Its that time of year when life is in full bloom and Creation is lush and begging to be recognized! Our family has been doing nature walks and wildcrafting since the beginning. We enjoy it very much and we have been blessed to learn about plants' uses and also which ones to stay away from. It is good to be in touch with Creation - to know what it edible, medicinal, usable otherwise or to be avoided. We have bookshelves full of nature guides and books on the topics. (As well as guides to help us identify birds, spiders, insects, and animals.) It is such a wonderful hobby and skill that not only helps us understand and appreciate this amazing ecosystem we live in, but it also is a bounding experience between each of our family members as we learn and grow and share together. I highly recommend it!
However, have you ever turned to a guide that lists them by their name (or better yet their Latin names! urg...) ...or maybe the pictures are sketched pencil drawings without color? For the newbie - this can be VERY discouraging! When you don't know what you are looking for or looking at - thumbing a hundred options becomes exhausting, doesn't it?
Today, I was reminded about this WONDERFUL online tool for identifying wild flowers and herbs. You click a multiple-choice questioner for the classic identifying markers you look for in plants that separate them from one another. (Which is a good exercise to learn in the identification process!) Hit the search button and if gives you a list of flowers (with pictures) to help you see which one it is. What a wonderfully efficient search engine this is! www.MyWildflowers.com There are several ways to search. (To find the search mentioned above, choose "Identify an Unknown Flower" and it will take you right to the questioner.)
Here is a resource for tree identification which similarly, takes you through some questions to identify trees - step by step. http://www.oplin.org/tree/
Once you know what it is, then you can look them up in your guides or type in the name of the item in google with the word "properties" after it. Then you should be able to choose from sites that will teach you about the plant or tree's different uses.
I hope these tools might help you stop and taste the wood sorrel and that you enjoy it as much as we do!