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Native edible plants of the Continental US

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Just for the sake of people looking into this, I figured I'd make a list. I don't know everything about all these plants, I haven't tried all of them, not all of them are easy to find for sale or grow & I recommend further research. I will try to explain anything I know about some of these, though. If anyone has plants I don't bring up, or think my info is off, you're free to discuss.

I'm going to start with what grows in my home state, Ohio, then bring up other plants & their home regions. So, hope this helps people who are looking into these things.

In Ohio:
--Acorns. from just about any oak tree, of which there are multiple native species each of Red & White Oaks. Must be shelled, then boiled multiple times until water stop discoloring to brown to remove poisonous tannic acid.

--American Lotus (Nelumbo Lutea). Native to here, but invasive in other parts of the US. Roots eaten as a vegetable (look into what Asians do, as Lotus Root is commonly eaten there), seeds can be eaten after a bit of prep & also apparently dried & popped, like popcorn & leaves were traditionally used to wrap foods for baking.

--Atlantic Camas (Camassia Scilloides). The root bulbs can be harvested, if done so sustainably, & slow cooked to be eaten. In the Southeastern US, there is a poisonous lookalike called Death Camas, but we don't have to worry about that here.

--Beech Nut. The only thing I have to say about these is that I found out you don't necessarily have to wait for the pods to open before you can harvest them. If you put them in the fridge on a plate for a few hours, they'll open all by themselves, so long as they're in season.

--Bergamot. Three native species are Wild, White & Scarlet Bergamot. Can be used as spice & made into tea. Native women also used to distill the oils of the flowers to make perfume.

--Black Nightshade (Solanum Americanum) I don't take responsibility for what happens if you screw it up, but this species can be boiled & eaten as a salad green under the right circumstances. That being said, getting the safety specifics right is a pain & some communities in the world where Black Nightshade is commonly eaten as a vegetable also have higher incidences of throat cancer potentially linked to the practice. At the very least, screwing it up means a hospital trip at best, if not an early grave. Cherokee were noted to have eaten it, but whether it was normally consumed or just used as a survival food, who knows.

--Black Raspberry. Native species of raspberry. Distinguished by purple color of vines with milky, ashy white smears in winter, which change to bright green in summer. Fruit tends to ripen here by the second half of June, but berries don't ripen all at once & ripe berries must be picked incrementally to allow the plant to both provide more nutrients to the remaining berries & to train them to produce more. I suggest checking twice a week once ripe berries begin to appear.


--Bog Rosemary (Andromeda Polifolia). It kind of looks like an evergreen shrub with pink flowers. While poisonous, the leaves can be picked & made into sun tea or iced tea with room temp. or cold water. Using boiling water will poison the tea.

--Yellow Buckeye. The same rules that apply to acorn apply to Buckeye. In fact, the native Yellow Buckeye is said to have the best quality Buckeyes you can get anywhere in the world, so take advantage.

--Buckwheat. Multiple different species exist across the continent. Natives in the east once seem to have had a domesticated Buckwheat, but gave it up once corn arrived in the region, among other plants. Since China also domesticated Buckwheat & it's not difficult to come by, the plant is largely ignored. Natives seem to have stopped eating it in the east altogether after domestication practices ended, but wild Buckwheat was still consumed on the west coast.

--Buffalo Gourd. Plant was domesticated to create squash & pumpkin. There is a risk of poison my saponins  (basically naturally occurring soap) & this risk is different depending on what part of the country you live in, apparently. Natives in the southwest claim they are completely inedible, but people who live in other areas of it's range say they're fine. Here, Buffalo Gourd is only native to southern & western Ohio, but it's total range goes through the Great Plains & south into Mexico. If you're worried about edibility, I'd just stick with squash or pumpkin.

--Bunchberry (Cornus Canadensis). A species of Dogwood which grows as forest ground cover instead of as a tree. Produces berries which are technically edible, but not good, unless cooked with sugar. To my knowledge, this plant is only eaten by west coast tribes, despite the current understanding that there the plants occuring in both regions are the same species. I don't know, maybe the western strain is better quality, or has a different flavor.

--Bur Cucumber (Sicyos Angulatus).

--Butternut/ Walnut. Two species of related tree which produce edible nuts. Butternuts are endangered due to disease, but still thrive fine in some places, seemingly. The fruit which contains the nuts is perfectly round on Walnuts & slightly pear shaped on Butternuts. Wear gloves when harvesting. The juice of the inedible fruit is invisible & odorless, but will almost permanently stain anything they touch black within an hour or so. It's almost impossible to get off, meaning you could be stuck like that for weeks.

--Lily. Mainly, I'm referring to the tall orange lilies with darker spots on the petals which, here, are usually all called Tiger Lilies. We have three native species-- Canadian Lily in northern Ohio, Michigan Lily in the west & Turk's Cap Lily in the east, with actual Tiger Lilies as an invasive species. While damn near impossible to tell them apart, all four have edible roots.

--Cattail. The roots were soaked in water to make a thickening gel, which native peoples' traditionally used in lieu of milk for baking before whites came. Supposedly, you can also eat the stalks, which taste like cucumber, but I haven't figured out the correct time frame for harvesting.

--Black Cherry.

