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Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Great Basin Desert: Reno Area
September 18, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Great Basin Desert: Seasonal Herb Walk (Reno/Tahoe Area)
Stretching from the Eastern Sierra escarpment of California and reaching all the way to the west slope of Utah’s Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin is the largest desert biome found entirely within the borders of the United States. Generally referred to as a “cold” desert, it receives its meager annual allotment of precipitation (averaging around 9 inches) mostly as snow. To the untrained eye this gray, expansive “sagebrush ocean” often appears bleak and lifeless…but upon closer more skillful examination nothing could be further from the truth! Early autumn (after the searing heat of summer has abated yet before any significant snowfall) happens to be the IDEAL time to explore this majestic landscape of shrub dominated valleys, riparian canyons, piñon/juniper foothills, and high desert mountains. Join us as we discover together many of the amazing native/naturalized edible & medicinal plants that can be found growing throughout this uniquely diverse bioregion. Topics to be covered during class include: field botany/plant I.D, plant family characteristics, legal-ethical harvesting/processing/preparation methods, edible/medicinal/utilitarian uses, regional ethnobotany, plant toxicology (plus tips on how to avoid poisonous look-alike species), natural history, plant conservation and at-risk species, sampling of a variety of wild edible & medicinal plant preparations, and more! Our study will emphasize a dynamic sensory awareness of the plants via close observation, touching, tasting, and smelling. This class should prove to be insightful and rewarding for anyone interested in knowing more about the flora of this often underappreciated part of the American West.