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Thread: Edible Plant Guides

  1. #1
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    Default Edible Plant Guides

    I was wondering what is the best edible plants guide. Right now i am looking at the foragers harvest book of edible plants. I want something that has colored pictures of the plant and which parts of the plant are edible. That is what i am looking for. If you have any suggestions on edible plant guides for the michigan type climate please let me know.
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    Senior Member MrFixIt's Avatar
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    You could check with your local county extension office, but be warned.
    Pictures in books are misleading, and usually only photos of plants/trees in full growth/season.
    I would strongly advise that you contact someone (well qualified in identifying wild edibles) in your area for instruction.
    Good luck!
    When all else fails, read the directions, and beware the Chihuahuacabra!

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    I've had good luck with Edible Wild Plants. It's a Peterson Guide.

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    +1 on the Peterson Guide series.
    Can't Means Won't

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    Default MSU Extension Service

    I strongly agree with what everyone said in comments above, Peterson's guide, going on a hike with a skilled naturalist guide who can show you where and what to look for. Also what some people enjoy eating you may not. Not sure if you have it there but some parts of the greenbrier plant (smilax) are more enjoyable than others for example, LOL.

    Here is good article from your state's extension service to get started:
    http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/does_yo...r_wild_edibles

    Online guide to Michigan native plants of all types in general (not just edible):
    http://michiganflora.net/home.aspx

    This is not a very long or comprehensive list also most not edible plants but has color photos and Michigan counties where plants may be found (listed alphabetically by scientific name, common name to right):
    http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/pub/abstracts.cfm#Plants

    Also check out Indiana's Extension Service and Purdue University, Colorado etc.
    http://iuhealth.org/images/met-doc-upl/plant-guide.pdf

    The TAMU extension service has many great articles and website but my region is totally different than yours so not very helpful. But TAMU has many color photos and lots of good info, but sub species can be very different.

    One of countless websites of questionable usefulness and accuracy, hundreds of sub-species of smilax across North America at least 2 in Michigan:
    http://www.eattheweeds.com/smilax-a-...217;s-no-bull/
    Last edited by TXyakr; 02-05-2015 at 04:06 PM. Reason: no bull about brier, more links

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    Default Mushroom book listed in link from my comment above

    May is Morel Month in Michigan
    by Heather Hallen, Gerard Adams

    List Price : $2.25

    Don't go into the woods without this priceless help in identifying edible morels and those not recommended for eating. Michigan is famous for its morel lands and this booklet will help you identify safe morels and the 8 species unsafe for eating.

    http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins2/...-e0614-575.cfm

    Video of hunting for Morels, Where to find them, When to look for them, How to prepare them:
    http://www.theperennialplate.com/epi...unting-morels/

    WARNING!! the orgasmic descriptions of eating morels may not be suitable for children, DO NOT allow your children to watch this video!!!
    Last edited by TXyakr; 02-05-2015 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Morel hunting video

  7. #7
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    Ok guys thanks for all the useful information i will have to get the petersons guides then. And thanks for the links TXyakr
    Check me out on youtube. Thanks, Billy

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6W...5VS5ByvYV9cv3g

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    Does the petersons guide have mushrooms in it too? sorry i forgot to ask in last post
    Check me out on youtube. Thanks, Billy

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6W...5VS5ByvYV9cv3g

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    Default Mushrooms and such

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy13426 View Post
    Does the petersons guide have mushrooms in it too? sorry i forgot to ask in last post
    Yes there is a photo of a mushroom on the cover.

    Here is another site that has a long list of books, most may be a waste of your time and money
    http://foraging.com

    I don't know much of anything about Morel's in May in Michigan but suspect this is mostly just a catch title, they can probably be found other times of the year as well.