--Chestnut. American Chestnut have been going extinct, due to disease, so this may not be easy to find. You can try planting European or Chinese Chestnuts in their stead, though, if you want them bad enough. Don't confuse them with Horse Chestnuts, which are poisonous.

--Chokeberry (Aronia Melanocarpa). A fruiting bush that makes black, edible berries. They must be picked at the right time, or they taste awful, apparently. There is also Red Chokeberry, which does not seem to be considered edible & if they're planted too close together, they can hybridize into Purple Chokeberries. They were apparently shipped back to Europe & started being farmed in places like Poland & Russia, where they're highly esteemed as a superfood.


--Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis). Grows in forests. The only thing I can tell you is that it has edible nectar & they produce a lot of it, so you can carefully squeeze out the flowers in you hand or a cup without disturbing the plant. Just be careful none of the plant gets in your cup, or you don't piss off a bee or something.

--Cow Parsnip. These are the big, white, flat headed flowers you find in ditches in summer, though they can be mistaken for pye weed or invasive Queen Anne's Lace. Their sap has a chemical which reacts to sunlight when out in the open to create almost instant, severe sunburn. Edible root.



--Dandelion. Whole thing is edible. Invasive Dandelions are more common than natives, but the same rules apply regardless.

--Dewberry. Distant relative of Blackberry/ Raspberry family that grows on a ground-hugging vine. Fruit comes in in the second half of July, instead of June. Young vines will make few, tiny berries, but the bigger it gets, the better & more impressive your berries will be. Taste like blackberries, but with vanilla aftertaste.

--Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis). A tree in the pea family with a lot of uses. They're more common on the plains in western Ohio, but will grow anywhere in the state. Edible fruit, flowers can be brewed into a bright red drink & twigs are sometimes stripped of bark & cooked with food as a spice. Removed after. In cities, you may see a lot of Chinese Redbuds as ornamentals. They're not dangerous to the environment as Chinese plants are native to mountains & can't reproduce from seed under unnatural conditions, but they require an anal amount of maintainance, compared to the native ones.

--Elderberry. All I have to say is we have regular Elderberry, which are fine, & Scarlet Elderberry, which are poisonous to people. They taste like sour grapes & I think people used them in their place when they couldn't get good grapes in their region.

--False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum Racemosum). Young stalks eaten as vegetable. Treacleberries also technically edible, but too many induces diarrhea.

--Black Huckleberry (Gaylussacia Baccarat). They grow alongside Blueberries & have similar taste. Not to be confused with the west coasts' Huckleberries, Black Huckleberries or Red Huckleberries, which are all completely different plants. In the 1800s, Huckleberry was Midwestern slang for any edible berry which you didn't know the proper name of.


--Fox Grape (Virus Labrusca). The native grape species in Ohio. You can only really have them for juice. Are too hard to eat & apparently early colonists thought they made bad wine. They were used to breed Concord Grapes, so problems may occur in proximity to domesticated grapes.

--Greenbriar (Smilax herbacea). A thorny underbrush plant which form dense thickets. Apparently can be eaten, though I don't know the circumstances. They have an oddly distinctive jungle green color to their vines that persists all year round, so they're easy to spot, once you've seen them.

--Virginian Groundcherry.

--Hackberry. Our native species are Common Hackberry & Dwarf Hackberry, which is endangered. Range maps I saw only include where the plants have been recorded, not the entirety of their technical range. Thin fruit with big seeds, but whole thing is edible & apparently tastes like peanut M&Ms. Two Native recipes I saw involved pounding the berries whole into a paste & using it as a flavoring on parched corn (aka, Corn Nuts) or as a marinade on meat.

--Harbinger of Spring (Erigenia Bulbosa). Part of the carrot family. Edible root. Have not found any, but is an early spring vegetable.

--Haws. Come in black, red, yellow & green. Color is arbitrary & not determined by seed. Tastes like an apple, but induces dry mouth, like an apricot. Usually about the size of a cherry.


--Hickory Nut. These ones, you apparently do have to wait for the pods to open. Pods are about the size of an orange, are green & contain many nuts each.

--Viburnum Berries (aka Highbush Cranberry, Mooseberry) Any of these species is technically edible, if cooked with sugar. Eating them raw, they have an extremely astringent, chemical flavor, like what you'd assume windex or pinesol tastes like. Only American Cranberrybush variety is edible right off the bush, but it only grows in extreme northern Ohio.

--Hogpeanut. A ground cover plants which is endangered in the east. Fortunately, though, it's invasive on the west coast, where it was introduced via transcontinental railroad & not difficult to get.

--Honey Locust. Flowers for tea, edible sludge (for lack of a better term) inside seed pods, but seeds themselves are not edible.

--Indian Cucumber (Medeola Virginia a). Forest plant. Edible root. Potentially endangered.

--Indian Potato (Apios Americana). Also called Hopniss or Groundnut. Entire plant edible. Flowers dried for spice, root balls, beans & stalk as vegetables. Takes 2-3 yrs to produce root balls, so harvest sustainably. Cannot grow right from seed. Must get root balls.

--Jack in the Pulpit. Edible root, though may take some work. Not difficult to find seed available, but don't know much about it. Related to Dragonroot, which seems to have similar rules.

--Jerusalem Artichoke. Edible root. Plant in sunflower family. Caught on as popular garden plant in Middle East, after being sent back to Europe. Technically native to plains in western Ohio, but will grow anywhere it's open enough here.

