"Foraging" for greens, edible weeds, etc?

Like going out in your backyard/neighborhood/local park and picking wild edibles…does anyone do this? I live in the southeast US and there’s a wide variety of plant life here, and I’d love to be able to take advantage of some of it. I know for a fact that there’s boysenberry bushes growing in the community meadow across from my apartment complex.

After of course being able to accurately identify my plants, my primary concern is wondering what landscapers may have covered in pesticides in the less wooded areas, and knowing what could be infected with parasites or other toxic organisms in the wilder areas?

Anybody have any experience with this sort of thing? Any books or sites to recommend for wild plant food identification?


  • Yes! I do this everday for ingredients to put in my green smoothies. Purslane, clover, plantain, dandelion, malva, and even grape leaves are on the menu. If it was spring it would also be mustard and lambsquarters. You MUST know how to positivly id these things though and I do not pick right by the road or sprayed areas. These greens have some of the greatest concentrations of nutrients and in a smoothie with fruit they taste great too. A good book would be Eat the Weeds and there is some instruction on YouTube about foraging and a group at www.yahoo.com/groups The name of the group is ForageAhead. Good luck Rosemary

  • Thanks I have been interest in wild edibles.

  • I have heard from many proponents of wild edibles (aka weeds) and they make very compelling arguments. Worldwide our soil is losing nutrients because of large-scale farming, but uncultivated land is still capable of producing nutrient-rich foods.

    Sergei Boutenko is popular in weed-eating circles – here’s a brief article by him:


    And basic info


  • Thank you Rosemary! I will definitely be checking out that book and the vids/group. Thanks!

    I didn’t even think about clover, I didn’t know it was edible for humans! That grows everywhere here and I can id it. Being in Georgia, almost anything that stands still long enough has kudzu growing on it (a Japanese ivy that was brought here at the turn of the century and literally overran the Southeast), and I know the leaves are edible, I’ve just never had the guts to try them. (though “fried kudzu” is apparently a standard rural southern edible).

    I live in the suburbs but there are lots of woods and trails behind my neighborhood, and I live near the Chattachooche river national recreation area, so I guess those would be the places I should stick to where there would be less chance of spraying?

    Thank you again!

  • Oh thank you too Suasoria! Will check those out as well!

  • Oh, I should add that not everything that is edible cooked is edible raw. Before you eat anything “strange” please make sure that you research it and know that you are doing the right thing! Also some things that are said to be slightly toxic such as carrot tops can be eaten with other greens in moderation. Natures way of not wanting use to eat one thing all up. Just use knowlege with wisdom and I think you will be very happy with the results.

  • You better check on getting wild edibles at the National Park. It may be illegal at the one near you.

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