The Sacramento District Review – October 2013

In this Month’s Issue:
Special Forest Products
Evening Lecture Series
Kids Corner

The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


Special Forest Products

-Kathy Wallace

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus

Very often we just consider the national forests as a place for recreation, wildlife, timber and livestock grazing.  However, the national forests across the United States provide many products, some of which are referred to as non-timber forest products, secondary forest products and/or special or specialty forest products.  These include botanicals, which can be edible, medicinal or ornamental plants, fungi, microorganisms and wood products which are not lumber, pulpwood,   cull logs,   small roundwood, house logs and utility poles. Also excluded from this category are minerals, animals, animal parts, insects, worms, rocks, water and soil.  The Forest Service refers to these products as Special Forest Products (SFPs).

Fuelwood is one product which is sold and utilized in many areas of this country.  Other commercially viable products include ferns, tree boughs and other plants contributing to the floral and Christmas greens industries, huckleberries, maple products (mainly from the private sector) and pine straw and ginseng (mainly from the southeastern part of the U.S.).

Some examples of edible products include wild mushrooms, such as morels and chanterelles, ramps (wild leeks) and nuts such as black walnuts, hickory nuts, pecans and hazelnuts.  Although these can be found within the national forests in different parts of the country, most of these commodities come from private lands. Other products which are made of wood, but are considered special wood products are burls and other handicrafts which are made from wood, such as clocks.  Burls are large, abnormal bulges that form on the trunks or limbs of a tree.

Some of the special forest products which are found on the Sacramento Ranger District include fuelwood, tree boughs and botanicals.

Some of these botanicals have historically been utilized for food or for medicinal purposes, but are not necessarily used for those purposes now.

When discussing edible botanicals, it is important to understand that they can easily be misidentified, which could result in human poisoning.  Although there are field nexium generic usa identification guides available, it is best to learn from someone who is experienced in collecting and consuming or utilizing them.  Before ingesting parts of these plants or using them for medicinal purposes, professionals should be consulted.

Century Plant

Century Plant

Agave parryi. Common names: Century plant, Parry’s agave; mescal.  It is called century plant because it only blooms once in its lifetime (25-30 years) and it dies following blooming. The heart of the plant can be baked and eaten.  The sap is antiseptic, diuretic and a laxative.  The leaves contain saponins and an extract of them can be used as soap.

Mirabilis multiflora.  Colorado four o’clock.  Although it has been historically used for food and as a medicinal, its current main function is as an ornamental.

Opuntia eangelmannii  Engelmann’s prickly pear is one of the two species of prickly pear cactus that grows on the Sacramento Ranger District.  All have flat, fleshy pads that look like leaves.  The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions including water storage, photosynthesis and flower production.  The pads and the fig-sized reddish fruit can be eaten.  The pad seem most palatable to the American taste when cooked with other ingredients like cornmeal, but the fruit is tasty by themselves.  However, one has to learn to deal with the needles.

For more information on SFPs, contact the district office at 575-682-2551.


‘He has achieved success who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men
and the love of little children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who has left the world better than he found it,
whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;
who has always looked for the best in others
and given them the best he had

Whose life was an inspiration;

Whose memory a benediction.’

-Bessie Stanley 1905


Evening Lecture Series

  The October 10th lecture, “OHV Use on National Forests” will be presented 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Sacramento Ranger Station, #4 Lost Lodge Rd. in Cloudcroft.

Upcoming Lecture

Nov. 14th-The History of the CCC



Kids Corner

October Kid's Corner

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