    Basically when foraging for food remember things like:
    Where to look plants and fungus that is best for food grows best in certain micro climates
    What to look for (the books and help in person from experts)
    When: time of the year and time of the day to collect it
    How to prepare it some you can graze on other you may need to chew and spit, or cook
    (Some other stuff I forgot, late in day, too many beers…)

    OH yeah, What stuff works best to brew for beer! LOL

  10. #10
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    ok i will have to get the edible plants ,medicinal plants, and trees books.
    Check me out on youtube. Thanks, Billy

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    There is one page of mushrooms in the Edible Wild Plants book. It only covers three types and doesn't do a very good job in my opinion. I have the Simon & Schusters Guide to Mushrooms that is way more comprehensive. That said, mushrooms, in my opion, are not something you want to start experimenting with. You should really know what you're doing. There are some excellent mushroom folks on here and I'll let them speak to that. They know far more than me about them. For calories burned hunting the plant vs. nutritional value I would suggest you start with plants first then expand your knowledge. Just my opinion.

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    you mentioned foragers harvest. Not sure if you're referring to Thayer's books but they're good in my opinion. Also Stalking the Wild Asparagus is good, not so much for identification but for preparation and usage.

    here's a link to thayer's books
    http://foragersharvest.com/books/
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

  13. #13

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    Here are a some of the edibles books in my library.

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    Each book has its merits. The Peterson guide is kind of down and dirty. Though it has some uses in the back. Mine covers Eastern and Central North America. I don't know if they even have any for other regions. This book has a coverage map near that front that shows the area it covers. South Florida isn't covered. But, there are some very common plants in the book that do exist down here.

    "Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide To Over 200 Natural Foods" has a seasonal key that shows the region, habitat and uses. It is then broke up in seasons. Looking through the regions is all you have to do to see why this book is a bad idea for South Florida. There are only a couple of plants that exist down here in the book. It tries to cover too wide an area in my opinion.

    "Edible wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt to Plate" is a great book. I have seen it in ebook form online for free. I bought the book even though it still isn't really going to cover tropical South Florida. I love the disclaimer in the book. The book is really good and covers all aspects of wild foraging.

    This is the disclaimer from "Wild Edible Plants: Wild Food From Dirt To Plate". The Disclaimer is titled: "Disclaimer? Yeah Right!" and sums up my thoughts pretty well.

    "If you venture out of your nuclear-proof, earthquake-proof,
    asteroid-proof bunker into the real world, you might
    be at risk. Yes, it's true! You may be hit by a bus or get
    E coli or staphylococcus poisoning from a church potluck.
    lf you kiss someone, you may get herpes, mono, or worse a
    tragic relationship. On the golf course, you may be hit by
    lightning. If you go ice skating, you may break your neck.
    If you go on a hike, you may trip on loose rocks, fall over a
    cliff, and die. Or you might be in the World Trade Center
    at the wrong time.

    Look, you can either curl up under your bed covers
    and Live a safe, dull, insulated life reading about other
    people doing things you wish you were doing. Or you can
    join the .real world. If you venture into the real world, you
    risk living your life to its fullest. You risk the rush of climbing
    that mountain, of dancing all night, of scuba diving
    in reefs of mind-blowing color, of standing in the rain on
    an ocean viewpoint, watching huge waves crashing against
    the rocks, of meeting me partner of your dreams. You risk
    getting exercise and breathing fresh air. You risk making
    life worth living.

    So if you decide to venture into the world of wild foods,
    you'd better prepare yourself for some fun, adventure, and
    risk. Yes, there are risks to eating new foods that you've
    never tried before. You might make some mistakes or have
    allergies to foods you haven't been exposed to yet. Nature
    has its own agenda and is not looking out for the safety
    of humans and that fact provides some unpredictability
    in all things wild. But if you are a reasonable student, if
    you don't just jump haphazardly into eating everything
    in sight, and if you pay attention to what your body is
    telling you, your chances of any real danger are slim. For
    the vast majority of people, getting into wild foods will be
    nothing but fun. For that rare person who becomes that
    exception, we may end up talking about your unusual
    case in future books."

    The only book I have found that addresses my area specifically is "Wild Plants for survival In South Florida" by Julia F. Morton.

    But, it might help to ask your local botany clubs if there is a book that is specific to your area.

