spring what it will likely be in 2018.  There are year-to-year climate variations which have to be taken into account and elevation and aspect means that different stands in the same area will vary by several weeks.  The window of opportunity varies a lot from botanical to botanical. The exact date for the most optimum harvest varies from species to species. Heart-leaved Arnica flower stands are only perfect for about 3 days. In contrast, Elder spreads it’s flowering over a month in the same stand. Nettle leafy tops and nettle green-seed heads, both have relatively short windows. Dormant roots in the ground have a long window. So many variables!

W – West Side, Northwest Washington.

I currently live on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula.

E = East Side, Eastern Washington.

I made 6 wildcrafting expeditions to the East Side in 2017.

These harvest dates will be applicable in general for the side of Washington State indicated here. 

W - Nettle root - November to mid-February

W - Cottonwood buds - December into February

W – Lobaria lichen - December into February

W -  Usnea lichen - December into February

W -  Devils club - November to April

W - Dandelion root - March into April

W - Nettle tops - late March thru April

E – Lithospermum ruderale - March/April, Spring window

E - Lomatium dissectum root, - March/April, Spring window

E - Black cohosh - Early April

W - Dandelion leaf, - Mid-April into May

W - Cleavers - May 1 into early June

E - Arnica cordifolia flowers - early May to mid May

W - Rose petals, Rosa nutkana - Early June

E – Elder flowers. - All June

E - Yarrow flowers - early to late June. Each patch has about a 2-week window.

E - St John’s wort - Early to mid-July

W - Coastal Gumweed buds/flowers - Late July

E - Hops, - Mid August

E - Nettle seed, Columbia Basin - End of August and early September

E - Pipsissewa - August, September

E – Yew tips - All summer

W - Hawthorn berry - mid to end September. Worms are an issue in some stands, if so pick early.

E – Kinnikinnik, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - September/October

E - Black cohosh - mid October to mid-November.

E - Oregon grape root - mid October to mid-November.

E – Sarsparilla, Aralia nudicaulis - mid October to mid-November.

E – Lithospermum ruderale - October, November.

E - Lomatium dissectum root - October, November.

W - Dandelion root: - Mid October and early November

W - Yellow dock, - November through the winter on the West Side.

W - Tall Oregon-grape, - all winter on the West Side.

W - Low Oregon-grape - all winter on the West Side.

** By the way, I sell all of these botanicals - some fresh, some dry, some both. We are still looking for new customers. Our Herb Catalog is on our website

--Michael Pilarski 1/9/2018

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