One of the foundational elements of learning herbal medicine is knowing the plants. When we develop an intimate knowledge of the plants, we are better able to choose the best plant for the job.
I created plant identification cards for my children to color and attach to a metal ring. They can easily flip through the flashcards and read the names of each herb. On the back of each flashcard, I wrote the Latin binomial. Even at a very young age they can start to associate each plant with its Latin name.
I chose 6 herbs that either grow around us or ones that we are likely to use. For instance, we have plantain and cleavers growing in our yard. I included these two so that the kids can learn the names on the card and then relate them to the plants outside.
I created our flashcards using Adobe Illustrator and public domain line drawings I found at the USDA Plant Database. However, another idea is to take index cards and have the kids draw the plants on one side and write the name on the other side. Hole punch the corners of the cards and attach a metal ring to keep the cards together in one place.
The cards can also be taken on plant walks to help with plant identification. As your kids get older and want to learn more deeply, they can write more information on the backs of the cards (herbal actions, constituents, indications, contraindications). Creating plant identification cards is a learning tool that will grow with them and be a benefit for years to come!