There’s no doubt about it — plants are (extremely!) valuable members of their ecosystems. They provide food for animals, shelter for wildlife, nutrients for the soil, and oxygen for many organisms.
Of course, this list could quite possibly fill an entire library of books, and as time moves forward, more plant/ecosystem interactions will likely be discovered. No list would be complete, however, without denoting the roles plants play in benefiting the lives of… you guessed it… creatures like you and me.
Food, fiber, cordage, dyes, adhesives, fire, weapons, and poisons — plants have seemingly always been entwined with the lives of Homo sapiens. Included in this list would certainly be medicines, and contrary to modern practices, plant medicines are still just as important today as they were centuries ago.
I recently spoke in front of members from the Wissahickon Nature Club in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and discussed various wild medicinal plant and mushroom species local to this area. If you’re interested in learning the value of developing a medicinal strategy based on wild species from the land, I encourage you to check out the following video from the event.