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Grow with KARE: Nature's toilet paper

With a lighthearted look at our current situation, Bobby and Laura highlight some natural toilet paper grown for you by Mother Nature ... just in case.

For some of us, toilet paper is hard to come by these days. So if you're really in a jam, Mother Nature does grow some natural toilet paper. But be sure you have done your research and are sure of what you are picking!


  • Aka cowboy toilet paper
  • Recognized by the tall flower stalk with small yellow flowers resembling a giant candlewick
  • Find it growing wild almost anywhere the sun’s light reaches, even in open woodlands
  • Large and velvety leaves make for a top toilet paper choice

Big-leaved Aster

  • Aka lumberjack toilet paper or large leafed aster
  • Grows in the shade especially in open woods
  • Lowest leaves are up to 8” wide and heart shaped
  • Flowers are typical aster with thin, pale-purple petals around a yellow center 


  • Grows in woodland edges, open woodlands
  • Leaves are rounded star shaped
  • No prickles on the stems
  • Red berries are delicious and resemble raspberries

Common Mallow

  • Part shade or sun in gardens and waste spaces
  • Leaves are round to kidney shaped and deeply scalloped, up to 3” across

Lamb’s Ear

  • Small but very soft, velvety leaves
  • Light silvery-green in color
  • Grows almost anywhere, typically in gardens with bright purple or fuscia flowers
  • Leaves are smaller than other options, just 1” to 2” wide.

AVOID - Leaves of three, let it be

  • Poison ivy is actually where this rule holds true. Shaped like a mitten and shiny.
  • Poison oak looks only slightly different. The leaves are more rounded and resemble an oak leaf with a hairy surface. Leaves may come in groups of three, five or seven.
  • Poison sumac is clustered in leaf groups of seven to thirteen. The end has one leaf by itself.

If you do choose to use some natural toilet paper it's a good idea to test it first by rubbing the elaf over a small area of your body like an arm and wait to see if you have a reaction. Again, always do your research and make sure you are certain of the plant before using it in any way.

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