--Juniper Berry. Eastern Red Cedar tree, only. Most foreign Junipers have a hallucinogenic drug in dangerous levels & are considered poisonous. Only the American Eastern & Western Red Cedars have edible fruits, but only females produce fruit & it takes 2-3 years for them to grow. Still have the drug, just in safe doses, so I don't recommend a lot at once, or potentially at all if you have a family history of schizophrenia. Natives also cooked venison with a handful of Juniper berries. Susceptible to Orange Cedar rust, which is nasty, but not fatal to the trees. However, this can also spread to nearby apple, hawthorn or Serviceberry plants, where it is fatal, but can be cured with a copper based fungicidal spray, or just by fixing copped in the ground near it. Naturally, this may have occured via a relationship with Wood Sorrel, which is copper fixing.

--Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus Dioicus). Technically only common in western Ohio, but it will grow in any swampy location anywhere in the state & small pockets of them exist in Monongahela National Park in West Virginia, Allegheny in Pennsylvania & Finger Lakes in New York. Beans can be brewed into a drink or eaten-- both after roasting properly. They are poisonous until then. Natives apparently were more inclined to treat it as a soup & take the drink with the beans still in it. Early settlers used it as a substitute when African coffee was difficult to come by, but as coffee was a status symbol, the practice came to be considered low-class & died out once real coffee became easier to come by.

--Wild Kidney Bean.

--Ferns. Fiddleheads of Lady Fern or Cinnamon Fern are considered edible.

--Spicebush Laurel. A relative of Bay, where we get Bay Leaves. Use dried leaves & berries as spice, or brew leaves into tea (not recommended. Tastes like regular tea, but without the benefit of caffeine.) but remove when serving (probably keep berries in tea ball or cheesecloth to soak, & discard when done). The plant contains all the raw ingredients for cyanide & all that's missing is a catalyst to start the reaction-- your own stomach acid works nicely. So, while not technically poisonous, you will still be dead before it comes out the other end if you consume the actual plant itself. During the Revolution, people substituted Laurel leaves for tea & berries for allspice in protest of import taxes.

--Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne Calyculata). The same rules apply as those of Bog Rosemary.

--Yellow Water Lily. Edible root. Don't confuse with American Lotus & eat the wrong parts.

--Little Barley Pampas Grass (Hordeum Pussilum). Only native to southern Ohio. Was also once domesticated by Natives, before corn & similarly discarded & never eaten again.

--Maple. Syrup. If you boil the syrup the right way, a lot of the sugar will separate & you can collect & save that for other purposes. I don't know if that makes Maple Syrup any less sickly sweet, but it's worth a try.

--Mayapple. A ground cover forest plant which produces a single, edible fruit-- but, only if picked at the right time.

--Onions. We have three species of wild onion, each of which are harvested at different times & have different flavors. They are called Ramps, Meadow Garlic & Nodding Onion. All I'm currently familiar with is Meadow Garlic, which is easy enough to grow from seed, which themselves look like little tiny onions & can be used as a spice. Eating the mature bulbs is probably more advisable usage, though. You can find them easy enough, as they give off a fresh pine-tree like scent that can be followed to the source when there are clearly no pines around.

--Milkweed. Young stalks eaten as vegetable & young fruits also. Today is often pickled. I personally don't advise it, for the sake of the butterflies. It doesn't seem like it's that good, anyway.

--Mint. Various edible species, like American Mint & Wood Mint.

--Red Mulberry.

--Papaw. In Ohio, it's only considered to grow wild in southern Ohio, but apparently people have grown it fine further north, so who knows. Fist sized, bean shaped fruit with neon green skin, yellow flesh & black seeds. Tastes similar to banana. In some parts of the world, papaw is another word for papaya, but this is a separate plant altogether.

--Partridge Berry. A ground hugging vine which produces little red berries. Technically edible, though said to be tasteless. Natives apparently put them in cornbread & would mash them & make no-bake sun cakes with them, which could be soaked until dissolved to make soup stocks.

--American Butterfly Pea (Clitoris Mariana). A rare native pea which is our only edible variety in Ohio & nearly extirpated from Ohio altogether. Very hard to find from sellers. Do not confuse with Asian Butterfly Pea, which is a lot easier to come by & pretty, but still...

--Persimmon. These only grow in southern Ohio, but there are domesticated European & Asian Persimmons, some varieties of which you can grow in northern Ohio, if you want. The taste is similar to peaches in the ones I've had, but with a plum-like texture & no pit.

--Eastern Hemlock Pine. Pine nuts, cuttings for tea, tips (the tight, tender, brighter green new growth at the ends of branches in the spring) can he made into jelly. Sap used as chewing gum ingredient & needles as a spice. Other pine species may also be used-- at least for some of these-- but some pine species are poisonous, some taste bad, some don't produce good nuts, etc. Eastern Hemlocks themselves are endangered.

--Pipsissewa (Chimaphila Maculata). A small flower with edible, minty leaves. Rare. A western species is apparently easier to come by, for west coast people.

--Virginian Dwarf Plantain. A sort of edible grass, I think. Other species were also once eaten in Europe, but were also considered sacred for Pagan rituals, so the practice of eating it may have died out there because everyone was scared of being targeted for picking it for illegal reasons.

