Stone Root – Collinsonia canadensis

Stone Root - Collinsonia canadensis, photos by Steven Foster

Overall At-Risk Score: 41

Latin name:

Collinsonia canadensis

Common Name:

Richweed, Stone root

Family:

Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Lifespan:

Perennial

Reproduction:

Stone root spreads its pollen via bumblebees, and its seeds are a food source for the bobwhite quail and other birds, who serve as the primary mode of transportation for these seeds.

Geographic Region:

Stone root is commonly found in the eastern half of the U.S. Specifically, it grows in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Habitat:

Stone root prefers rich soil and lives in moist, rocky woodlands.

Ability to Withstand Disturbance and Overharvest:

As the most common part of Collinsonia canadensis to be used is the root, wild harvest commonly results in the death of the plant, making it particularly vulnerable to overharvest.

Status of Endangered/Threatened (by state):

Collinsonia canadensis is listed as “Endangered” in Wisconsin.

Collinsonia canadensis has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN Red List8

Part of Plant Used/Active Medicinal Compounds:

Historically, stone root was used primarily by the Cherokee and Iroquois. The Iroquois used this plant as a cure-all but made specific note that it was given to listless children, as well as those with headaches or blood, heart, or kidney issues. The Cherokee noted use in treating swollen breasts, as a deodorant, and as an emetic to induce vomiting. Modern herbalists and natural medical practitioners suggest it has potential as a diuretic, and as a treatment for urinary tract pain.

Recommendations For Industrial and Home Use:

Always consult your doctor before taking any new medications or supplements, and use cultivated plants over wild-harvest.

Citations

  • Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey, 1975, Cherokee Plants and Their Uses — A 400 Year History, Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co., page 52
  • Herrick, James William, 1977, Iroquois Medical Botany, State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis, page 428, 429
  • Hilty, John, (n.d.), Richweed (Collinsonia canadensis), Retrieved August 19, 2019, from http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/richweed.html
  • Taylor, Linda Averill, 1940, Plants Used As Curatives by Certain Southeastern Tribes, Cambridge, MA. Botanical Museum of Harvard University, page 53
  • USDA, (n.d.), Plants Profile for Collinsonia canadensis (richweed), Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=COCA4

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