By Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Natural Resource Conservation District hosted a plant identification field day outside Morris, OK on Sept. 24.
According to MCN Conservationist Julie Norem, the plant ID day is to help producers and land owners understand what is growing on their land. In partner with MCN Conservation District the State Soil Health Coordinator for Oklahoma Conservation Commission Amy Seiger added, the field day gives them an opportunity to give more information about the plants that are growing in current and historical value.
“Part of the soil health program is teaching and educating diversity in our landscapes,” Seiger said. “We can incorporate some of the Native uses for the plants, and give economic value to our producers for keeping the plants.”
Some of the plants being studied on that day was the broomsedge, poison ivy, boneset, rabbit tobacco and goldenrod.
The broomsedge has some grazing value but not as much as the other plants that were identified. Poison ivy has a nutritional value for goats. The boneset plant, blooms late and it provides a nutritional value for insects.
“The heads of the boneset was used for reducing fever, and a Muscogee (Creek) member said it was used for bone injuries long ago,” Seiger stated.
Norem added the rabbit tobacco plant had some historical and cultural significance for medicinal purposes. She found the rabbit tobacco plant had a maple syrup scent to it. The goldenrod plant, according to Seiger they saw a reduction in its production when spraying out with traditional farming practices.
“The plant has a value to endangered monarchs, it gives them nutritional sources as they are migrating back to Mexico for the fall,” Seiger added about the goldenrod.
To identify a plant, they have their own characteristics for one and that is how conservationists are able to tell plants apart. There are some resources to help with identifying plants such as Roadside Plant ID for Oklahoma Plants, mobile apps like Google Lens and Picture This.
“Most plants grow in seasons,” Seiger said. “What’s great about our partnership between the districts, the commission and soil health program is teaching producers to mimmick mother nature.”
The conservationists encourages producers to keep a large diversity of different plants for each season to mimmick mother nature. When that happens it will feed the soil, nutrition for ourselves and help clean the water.
This field day was the third one for Conservation District and Commission, two years ago the first one was held in Okmulgee County then last year it was in Hughes County. They are trying to branch out and have one all around MCN boundaries.
“We have good turnouts for these events, you learn something new every year,” Norem said about the field day.
Seiger added, if the tribal community is interested in more education about plant ID to reach out to the local conservation district who will direct them to the right resources.
For more information call MCN Conservation District at (918) 549-2609.