What wild plants do you collect?


Anyone using cattails as vegetables https://www.ediblewildfood.com/cattail.aspx ? Many people use them for basket weaving & hat making. Anyone eating milk weed http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/food-drink/you-can-eat-this-but-should-you-1/?
There is great information in this older thread Wild herbs and trees - useful and hardy! and this one Distilling Mint Oils


I collect human and bee and bird foods.

I border my property with burdock. Its got hosta look and i like it and its free. Roots can be roasted. I pulled some snd havent cooked them yet but had kinda nutty, tato-like smell and feel.
Chicory and dandelion greens. Stinging and deadnettles. Garlic mustard, within reason bc it spreads like mint. Tastes good.
Have a corner of poke but thats zombie apocalypse rations.

Pollinator friendlys i dig up and move to my bee’s acre (well, patch not acre) i will pull over and dig out a nice specimen if i see something i want to add. Thats def my collecting hobby right now
Just added a border of liatris which feeds pollinators all summer and goldfinches and chickadees and cardinals in fall and winter


Nothing too crazy, but I do gather a bunch of black raspberries, persimmons and pawpaws from a local park.


So far:

Elderberries made a fairly gross, “foot-tasting” wine But the second batch rose was fairly good. That was raw berries.

Elderberries made a damn good pie, cooked…seedy but tasty in a dark-fruit way—it could easily compete w blackberry or blueberry.

Making elderflower wine this year, an undetermined work in progress.

Wild leeks this spring, i will absolutely chase more nect year but great sauteed alone or w other vegetables.

Chokecherries made a very very good wine. So did wild-foraged crabapples and grapes.

We routinely eat a handful here and there of serviceberry, mulberry, gooseberry, assorted cane berries but never so many we cooked or fermented them.

I will eat purselane, cattail, grass at the tender stalk portion, etc. as a nibble, same w wild ground cherry, highbush cranberry, wintergreen.

Elm samras esp from boxelder are very good and abundant.

I have not, but intend to try garlic mustard and nettles,

I also pick mushrooms and snack on wild sorrel. Keep hoping to pick enough wild plums for wine, too.


“Wild plants” = “native plants” + “naturalized plants”.

My answer: several.


I frequently think about things my relatives taught me about eating common wild greens eg. lambs quarter, Polk, dock, dandelion etc… My grandmother viewed the great outdoors as her garden. Every spring she believed in gathering wild plants as her Native American relatives had always done. My mother gathers Polk every year during spring when it’s small in spite of it long being considered a poisonous plant. It must be boiled twice and poisonous water must be poured off. I highly recommend people don’t eat polk because it has killed many people. Our bodies may have additional immunity due to the many generations before us who ate it. The many generations of wild plant eaters in my family go back further than any records. @markalbob I can tell you certainly do know your wild plants just based on what you wrote. I would love to see you post some pictures at some point when you get a chance. Wild plants are tricky because there is a time and a place to eat them just like when a tomato ripens. As your aware most books may show a picture of Polk greens but the author frequently does not know the only time to harvest them is in the spring when they are a few inches tall. I see pictures in books showing berries and full large leaves which we know is highly poisonous.


we pick fiddleheads and dandelions in early spring. blanch and freeze enough for the rest of the year. dandelions are easy to harvest under my big pines. they pull easily out of the pine needles. they are a acquired taste but very nutritious. started a patch of stinging nettles . going to eat some and feed some to the chicks, ducks and geese. when i was younger we used to pick wild strawberry, raspberry, chokecherry, hazelnut, beachnut and blueberries.


We will go to a local park and pick as many wineberries as we have time for. I will harvest dandelions, purslaine, and garlic mustards from my yard. I made a dandelion wine two years ago, which was okay.


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.


I see some folks mentioning purslane. I remember pulling the stuff in my Grandma’s garden when I was a kid. We never ate any of it. Today, I pulled a bunch out of the garden and figured I’d add some to a salad. My wife wouldn’t try it, but I put a fair amount of purslane on mine. Just another leafy/crunchy thing in a salad. Nothing too exciting, but certainly not off-putting either.


I helped my neighbor at the community garden “weed” her plot and this is what I came home with.

Yep thats a sink full of purslane. I have no idea what to do with it. I will likely try pickling it.