--Plum. Multiple different native species in Ohio, some easier to find seeds of than others.

--Pokeweed. A poisonous & easy to spot plant. Apparently, is still a part of Cajun/ Creole home cooking. Stalks edible after boiling three times, or something. May be more specifics to safe consumption-- I would look it up first.

--Goosefoot Quinoa. Yet another plant once domesticated by Natives, then discarded & never eaten again. Much easier to get modern domesticated Quinoa anyway.

--Red Current. Endangered on purpose, due to spreading of deadly fungus to White Pines, when they were important to the lumber industry. You need special permission from Dept. of Wildlife to have red or white currants in Ohio. Black Currants are illegal. Different states have different rules.

--Wild Rice. Only in western Ohio. If you've ever eaten anything that said it had wild rice in it, this is what you ate.

--Rock Cress (Boechera Laevigata). Tastes like mustard. Much easier to find invasive Bitter Cress, honestly. Used as spice.

--Wild Rose. A lot of places say Prairie Rose, but this leads to confusion. The native species across all of Ohio is Illinois Rose (Rosa Setigera). This is also called Prairie Rose, but so is a different species from the Great Plains (Rosa Blanda) & ours is always sold as Illinois Rose to avoid confusion. In southern Ohio, you can also get a second species called Swamp Rose. Rosehips good for tea or syrup, but not harvesting them in time means an infestation of maggots of a certain species of fly which lay their eggs inside rosehips. You can tell they're in there when the Rosehips become mushy, with black areas. Many different native species across US include New York Rose, Carolina, Cherokee, Arkansas, Texas, California, etc.

--Rowan Berry (Sorbus Americana). Fruit not great & only grows in extreme northern Ohio. Natives used dried berries as a thickener & in England, the leaves of Rowans used to be used by country folk as a salad green, before the trees became endangered there. Other species exist in different parts of the country.

--Sand Cherry (Primus Pumila). Rare edible. Hard to find seeds of. There may be different species, but all are technically classified under one umbrella term, as of right now. Better known on Great Plains, but Ohio has them too.

--Sassafras. Leaves can be gathered in August & ground into a spice called Filé, which is popular in Cajun/ Creole cooking. Can be store bought, though not sold everywhere & Louisianans swear by using it fresh instead. Roots used to be used to flavor Sarsaparilla & Root Beer, but the practice stopped once it was learned that every part of the plant aside from the leaves contain dangerous levels of a carcinogenic chemical. The Choctaw called it Kampo & used it only in ceremonial delicacies around that time of year. Some think that may be the origin of the word Gumbo.

--Serviceberry. Multiple species from across US. Native ones here are Allegheny Service Tree & Thicket Serviceberry bush. Only grow under right soil conditions. The fruit apparently looks like blueberries & tastes like a mix of blueberry & green apple.

--Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum Biflorum). Edible roots & young stalks. Relative species eaten as a delicacy in China. Don't confuse with False Solomon's Seal, as berries of this plant are poisonous.

--Spikenard. Two Native edible species are American Spikenard & False Sarsaparilla. The latter only grows under the right soil conditions. Berries (which apparently taste like Root Beer) & roots are edible, but there are many closely related species from across the US & not all are safe to eat, so research carefully. American Spikenard is common & seeds are easy to find, but False Sarsaparilla is endangered.

--Indian Strawberry. Grows on single stalks, rather than in big clumps & berries are round instead of spear shapes. Will grow just about anywhere & are often found in lawns, but will be rendered stunted or tasteless in the wrong conditions. Best if grown in forest with good soil.

--Sumac. Multiple native species. Two in my area are Elkhorn & Winged. Elkhorn, the more common of the two, is ready to be picked in July-August when it looks brown & dead from a distance, but healthy up close. It only looks that way because the seeds are yellow & the fuzz on the outside of berries is blood red, so the two colors mix at a distance. Can make Indian Lemonade (a yellow, sour drink) by brewing fresh berry cones in water, Sumac tea (a tart, brown, floral drink) from dried berry cones, or, as is done in the Middle East, grind the flesh off the berries to be used as a spice. Not as familiar with harvesting Winged Sumac, as the only ones I've seen were on the other side of town & the berries are yellow, not red, but same time frame should apply. I have tried both drinks personally, though I still suck at it. The Indian Lemonade thing did not work after last years' drought, but came out that way the year before.

--Sweet Anise. Probably more a western Ohio plant. Leaves as a vegetable & seeds, with a flavor of licorice, or Fennel Seed, as a spice.

--Wild Sweet Potato (Ipomoea Pandurata). Not a real potato, but plant has edible root after cooking. Don't know much else about it.

--Wintergreen (Gaultheria Procumbens). Leaves can be distilled into Wintergreen Oil & Teaberries grow on it. Persists all winter.

--Tockwogh. A water plant with an edible root.

--Two-Leaf Toothwort. Related to Wasabi. The root was chopped finely & used as a condiment. Today, they also mix that with vinegar.

--Wapato. A water plant with edible root. Also called Duck Potato.

--Watermelon Berry. Technically edible & tastes somewhere between watermelon & cucumber, but too many will induce diarrhea.

