Like most of you, what I collect varies year to year depending on weather and how well plants grew and if they produced. Some are native specieas, some are naturalized, and some are just abandoned. From field borders, prairie, ditches, abandoned farmsteads, etc., I often collect strawberries, mulberries, chokecherry, elderberries and elderflowers, blackberries, gooseberries, plums, persimmons, crab apples, pears. Asparagus grows in the ditches but it is very hard to catch before it gets woody. Lambs quarters, chickweed, purslane, violet, wood sorrels, chicory, and dandelion all grow around my yard and are easy to pick. I try sneak the greens and flowers into spring salads or smoothies. I have roasted dandelion root and ground it for coffee, and am going to do the same with the chicory root I harvested this spring. For homemade tinctures, salves, balms, teas, etc. I collect plants like plantain, yarrow, mullein, hawthorn, Red clover, chickweed, dandelion, black Sampson, St John’s Wort, bee balm, Elderberry/flower, raspberry and blackberry leaves, New Jersey Tea, lemon balm, rose hips and flowers (I grow calendula, mints and other herbs that are not wild).
I sometimes pick hickory nuts and acorns, but the majority have worms before I get them. Black walnuts are abundant and I collect some if there’s enough time. Pecans I have to hunt more for and get to them before the squirrels do, which is not easy!
Plants that are difficult to find near home are burdock and stinging nettles. Plants I keep meaning to collect and try are sumac berries, Jerusalem artichokes, hog peanuts, Prairie turnip, Kentucky coffee bean, wild salsify and cattail tubers.