I collected elder flower once and made syrup. It was very good I planted 7 bushes. This year the strongest two set plenty of fruit.

I picked plenty of Purslane this year. I am hoping to maybe make pickles.

I have access to wild sun chokes in the fall/winter but they are over grown and develop small tubers. I am actualy trying to eradicate them.

I managed to find a large Chicken of the Woods Mushroom once. and I still have quite a bit of that frozen in the freezer.

Wild blackberries are a thing but so thorny its almost impractical. I am hopeing to find some wine berries this year. Found a few blackcaps last year.

The community garden is overrun with Violets. Next year I am going to harvest and candy them. Do violets flower again in the fall?

Dandelion, clover flowers of coarse.

I am planning to add Japanese Knotweed to my list next spring.

every few years, plums from the purple leafed cerasifera the city plants are a welcome treat.


This year I made a salve out of dandelion, and it works great for bug bites. It is supposedly an analgesic, so good for sore muscles. My husband is a chef and gets sore from standing and chopping for hours, and I have found this salve to help his back.

I tried to candy violets, and only got about ten done. It is very tedious work! The petals are so delicate that trying to paint the egg white on is time consuming and made my back ache. But the few I did get done are pretty. I’d use them if I was making an occasion cake, I suppose.

My kids love to munch purslane, so I let it grow within reason in the garden.

Elderflower syrup and tea is delicious, and I do elderberry syrup too. Will try a jam this year also.

We have wild plum growing down the street in a park. The pit is very large with only a small layer of fruit “meat”, then the skin is thick and super puckery tart. I and even my kids who suck on lemons like it’s no big deal can only handle a few at a time. The same park has serviceberry and apples, which are great!

Planning to harvest black walnut this year, probably will use it mainly for bird food. I have a daughter who is allergic to peanuts, and most tree nuts are packaged with peanuts, so she can’t have them. Maybe wild black walnut will be the way to go to get her some nut protein.

Sumac lemonade will be tried this fall.

Found three morels here this year, but it’s the most I’ve ever found, so I was excited!

Made syrup from box elder trees this spring, turned out great. Would love to try birch syrup for birch beer but haven’t located trees to tap yet.


i read the spring sprouts taste like asparagus . afraid to try it as anyone that has a patch of that stuff is trying to kill it or at least keep it at bay with round up! toughest weed in the world!


You may know already but you can tap those nut trees also and make syrup from them Tapping trees for their sap


I read that texture is like asparagus and the flavor is like Rhubarb. I have also read the flavor is nothing like Rhubarb but more like lemon. The concessions seems to be you can substitute it 1:1 for Rhubarb and you get a lemony product and as a asparagus substitute you get a lemony stalk with inferior texture. Both sound great to me because you know FREE.

I also plan to harvest roots after the stalks die down to the ground chop and dry them for tea.

I am still trying to figure out if the leaves can be used. I think they may have oxalic acid like rhubarb leaves do but not finding definifiteve info.


I’ve munched so heavily on the wild purslane that I wiped it out as a week in my yard (and 2 neighbor’s yards as well). Leaves are good in salad.

Lambs quarters are good and I’ve put a hurting on them as well.

I added nettles this year. I used to get fiddleheads, but I’m not near a good source anymore.

I finally won the battle against Jerusalem artichokes and I’m in no rush to replant them.

I’ve never cared for dandelions. Maybe I’m just picking them too late…



got to get them before they start to produce a flower bud. in a warm spring its easy to miss this window of opportunity.


you can plant your own fiddleheads if you have a shady moist low spot in your yard. got mine i think from park or jung seed and planted in a low spot in compost under my big spruces. they’re small right now but will take off and spread next year. alot of people grow their own patch of wild dug fiddleheads on their property. many people sell them in the farmers markets in the spring. they even sell then at the grocery stores. we usually pick around a local stream. we blanch and freeze about 50lbs. for the winter. planted some less stinging type nettles i got from Oikios. if i don’t care for them ill harvest them and feed to the chickens.


I’ve picked lots of stuff over the years. Poke, cattails, burdock, mustard greens, mints, nettles, etc etc. The only wild plants I still find worth pursuing are paw paws, persimmons, wineberries, and occasionally some nuts. Mushrooms too, of course, more than anything- but those aren’t plants…