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Thread: Edible Plant Field Guides?

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    Default Edible Plant Field Guides?

    Does anyone know of a good edible plant guide for the Sierra Nevada mountain area in California? Ive done some research and checked out Barnes and Nobles and the Pedersen Fiend Guide they carry was for the Eastern/Central US. I'm relatively inexperienced at foraging for plants, so something with nice plates and a "poisonous lookalikes" section would be really useful. Any ideas?


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    When you finish looking for that area Try to find something for the deserts of New Mexico. I have been looking for years and all I get are general desert plant life.

    Don
    No one knows more about a task then the person that does it, Practice makes perfect!

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    Senior Member bulrush's Avatar
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    Peterson (Pederson?) book (I have the one for Eastern US) has drawings of plants, how they are used, and drawings of poisonous look alikes on the same page. They also point out how the safe plants are different from the dangerous plants. I'm sure they have one for Western US. Descriptions on the left page, drawings on the right.

    The problem is, the drawings only cover one growth stage of the plants, and plants can look very different in different growth stages. Coloring of the plant leaves, can especially vary a lot from plant to plant, and stage to stage.

    As a beginner, just avoid plants that will kill you, like Hemlock, which looks just like wild carrot (aka Queen Anne's Lace).

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Actually, they don't. If you have any of the guides, they list the full series in the first couple of pages. I've always been surprised that they didn't do anything for the Western U.S.

    Try this site for the Sierra Nevada plants:

    http://www.backcountryrangers.com/plants_index.html

    Wild Plants of the Sierra Nevada by Ray S. Vizgirdas and Edna M. Rey-Vizgirdas


    Don - Try these books for New Mexico:

    Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West Tilford, 1998
    Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest Tull, rev. 1999
    Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains Harrington, 1967

    I haven't used any of these so I don't know how good or bad they are.

    You might also want to talk to your county extension agent. They generally are the leader of or closely involved with the Master Gardener program in your county so they should be a wealth of information.

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    walk lightly on the earth wildWoman's Avatar
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    "Medicinal plants of the mountain west" by Michael Moore is an excellent book, although obviously geared more at medicinal purposes than "just" eating. It's out of print but I was able to get a copy for 99 cents through Amazon. A very worthwhile investment for anyone interested in western plants!!

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    Anyone know of a good source to get petersons guides in electronic format, like PDF's that have been scanned?
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    missing in action trax's Avatar
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    I've found those Pederson Fiend guides are just awesome, I have a hard time telling you know a basic fiend from a vampyre from a full blown demon. It's hell. Sorry jamesifer, some typos are too much fun to pass up.

    Personally, I don't want to trust getting that knowledge from a field guide, it's not the guide writer I don't trust, it's me making sure I pick the right plant.
    some fella confronted me the other day and asked "What's your problem?" So I told him, "I don't have a problem I am a problem"

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I've never seen them, Alpine. They are still in print so I doubt anyone would post that. That would be a copyright infringement and probably worth some cast to the publisher.

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    Senior Member mbarnatl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpine_Sapper View Post
    Anyone know of a good source to get petersons guides in electronic format, like PDF's that have been scanned?
    Here is a site that has some in pdf format. You will have to contact them for pricing. The page I link you to...scroll down and on the right has the several peterson field guides listed.
    Last edited by mbarnatl; 04-01-2008 at 06:17 PM.
    "The ability for a person to prevail in a survival situation is based on three factors: survival knowledge, equipment, and will to survive. All are important, but the most important is the will to survive." -Greg Davenport

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Houghton Mifflin is a publisher for colleges and universities (not just them but they sure do a lot). You actually by a license from that site. It would be cheaper to buy the book.

    Besides, I think Alpine wanted a freeby. Am I right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Houghton Mifflin is a publisher for colleges and universities (not just them but they sure do a lot). You actually by a license from that site. It would be cheaper to buy the book.

    Besides, I think Alpine wanted a freeby. Am I right?
    *shrugs* torrent links would be great , but I'm willing to pay as well. I just like to be able to archive my print books so I ALWAYS have a copy. I know a thick sheaf of printout is a little bulkier, but hell, if it saves me from having to buy a book twice...

    Same reason a DVD burner is handy. buy the dvd, and then burn a copy. Put up the one you bought, and put the burnt copy out by the DVD player. That way when the kids decide to use them for skates or a frisbee, I can just whip out another one.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
    Samuel Adams
    Dogs are not my whole life, but they make my life whole.

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    I did a good bit of grazing and foraging out in the Sierra Nevadas, but it has been 30 years or so. I remember I tried a few dozen varieties that I found, but I can't help much since I have been east of the Miss for the past few decades. A good starter book is Edible Wild Plants, A North American Field Guide, An Outdoor Life Book by Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman. Enjoy.

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    google is great try something like wild edibles of california, or things like that should work well
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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