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GroEdibles Blog

Jul 19

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE – Identifying Wild Edible Plants in Your Neck of the Woods

Posted by HGEL on 19 Jul 2011. Filed under  Garden Care, How To Guides, Plant Resources View Comments

Here are some reliable links from university cooperative extensions and other sources around the country.

As the plants will vary regionally it is important to seek out information pertaining to your specific region. REMEMBER: some plants are toxic at various levels of ingestion…single ingestion or cumulative.  Always use caution when identifying and using wild plants and, of course, NEVER eat any plant that may have been sprayed with pesticide.

“The prime directive in foraging for wild plants for consumption is simple, yet its violation has led to illness and even fatalities. You must never consume any part of any plant whose identity is questionable. There are a number of plants whose look-alikes are toxic and whose identity must carefully be ascertained before they are used.  Certain parts of some edible plants may be poisonous. Some plants are edible when young but become toxic later on. Some plants are edible during certain seasons but toxic during others. ” Familiarizing Students with some Edible & Poisonous Wild Plants, Barry s. Kendler, Dominick J. Pirone, Manhattan College, Bronx, NY, ·  The American Biology Teacher Vol. 51, No. 8 (Nov. – Dec., 1989), pp. 463-471 Published by: University of California Press.

When in doubt, don’t eat it.

How To Forage For Wild Edible Plants on Howcast



CALIFORNIA (Fee to get the full text of this article)

Central Region


NEW HAMPSHIRE: (see Forage Crops)


OHIO: (mushrooms)

OREGON: Harvesting and Marketing of Wild Edible Plants – Steve Clements, Oregon State University


UK – Food for Free (Collins, 1972) Richard Mabey

Edible Wild Plant, etc. Bibliography – a very good bibliography compiled by Russell A. Cohen, November 10, 1999

Links to Helpful Articles:

UC Davis Forager Explores the Wild Side of CA  The California Aggie, UC Davis  May 19, 2014

Dandelions: Eat Your Weeds – Making Melanoma Self Destruct   Washington Post, Health & Science, Spring 2011

Try Foraging For Your Thanksgiving Meal! NPR Nov. 21, 2010

Lambsquarter: Wild Spinach In Your Yard Mother Nature Network

What You Should Know About Wild Onions The Survivalist Blog dot net

Good Questions: Dude, Where Can I Score Some Purslane –

Weed Gallery: Miners Lettuce UC Davis Integrated Pest Management (Lists foraging guides books for many regions of the U.S.)

Food Foraging: Find and Enjoy Wild Edible Plants – Mother Earth News

A Remedy for Weeds – Eat Them – Washington Post

How to Identify a Wild Dandelion–

A note from HGEL:

The inherent risk in ‘wildcrafting”, “foraging”, or “forest farming”, unless guided by an expert, is illness or even death by mistakenly eating a plant that is toxic, a toxic plant part or a plant that is in its toxic phase. Therefore, HGEL strongly recommends cultivating safe wild plants from seeds bought from a reliable seed company. I have begun a listing of these plants and seed companies here and will update this list from time to time.


Seed Sources for Wild Edibles:

Territorial Seed Company – wild lettuces, dragon carrots, wild arugula (sylvetta), wild garden mustards, purslane, miners lettuce

Johnny Selected Seeds Company – wild arugula, wild bergamot, wild marjoram, Matt’s Wild Cherry tomato

Wild Edible Seeds – Agave, Amaranth, wild asparagus, burdock, clovers, plantain, pennycress, sorrels


Click here to download article

13 Unexpected Ways to DIY with Dandelions

A collection of recipes and craft projects using one of the most famous wild edibles!

Finding Flavor in the Weeds



Punk Domestics

10 Ways to Forage in L.A.


Lambsquarters: Weed Harvested as Wild Food

Los Angeles Times

Papalo in the Garden: A Wild Summer Cilantro

Los Angeles Times

Facts on Fiddleheads

University of Maine Cooperative Extension


Foraging Instructors in LA


Pascal Baudar – Urban Outdoor Skills

Foraging Classes/Workshops

Sacred Earth

Foraging Classes/Instructors

Foragers Harvest


A Forest Garden…

Identifying and Foraging Fiddleheads

3 Responses to “WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE – Identifying Wild Edible Plants in Your Neck of the Woods”

  1. Excellent post indeed. My mother has been awaiting for this information.

    Posted by Simulador Hipotecas on April 4th, 2011 at 8:02 am Reply

  2. I am glad that I read this interesting entry. Good luck 🙂

    Posted by Andrzej on April 20th, 2011 at 2:54 am Reply

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    Posted by logitechg27 on April 28th, 2011 at 3:39 pm Reply

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