--Wood Sorrel. Multiple edible species, some easier to come by than others. Not necessarily rare, but stunted plants along sidewalks in cities & yards are often confused for clovers. They have heart-shaped leaves instead. Edible root & leaves for tea & spice, but questionable levels of mild poison makes it dangerous to eat for pregnant women or people with kidney problems.

Invasive edibles not from US & not previously mentioned above also include Japanese Barberry, Kudzu (thankfully not here yet, but only two counties away. Not looking forward to seeing it),  Firethorn berry & Marigold.

Further plants from other parts of US are as follows:

Eastern Canada/ extreme northeastern US:
--Rock berry

American Southeast:
--Goji berry
--Magnolia fruit
--Pear Cactus Fruit
--Sea Grape
--Black Locust

--Alligator Apple
--Florida Pennyroyal
--Saw Palmetto Berry
--Yaupon Holly Tree

Great Plains:
--Goji berry
--Pear Cactus Fruit
--Prairie Potato
--Tinpsila Turnip
--White Alder Grass
--Osage Orange

Rocky Mountains/ West Coast:
--Bitter root
--Western Black Huckleberry
--Black Tree Lichen
--Blow Wife
--California Laurel
--California Poppy
--Cream Cup
--Fairy bell berry
--Goji berry
--Kouse/ Biscuit root
--Oregon Grape
--Red Huckleberry
--White Alder tree Catkins

American Southwest:
--Goji berry
--Mesa Verde Cactus Fruit
--Pear Cactus Fruit
--Saguaro Cactus Fruit

--Crow berry
--Sweetvetch root
Staff note (Nancy Reading) :

All the information on this thread is now available as a table here:

D Tucholske
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I have two new ones that I didn't hit before:

--Gopher Apple (Licania Michauxii)

--Florida Olive/ American Olive (Cartrema Americanus & Floridanus, formerly Osmanthus genus)

Both are Floridian plants. The Olives may not be true olives, but caution is advised. There is confusion as to whether or not American Olive is actually edible, but both plants are closely related. American Olive grows from Coastal Virginia, down through the southern US & straight down into northern Mexico. Gopher Apple is related to the Cocoplum I did bring up, though it's said to be mostly tasteless, it was used as food by Natives, though I haven't found any specifics.
D Tucholske
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A new one for out west are different species of Saltbush, in the Atriplex genus. Do not confuse them for members of the Baccharis genus, which are also called Saltbushes, but are poisonous. They apparently are native just about everywhere in the US west of the Mississippi River. Although other species in other parts of the world were commonly eaten, the only solid reference for Native American usage was in Nixtilimization of Corn Meal, usually to make tortillas, through using the ashes. Generally speaking, even those people's who lived in the desert had access to regular salt. The leaves of the plant taste like salt.

Many other species have also been introduced to different parts of the US, so they're not uncommon to find just about anywhere in the continental part of the country. They usually like sand, shorelines & marshes. People have found a good usage for them in planting them along roadsides, where they will absorb & dissipate excess road salts that accumulate through winter.
D Tucholske
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Three more additions:

--Pacific Madrone

--Basswood Leaves

--German Rampion

Pacific Madrone are native to the west coast. Their fruit were primarily only juiced to make a drink. Today, their habitat has been somewhat threatened & what's left of them seems to be hugging the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest at the moment, but their actual range is much wider.

The other two are natives of Ohio & large parts of the Eastern Woodlands region. Basswood trees, also known as Linden, are another which require natural soil conditions undisrupted by earthworms in order to sprout, but they also require exposure to winter conditions, making them one of the hardest plants to force-sprout. Different species exist in different parts of the country, though, & a deep south variant probably does not have the same growing issues as the northern species.

German Rampion, on the other hand, is a ridiculously common wildflower, but only comes in for a short window during the year. When they are in, they're probably one of the most abundant plants you will find, even in the city, but they bloom, then die back to earth after maybe one or two months in late summer. They say that the plant was used medicinally as a dietary supplement & as a cure for laziness, but these may just be folk remedies without any actual truth behind them. One issue is that a chemical in them has the potential to play havoc with people who suffer from depression, driving them into a brief manic state, but a lot of people claim the plant is naturally edible, so I hope that's true if I'm going to include it here. It's also related to the Pink Evening Primrose of the southwest, so that may have similar edible properties.
Some other addendums I want to make to what was written above:
1) Milkweeds: I saw someone claim recently that Common Milkweed is the only safely edible species. Don't know of that's true or not, but a Native person who does still forage commented heavily in favor of that person's videos over other unnamed peoples', so it may be true. He also gave a good indicator of if the Milkweed fruits are edible-- if you cut them open & they are still solid inside, instead of turned to fluff.

2) The Wild Sweet Potato, I somehow hadn't noticed, is a native species of Morning Glory. Apparently Morning Glories were domesticated to make Sweet Potatoes, whereas regular Potatoes came from domesticated Nightshades.
D Tucholske
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Ok, one more addendum comes for native Viburnums. There is a tree that I keep coming across each spring for the last few years that blends in too much afterwards & I lose it. This time, I used my app & it brought some new plants to my attention.

