A list of good resources on Edible wild plants, mushrooms, and seashore critters

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This is a follow up to the thread about daylilies. Frankly, none of us are going to sustain ourselves living on wild foods, but knowing about them is a valuable fallback in lean seasons or in case of crop failures.....

The following is a list of what I consider to be some of the best books in my personal library (many are on their 2nd or more copy, field use is hard on books....)

Peterson's "A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants", mainly midwest and northeast. Photos and black and white drawings

Peterson's "A Field Guide to Wildflowers", mainly midwest and northeast. A good companion to the first. Color and black and white drawings

Peterson's "Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants"

Gibbon's "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" and "Stalking the Healthful Herbs" black and white drawings, good humor and insite, may be out of print

"Edible Wild Plants", An Outdoor Life Book nice color photos

"Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie" an ethnobotanical guide by Kelly Kindscher University Press of Kansas

"Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Great Lakes Region" Thomas Naegele black and white line drawings, with uses

Peterson's "Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants of North America" Photos, black and white line drawings

Peterson's "Mushrooms of North America" 100% color illistrations.

Orson Miller's "Mushrooms of North America" 100% Photos

Audubon Society's "Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" 100% Photos

Peterson's "Eastern Trees" 100% color drawings with range maps

"Survival Skills of the North American Indians", Peter Goodchild Very interesting and useful, no plant pictures.

For those of you who live near the ocean, I like the following:

The Audubon Society "Field Guide to North American Seashore Creatures" LOTS of things that wiggle, squirm and swim are edible. In fact, most are.

The Audubon Society's "Atlantic and Gulf Coast Field Guide"

Euell Gibbon's "Stalking the Blue Eyed Scallop" black and white illustrations, may be out of print.


NATURAL DOES NOT MEAN SAFE!!! It is far better to learn a few species well and use them than to take silly chances *thinking* something looks kinda like an edible species. Especially with

**MUSHROOMS** I LOVE wild mushrooms. I've gathered and eaten over 70 species of wild mushrooms over a good part of the eastern US in the last 25 years. Every year, I find another one or two new species I have not collected in the past that I can safely and positively identify. After 25 years of avid mushrooming, for every type of mushroom I identify, I discard 10 varieties I cannot positively identify as to species. DO NOT take chances. Many are very easy to recognize. A few are deadly. A little caution will win you many excellent meals.

Color and black and white drawings are often better for identifying plants than photos. In a drawing, the author can make sure an identifying characteristic is shown, not always possible in a picture.

Any or all of the above are good additions to your Y2K library.

Good Foraging

285 days

Waste anything but time...

-- Jon Williamson (pssomerville@sprintmail.com), March 21, 1999


Thanks for the good info, Jon.

Some book searches in the near future is what I see.

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 22, 1999.

In his early teens my oldest boy read Stalking theWild Asparagus and a couple of other books on wild edibles. On advice found in one of them (which one I don't know) he ate some day-lily roots. The results were serious. Vomiting, diarrhea, acute abdominal pains, not his best day. My wife called CDC to find an antidote, if any, but CDC had no record of any toxicity associated with daylilies. He was OK the next day but wasn't quite so enthusisatic about foraging in the wild.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), March 22, 1999.


I've made mistakes myself I *still* don't believe to this day. Eating blue flag roots thinking they were cattails was the worst. I walked 5 miles feeling like your son, after spending a freezing night camped among some huge prickly pear cactus in central texas. I was afraid to try to get up in the night for fear of seriously slashing myself. Grey Bear, you probably know those clumps of cactus. Thirty, forty feet across and 3-4 feet high....

Another thing that could have happened is an allergy. Wild plants are no different than cultivated ones. Walnuts can kill my mother. Shrimp are deadly to a friend of mine. Some people are allergic to wheat, others to milk (lactose). It is ALWAYS a good idea to eat just a small amount of a new food, especially a wild one, to see how you react to it.

Still, some things are safe, by and large. It does take practice and knowledge.

-- Jon Williamson (pssomerville@sprintmail.com), March 22, 1999.

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