There were a couple more things I snapped while out the other day. Below is the seedhead from the Jack in the Pulpit plants that we saw in the early spring. The seedhead is fairly large, possibly the size of a small lime. Note the leaves on the foreground are violet leaves (to give you some idea of the size). The dark twigs falling away on either side are the stems of the jack in the pulpit leaves.
When my sister and her husband bought the property years ago, the previous owner told them that he'd planted some ginseng but didn't remember where he'd planted it. The next autumn, the woods were alive with these vibrant red balls and for a moment there.... but no. Looking it up in field guides we were disappointed to find that they were jack.
Another plant that grows prolifically along the so-called path is the Spicebush. Lindera benzoin of the Laurel family. From the Peterson Field Guide: Uses... American Indians used berry tea for coughs, cramps, delayed menses, croup, measels, bark tea for sweating, "blood purifier," colds, rheumatism, anemia. Settlers used berries as an Allspice substitute.
Medicinally, the berries were used as a carminative for flatulence and colic. The oil from the fruits was applied to bruises and muscles or joints (for chronic rheumatism). Twig tea was popular for colds, fever, worms, gas, and colic. The bark tea was once used to expel worms, for typhoid fevers, and as a diaphoretic for other forms of fevers.
Next week Sarah Campbell and I are giving a class on Folk Remedies. We got together yesterday to plan and decide which plants to discuss. We settled on about 15 - which isn't as easy as it sounds. There are so many plants within 50 feet of almost any doorway that can be used in folk remedies. Never even thought of the spicebush, for example.