  14. #14
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    Ok i will try and find a book more specific to my area
    Check me out on youtube. Thanks, Billy

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6W...5VS5ByvYV9cv3g

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    I have a book called "edible wild plants of the great lakes region" by Ellen Elliot Weatherbee. If you can find a copy, may be what you're looking for.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

  16. #16

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    Thanks for the tips, guys! I have a couple Herbalist books, and I recently picked up an older wild edibles book. Now, sounds like I need to pick up a Petersons guide next.

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    Batch......Love the disclaimer as well.....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
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    Lone Pine Publishing puts out some good books

    http://www.lonepinepublishing.com/cat/nature/plants
    .
    Knowledge without experience is just information


    there are two types of wild food enthusiasts,
    one picks for enjoyment of adding something to a meal,
    and the second is the person who lives mostly on ( wild ) edibles

    Lydia

  19. #19
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    The Edible Wild Plants - Peterson Guide seemed good to me...the best I've seen, but I haven't seen all of them. Whenever I've looked (not much) that was all I found that seemed helpful in the way such a thing needs to be. I haven't seen all of what Batch showed either, and so those are probably worth looking at.

    But on the subject of edible wild plants in general (just for people who don't already know and are looking at this), anyone who really wants to develop knowledge and expertise in this area, and be safe, needs to start out understanding these things (unless you only want to know a few reliable plants):

    - Different guides are about different ecologies/different regions of a continent which each have their own species of plants. The Peterson Guide, for example, has a book for one part of North America, and another for another part, etc. Different kinds of plants grow in different regions.

    - It would be good if author(s) were really able to provide comprehensive photos of every single plant, all parts of the plant, and in all seasons, in a way which is totally reliable. But that probably hasn't happened, and such a guide would be enormous. What instead is very important for such a guide (even if it did have all of these photos) is explaining all of the variations of how plants are structured and shaped, and showing (even if just with drawings) the particular structures and shapes which determine what each plant is versus another. With formal terminology. And also growth tendencies, micro/local environments that each species prefers, it's stages of growth in one season versus another, etc. I'm talking about stem, leaf arrangement, bloom, seed, shapes, colors, what it does in each season, etc.

    - You shouldn't only try to identify a species, but you should also try to know all of the ones which look almost identical but are very bad for you, so that you don't mis-identify (which is very easy to do) and kill yourself.

    - It is rare that a whole plant is useful, or useful just the way that you find it. A guide that is worth anything at all will tell you about the roots, stem, leaves, fruits, flowers, and many other things...some of these parts of a species are good, while other parts of the same plant are bad. Additionally, a part of a plant which is useful and safe, may only be so during a certain season. Moreover, that part of that plant either may need to be processed in a certain way first, or has a variety of ways by which it can be prepared and utilized. Some things are good raw, others need to be cooked, and even processed in some way before cooking as well as cooked a particular way.

    ...except for when a person doesn't want or need to get this technical about it, an endeavor to really be able to forage and utilize wild plants can become extensive, complicated, overwhelming, and intimidating. However, I have to believe that a person who is really knowledgeable and skilled in this area could be close to invincible (depending upon the mercy of the environment, and if skills in other basic areas aren't lacking). The same can be said about hunting animals, and animals certainly provide much more food per weight...but if a person has trouble getting wild game, they could be surrounded by plants. At any given time, a person could have a ton of food all around them every day, which doesn't run away, except that they just don't know what is what or what to do with it. Serious knowledge in this area could give you a mountain of food day after day after day, by just going out and grabbing it.

    And you probably wouldn't have any constipation problems either.
    Last edited by WalkingTree; 08-14-2015 at 11:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Tree
    It would be good if author(s) were really able to provide comprehensive photos of every single plant, all parts of the plant, and in all seasons, in a way which is totally reliable. But that probably hasn't happened, and such a guide would be enormous. What instead is very important for such a guide (even if it did have all of these photos) is explaining all of the variations of how plants are structured and shaped, and showing (even if just with drawings) the particular structures and shapes which determine what each plant is versus another. With formal terminology. And also growth tendencies, micro/local environments that each species prefers, it's stages of growth in one season versus another, etc. I'm talking about stem, leaf arrangement, bloom, seed, shapes, colors, what it does in each season, etc.


    Mark the plant so you can visit it in different seasons and see what it looks like.

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