Let me start off by saying you should never eat a wild plant that you can't positively identify. You could die or at the very least make yourself sick.
Having that disclaimer out of the way I want to share some of the plants I learned about at a workshop the kids and I attended last week. On a rainy afternoon (imagine that) we walked to the community garden at the end of our street to learn about weeds we can eat.
The class was offered by our local urban agriculture and community youth organization, Lots to Gardens. We love these folks and do our best to support what they are doing in our city; helping city dwellers have better access to garden grown foods and educating & empowering young people for change.
I know a little bit about weeds that are edible, ie: young plantain leaves can be eaten as a green, and my goal is to learn more about forest and mountain edibles; knowledge I can use on our hiking and backpacking treks. This particular class was focused more on "roadside, field and meadow" type weeds. Another warning: don't wildcraft from ditches or areas that use sprays - duh.
I have seen all of these plants at one time or another, mostly at the farm (I've picked them from the fields as weeds) and some in my own backyard. I've identified each with a photo, common name, latin name and a brief description.
- Slightly juicy leaves, tastes good.
- Leaves & stems edible.
- Harvest June through September.
- The texture of Curled Dock reminds me of spinach.
- Tender leaves.
- Harvest May through September.
- Leaves are tender and juicy. If I recall correctly it tastes pleasantly sour.
- Harvest May through September.
- See Henriette's Herbal Homepage for more.
- We've always called this particular sorrel chickweed. Our friends who introduced us to it called it that.
- This is a very common garden weed and I usually see it much smaller in height, like 6 inches and under with little yellow flowers. My kids love it's tart, lemony flavor and pick and eat it all summer. Apparently you should use the leaves sparingly, oops.
- Harvest all season long.
- Read more about Wood Sorrel at 5 Orange Potatoes.
Hemerocallis fulva (Daylily)
- Daylily's are a cultivated plant but around here they grow wild as well.
- The whole plant is edible at various times of the season. The young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked but are too tough beyond 8 inches or so (April). The buds and blossoms can be eaten in their turn (July-August) and the tubers probably all season long though the source I have says August-October.
- We ate them the day of the workshop and they are crunchy, reminiscent of carrots.
References & Resources
The workshop instructor recommended and shared knowledge learned from these 2 books:
- A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America
- The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing.
Related FIMBY posts:
I agree (as mentioned in comments), some of the above photos weren't very descriptive. Here's some more for reference.
Rumex crispus (Curled dock Sorrel): Photo taken late June while still tender and green. Later in July the seeds heads turn brown and the leaves aren't tasty to eat.
Rumex acetosella (Sorrel): Little lemony leaves.