Many local wild plants have been planted in the Garden Labyrinth. They are listed here, along with some of the features that can be used to identify them when visiting the labyrinth and some of their traditional and contemporary medicinal uses.

List of plants, alphabetical by common name:

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Aster 

Aster spp.

There are over 25 species of aster in the Midwest. All asters have flowered heads composed of numerous ray flowers surrounding a central disk flower that is almost always yellow in color.

Medicinal Uses: 

  • Epilepsy, spasms 
  • Nosebleeds, wounds 
  • Headache 
  • Poison ivy rashes 
  • Diarrhea and fever
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Burdock 

Arctium minus; A. lappa

Burdock is a biennial plant, that in its first season appears only as a low-lying herb and then in its second season forms a branching stem that reaches 3-5 feet. Composite flowers appear in the middle of the second season on the butter part of the stem and branches. During autumn, the flowerhead eventually forms the infamous dry, brown burrs. 

Medicinal Uses: 

  • Skin conditions  
  • Anti-inflammatory  
  • Whooping cough
  • Digestion and constipation
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Chickweed 

Stellaria spp. 

Chickweed is a small to medium-sized annual or perennial plant, with white starlike flowers. It is often found growing in clumps or mats. All chickweed specific have white flowers with five sepals and five petals. Chickweed’s fruits are oval-shaped, bump-covered capsules. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, and gout 
  • Urinary-tract inflammation 
  • Inflamed, sore eyes 
  • Arthritic joints, hemorrhoids, sores, and rashes 
  • Wounds, cuts, and scrapes 
  • Coughs, bronchitis, and hoarseness
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Columbine 

Aquilegia canadensis 

Native perennial plant, growing 1-3 feet tall. The long-stalked leaves reach a length of 4-6 inches. They are compound, being divided into three leaflets and then subdivided into three more. The blossoms give the appearance of drooping bells, growing 1-2 inches long they are composed of five petals that are yellow and red in color. 

Medicinal Uses:

  • Fever 
  • Kidney problems 
  • Stomach/bowel problems, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • To control hair lice infestation
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Milkweed 

Asclepias syriaca 

Milkweed is a native perennial plant. It has opposite, oblong, and smooth leaves. Lilac-colored flowers arranged in dense umbels on the upper one-third of the plant. The fruits are large pods that grow to five inches. They split open along one side, revealing silky seeds which are then scattered by the wind. 

Medicinal Uses:

  • Athlete’s foot 
  • Cough and asthma
  • Dropsy and Rheumatism
  • Warts
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Monkey-Flower 

Mimulus ringens; M. glabratus

Monkey-Flower reaches a height of one to four feet. Purplish blossoms are found on stalks growing from the leaf axils. The corolla structure of the flowers gives the plant its common name because it gives an impression of a monkey’s face. 

Medicinal Uses:

  • Bites, cuts, and scratches
  • Stomach discomforts
  • Urinary problems
  • Fever
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Motherwort 

Leonurus cardiaca 

A sparsely branched, perennial herb, growing 2-4 feet tall. As a member of the mint family, it has a square stem and opposite leaves. Unlike other mints, motherwort lacks a “minty” scent. Lilac to pale-lavender flowers occur in spiny clusters; each flower is two-lipped, with a fuzzy upper lip. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Menstrual pains
  • Amenorrhea 
  • Nerve pain (as it occurs in sciatica and shingles), nervousness and anxiety 
  • Menopausal hot flashes, palpitations, hyperthyroidism, tachycardia 
  • Cardiac debility, heart attacks, strokes 
  • Rheumatism 
  • Conjunctivitis
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Plantain 

Plantago major 

A perennial herb growing 4-20 inches. The herb starts as a basal cluster of bright-green, spade-like leaves that are smooth-edged, finely haired, and blatantly veined in a parallel fashion. The greenish-white flowers are arranged at the top portion of the stalk. In autumn the flowers transform into fruits, each bearing 12-18 seeds. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Sores/ulcers, bleeding 
  • Diarrhea, dysentery 
  • Colitis, gastric inflammation 
  • Aching teeth, tooth cavities, inflamed gums or mouth 
  • Sore eyes and eye infections 
  • Bruising, swelling, cuts (including infected cuts), bites, stings, and poison-ivy rash  
  • Gout and rheumatism 
  • Coughs, sinus problems, chronic bronchitis
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Puslane 

Porulaca oleracea 

An annual weed with a sprawling of a trailing inclination. The inch-long leaves are tear-drop-shaped to paddle-shaped. The small, yellow flowers each possess five petals and only open on sunny mornings.  