So, I said above that American Cranberrybush Viburnum is the only variety edible right off the bush & it only grows in extreme northern Ohio. But, there is also a Blackhaw Viburnum, whose range is the entirety to Ohio & down into southern states & a Sheepberry Viburnum, aka Nannyberry, whose range is a bit stilted (it's endangered in some areas) but seems to mostly hold the same general range as Cranberrybush. At least one of these-- possibly both-- are also edible right off the bush, so there are options for people in other parts of the state/ country. No clue which one my tree is, but I'm marking it out this time & will try the fruit this year to tell how it tastes.
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Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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D Tucholske wrote:

--Persimmon. These only grow in southern Ohio, but there are domesticated European & Asian Persimmons, some varieties of which you can grow in northern Ohio, if you want. The taste is similar to peaches in the ones I've had, but with a plum-like texture & no pit.

Native persimmons, Diospyros virginiana, should exist in every county in Ohio.
D Tucholske
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Virginia Pepperweed (Lepidium Virginicum)-- in the mustard family. Used as a spice splubstitute for black pepper.

Creeping Cucumber (Melothria Pendula)-- A native to the Southeastern US in the Cucumber family. Closely related to a lesser known Mexican Indigenous food crop called Cucamelon. Must be picked while fruit is still green. If they fully ripen to black, they become a powerful laxative. People often like pickling them.

Buckbean (Menyanthes Trifoliata)-- A little known native version of a swamp plant that Europeans often ate the root of, though I can't find any info on Native American usage.

Skunk Cabbage-- two varieties of the plant in the Symplocarpus family exist in the Eastern & Western US. Was eaten, but is poisonous & a lot of bad info exists on the plant. Also, there is no supply chain for it at the moment, so it'd be rare to come across anyway. Someone who tried out various methods of de-poisoning personally said you should pick the shoots when they are very young-- which, oddly enough for this plant, happens in February, before winter is even over-- & fry them. He was repeatedly trying the multi-boiling method to no avail & did attempt that one last time before the frying, though his blog fails to mention whether both a boiling followed by a frying are needed, or just the frying. The plant, when prepared properly tastes like spicy cabbage, or, I guess, Kimchi. The Natives regard it as survival food, not normally ideal for human consumption, but will keep you alive in a pinch, though given the narrow, odd window when this plant can even be harvested-- in February-- I want to assume that it was probably still common in the native diet, anyway. What was a far more common usage by Natives was in sun-drying herbs or sun-bake cakes. The leaves smell like rotting flesh & drive most animals away, so they would always do such things on a bed of Skunk Cabbage leaves. It doesn't drive away insects, though-- in fact, it attracts then-- so maybe no as good of an idea to do today, if you have a dehydrator handy.

Turns out Bearberry & Manzanita are the same plant. Also, though it's endangered in the east, Bearberry does grow all across Canada & through the Great Lakes states, into New England. I think it's possible to get seeds, though.
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This is an awesome thread. I worked on pulling together some additions and hopefully will not repeat what you've already got here. Some things like grapes and currants, obviously there are others in addition to what you mentioned being native to Ohio, but no reason to list all of them out so I did not. So anyway, along with much of what you've already listed, here are some food plants that grow near me:

Wild strawberry
Anise hyssop
Plantain (flowering tops used as a vegetable like asparagus soon after flowers fade and fruit/seed has just formed)
Various cress/mustard greens
Birch (cambium, syrup)
Cowslips aka marsh marigold - cooked only, not raw
Spring beauty aka fairy spuds
Cream pea aka pale vetchling (roots)
Woundwort aka hedge nettle (roots)
Sunflower seeds
Sweet-gale aka bog myrtle (spice/seasoning)

Fireweed (tea)
Sweet-fern (tea)
Goldenrod (tea)
Swamp tea aka labrador tea
New Jersey tea
White cedar (tea)

I'm sure there are tons of others eaten for greens or shoots or made into tea. Seeds, nuts, and tubers have probably been covered pretty well here, but would love to find out more of those as well. It'll be interesting to see what else gets added over time!
Marisa Lee
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Oh yeah! I forgot (haha, already thinking of more), strawberry blite aka strawberry spinach.
D Tucholske
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It's definitely a help. Some of those I've heard of, but didn't know were edible, some I would've probably never heard of at all-- like the Strawberry Bight (which, I will be getting by the way) or the Lingonberry (I usually only hear about those in relation to Sweden, so I didn't know there was a North American variety.)

What I would probably add to what you wrote is:
--A couple of those-- Woundwort & Cleavers-- are invasive, but if you already have some, there you go.
--I probably wouldn't recommend the White Cedar for anything other than medicinal use. Apparently any more than a small cup will poison a person
--Fireweed, if one is thinking of planting it, I believe it's only naturally occurring in the Pacific Northwest. When I started looking into these, I wanted to get some. The garden center I found selling them would not send them to Ohio, so I don't think it's native here.
Marisa Lee
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I ordered some strawberry blite seeds for this year, so hopefully we will both have good luck with it! It does grow wild here, but I haven't come across it yet.

Lingonberry is circumboreal, so what I have near me is the same species as in northern Europe. Same with woundwort (Stachys palustris), cleavers (Galium aparine), and fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium). They are all native to Wisconsin and Minnesota, where I grew up, maybe not Ohio though. I know cleavers is considered weedy in some places.

I would be happy to collect and send seeds this fall (or late summer, is actually when they go to seed). These northern plants need moist cold stratification, but you can do that artificially in the refrigerator. Fireweed especially can be tough to start from seed, but once established, it can take off. Both it and woundwort like a wet ditch.