Medicinal uses: 

  • Bee stings, sores, swellings, and snakebites 
  • Burns and bruises 
  • Asthma and heart disease 
  • Diabetic nephropathy 
  • Hookworm infestation 
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Shepherd’s Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris 

An annual weed growing 4-20 inches tall. The flowers are small and white, with six stamens and four petals arranged as a cross. Triangular, two-parted seed pods, measuring 5-8 millimeters long, inspired the plant’s common name as they resemble the purses of medieval shepherds. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Bleeding and wounds, nosebleeds
  • Diarrhea 
  • Children’s bedwetting
  • Postpartum hemorrhaging 
  • Stress-induced ulcers, cramps 
  • Gout, rheumatic joints 
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Smartweed 

Polygonum spp. 

Smartweeds are annual and perennial species with branched stems, flowers arranged in terminal spikes, an acrid juice, and a preference for damp ground. A number of species exist in the midwest. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Hemorrhages (uterine, oral)
  • Diarrhea, dysentery 
  • Kidney problems, painful urination
  • Dropsy, dout, rheumatism 
  • Swelling, joint pain, sore muscles, bruises, and sprains 
  • Respiratory problems, coughs, cold, fever
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Sunflower

Healianthus spp. 

Tall, annual or perennial plants with form and upright stems, composite flowers consisting of a disk flower with 10-25 yellow ray flowers, and dark-green leaves that are serrated. A large variety exist throughout the USA and Canada, with a dozen or more in the Midwest. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Pulmonary troubles, whooping cough, bronchitis, sore throat, tuberculosis 
  • Malaria, fever 
  • Bruises, contusions, sores, swelling 
  • Rheumatism, gout 
  • Heart problems, kidney and bladder ailments
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Violet 

Viola spp. 

Perennial herb with over 20 species growing in the midwest. All have blossoms with five septal, five stamen, and five petals, and noticeable veins. 

Medicinal uses: 

    • Colds, bronchitis, sore throat, whooping cough, and chronic cough 
    • Inflamed gums, fever, headache
    • Bladder pain, rheumatism, gout, swollen lymph nodes, boils, and pimples 
    • Sore eyes, painful swelling 
    • Restlessness, insomnia 
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Wild Bergamot 

Monarda fistulosa 

A perennial mint that reaches a height of 1-4 feet. The leaves are opposite, lanceolate in shape, and coarsely toothed. They grow to three inches long and spring from short stalks. Many lavender, tubular, inch-long flowers appear clustered into dense, rounded heads at the ends of the sems. The entire plant is permeated with powerful, perfume-like scent. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Gastro-intestinal pain, stomach cramps 
  • Fever, colds, chills, headaches 
  • Chronic rheumatism, deafness, paralysis, typhus 
  • Burns, scalds, insect stings and bites 
  • Congestion, bronchial affections, respiratory problems
  • Pimples, skin eruptions, swollen lymph nodes
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Wild Geranium 

Geranium maculatum 

A native perennial, 1-2 feet in height with a hairy and branched stem. It has both basal and leaves and stem leaves. Two to ten rose to violet colored flowers appear in a loose corymb at the tip of the stems, just above the uppermost set of paired leaves. They are 1-2 inches across and possessed of five petals, ten stamens, and a long pistil that develops into a slender, beaked, five-chambered seed pod. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Diarrhea, hemorrhoid
  • Canker sores, aching or infection teeth, infected gums 
  • Ulcers, bleeding wounds
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Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana 

A 3-6 inch tall perennial herb. The dark-green leaves are wholly basal and are divided into three, coarsely-toothed, broadly-elliptical leaflets, each growing 1-1 ½ inches long. The flowers each possess five rounded petals, five sepal, and five bracts. The fruits consist of small, dark, hard achenes embedded in a red, fleshy, top-shaped receptacle–a berry. 

Medicinal uses: 

  • Fevers, sunburn, anemia 
  • Colds, rheumatism, gout 
  • Bladder, kidney, and urethral problems 
  • Gonorrhea and irregular menstruation 
  • Jaundice, poor appetite, and dyspepsia 
  • Sore gums, sore throat, and diarrhea 
  • Stomach cramps, stomach ache, infant colic 
  • Sores and burns

More Information:

Contact Wisdom Ways at info@wisdomwayscenter.org or call 651-696-2788 for questions about our labyrinths and programs.

We do not recommend using these plants in place of needed medical care or advice.

Wisdom Ways Outdoor Labyrinths