I drink cedar tea. It's medicine, but also used as a beverage here. We simmer it twice, no boiling. The first water is poured off (save it for a bath), and you can see the oils on top of it - thujones - that have been released from the plant. The second water is what we drink. I'm not saying people should carelessly drink cedar tea, but sharing my experience. It's good. I like it hot, but I once had some with honey and cinnamon that had cooled to room temp - now that was really tasty. Ooh, now I also want wild bergamot / bee balm / Monarda tea. Haha. Mm yummy.
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Hey guys. I’ve been putting together a list of useful and edible natives in the US Southeast for quite some time now. Beware, it’s not yet as organized as I’d like to be. Hopefully you guys can get some use out of it like I am with yours!


White Oak:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_alba

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn

Chinkapin Oak:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_muehlenbergii


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carya_glabra

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hickory

3. https://learningandyearning.com/hickory-bark-syrup

4. https://www.survival-manual.com › ...Web resultsHickory Salt Primitive Skills - Survival Manual


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecan

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_Pecan

American Chestnut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_chestnut

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestnut

Black Walnut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juglans_nigra

2. https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/2016/01/tapping-walnut-trees/

White Walnut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juglans_cinerea

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walnut

American Beech:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagus_grandifolia

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beech


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_nigra

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_sap

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_syrup

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_tar

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar#Wood_tar

7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_(resin)


Dwarf Chinquapin Oak:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_prinoides

Dwarf Chestnut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castanea_pumila


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtis_laevigata

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtis


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelanchier

Eastern Crabapple:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus_angustifolia

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus

Black Cherry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_serotina

American Plum/Cherokee Plum:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_americana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_angustifolia

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus

Red Mulberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_rubra

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_(plant)

American Persimmon:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diospyros_virginiana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asimina_triloba

Eastern Redbud:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercis_canadensis


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_opaca

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly

Wingleaf Soapberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapindus_saponaria

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapindus

Black Gum:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyssa_sylvatica

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupelo


Yaupon Holly:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_vomitoria

Black / Red Chokeberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aronia_melanocarpa

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aronia_arbutifolia

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aronia

Red Raspberries:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_odoratus

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_strigosus

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry

Black Raspberries:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_occidentalis

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_raspberry


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_allegheniensis

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackberry


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_depavitus

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_flagellaris

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swamp_dewberry

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_invisus

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_aboriginum

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewberry


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus_aestivalis

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus_opaca

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus_rufula

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayhaw

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_virgatum

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_angustifolium

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_tenellum

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_pallidum

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus_canadensis

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_macrocarpon

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranberry

Wild Rose:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_virginiana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_arkansana

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_hip_seed_oil

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_hip_soup

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_water

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindera_benzoin

Black Huckleberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaylussacia_baccata

Chili Pepper:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum_annuum_var._glabriusculum

American Beautyberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callicarpa_americana

American Hazelnut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corylus_americana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazelnut

Witch Hazel:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamamelis_virginiana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamamelis_vernalis

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamamelis_ovalis

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hazel

Wild Indigo:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigofera_suffruticosa

Vegetative / Herbaceous

Bee Balm:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_bradburiana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_didyma

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_fistulosa

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_punctata

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_media

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda

Mountain Mint:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pycnanthemum_curvipes

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pycnanthemum_incanum

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pycnanthemum_torreyi

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pycnanthemum_tenuifolium

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pycnanthemum


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chives

Blue Salvia:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_azurea

Ground Cherry/Ground Tomato:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_virginiana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_heterophylla

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_pubescens

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis

Eastern Prickly Pear:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia_humifusa

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal

Bidens Alba:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidens_alba

American Wild Lettuce:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactuca_canadensis

Stinging Nettle:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettle_soup


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum_officinale

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradescantia

Virginia Pepperweed:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepidium_virginicum


Wild Strawberries:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_strawberry

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchella_repens


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clover


American Ginseng:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_ginseng

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginseng

Indian Breadroot:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pediomelum_subacaule

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pediomelum


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schoenoplectus_acutus

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulrush

Wild Onions/Wild Garlic

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_tricoccum

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_canadense

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_cernuum

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_stellatum

American Wild Carrot:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daucus_pusillus


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canna_indica

2. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Canna+edulis

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canna_(plant)



1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apios_americana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apios_priceana

Smilax Rotundifiolia:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smilax_rotundifolia

Hog Peanut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphicarpaea_bracteata

Thicket Bean:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus_polystachios

Wild Grape:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_labrusca

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_rotundifolia

Purple Passionflower:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passiflora_incarnata

Common Hops:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humulus_lupulus

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hops



1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typha_domingensis

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typha


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelumbo_lutea


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_latifolia

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_australis

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_macrocarpa

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_filiformis

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_isoetiformis

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_lancifolia

7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_platyphylla

8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemna_minor

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemnoideae


Not yet added.

Still Uncategorized/Miscellaneous:


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxydendrum

American Tulip:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liriodendron_tulipifera

American Sycamore:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platanus_occidentalis

American Hornbeam/Ironwood:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpinus_caroliniana

American Hophornbeam:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostrya_virginiana

American Dogwood:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornus_florida

Wild Cotton:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossypium_hirsutum


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populus_deltoides


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias

Dogbane/Indian Hemp:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocynum_cannabinum

False Indigo Bush:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorpha_fruticosa

False Solomon’s Seal:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maianthemum_racemosum

Hercules’ Club:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aralia_spinosa

Eastern Teaberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaultheria_procumbens

Spruce, Shortleaf, and Mountain Pine

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_glabra

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_echinata

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_mountain_pine

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_needle_tea

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_nut

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bark_bread

7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_tar

8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine

9. https://www.healthline.com/health/pine-pollen

Black Locust:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robinia_pseudoacacia

Honey Locust:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_locust


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhus_copallinum

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhus_glabra

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumac


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundinaria_appalachiana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundinaria_gigantea

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundinaria_tecta

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundinaria


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alnus_serrulata

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alder


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras_albidum

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotiana_rustica

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotiana_tabacum

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_tobacco#Wild_Tobacco

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_rubrum

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_saccharinum

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_negundo

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_floridanum

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_leucoderme

6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple

7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samara_(fruit)


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salix_nigra

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmus_americana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elm


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinus_americana

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinus_pennsylvanica

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinus


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podophyllum

Eastern Red Juniper:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniperus_virginiana

American Sweetgum:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidambar_styraciflua

Common Hoptree:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptelea_trifoliata



1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamium_amplexicaule


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fennel

Wild Radish:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphanus_raphanistrum

Sow Thistle:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonchus_arvensis

Wild Chicory:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicory

Queen Anne’s Lace:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daucus_carota

Sweet Potato:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato

Osage Orange:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maclura_pomifera

Wax Mallow:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malvaviscus_arboreus

Jerusalem Artichokes:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helianthus_maximiliani

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helianthus_annuus

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_sunflower

4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_artichoke

5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helianthus


Porcelain Berry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampelopsis_glandulosa_var._brevipedunculata

Autumn Olive/Silverberry:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaeagnus_umbellata

2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaeagnus

Stag’s Garlic:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_vineale


1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu

Tiger Nut:

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyperus_esculentus
D Tucholske
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Have you tried all these personally? I'll give Merissa Lee the White Cedar tea, as she explained it pretty well. But a few of these really concern me:

--American Holly. As far as I know, the only safely edible Holly in the entire world is Yaupon.

--Red Chokeberry might be fine, but I haven't heard anyone bring it up as an edible. That might only be just because the Black ones are preferable.

--Witch Hazel also bothers me.

--Wild Indigo I know about, generally speaking. I didn't add it to my own list for two reasons-- 1) There is only one source claiming Native Americans ate the plant, everyone else says it's poisonous. 2) The usage the source brings up is identical to Spikenard, which happens to have vaguely similar looking fruit. So, I chocked it up as being a likely mixup.

--American Lettuce. Everything I know of concerning that plant says it's dangerous. All I know is I don't want to be the one to test it.

--You bring up Hercules Club, which I know better as Devil's Walking Stick. I'm not 100% sure on the edibility myself, but I know it was used medicinally. That's another one of those plants in the Spikenard family.

--Tobacco is not edible. In fact, the only cases of ingestion I know of amongst Native peoples came from some references to Iroquois Shamans & seems similarly ritualistic to what's on that Wiki page about South American Shamanic use.

--Willow could be edible. I've heard of Inuits eating willow leaves, but I also know that Willows worldwide are a very powerful & anciently used numbing agent. I tried chewing a leaf once after hearing about Inuits. It was in my mouth for all of two seconds, because it tasted terrible & just from that my mouth was numb for about 20 minutes. But, if you know how to eat them, I'd really like some clarification on the matter.

--You have the wrong Soapberry. That one is poisonous. There is a plant with edible fruit which is sometimes called a Soapberry, but it's not that one. I'm assuming it should be this:

--Canna should be in your naturalized or invasive section, I think. Unless there is a native species, I don't know.

Several of these are good, though. I do thank you for the contribution. I just want to make sure we're all on the same page, here.
Marisa Lee
Posts: 221
Location: South Shore of Lake Superior
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For the record, I haven't tried all mine personally. I've never come across New Jersey tea, and I've never found any of the edible roots/tubers I listed in large enough quantity to where it seemed responsible to dig them up. Otherwise, I've consumed everything I listed and many of the plants you had already listed (which I didn't want to duplicate), even though I really do not think of myself as a big forager. I've mostly gathered them myself, but in some cases somebody else did or it was commercial (like sunflower seeds, granted, the seeds are from a cultivar, so it's admittedly a stretch, although I'm sure wild sunflower seeds are also edible).

If you're interested (anyone, not just the OP) in traditional plant uses, a good jumping off point is the database at naeb.brit.org which is a digital counterpart to Daniel Moerman's Native American Ethnobotany (book). You can search for a plant by common name (though this only works if you use the same common name as the DB) or binomial (sometimes outdated). Results can be further filtered by the type of use (like food or medicine). You can also search by tribe, but this also has limitations, for instance if I search for Ojibwe, some results will come up but others will not because they were recorded as Chippewa. Anyway, the reason I call it a jumping off point is that each entry lists a source, sometimes a book, sometimes a paper you can find a pdf of online for free. Go to those sources for further info. It's far from a complete database of everything published on the topic but is very helpful.
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