Return to the Native Plants Forum | Post a Follow-Up

What native/wild plants are edible or useful?

Posted by khawk77 7 ( on
Sun, Nov 8, 09 at 17:01

I live in what I guess you could call the foothills of the appalachian mountains in North Alabama. I live in a very rural area and my property is wooded on 3 sides. I'm interested in foraging for edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful herbs and plants, but I can't seem to find a decent book to guide me. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also I would like to know what Native Americans might have used some of these wild plants for.
Thanks for the Help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What native/wild plants are edible or useful?

Petersons publishes both a medicinal plant and edible plant guide that are invaluable resources but if you are a novice to wild plants and identifying them, I would suggest starting your learning from someone in person. Books are wonderful and I have taught myself much from them but my first teachers about plants, plant safety, and plant identification were my parents when I was very young. I also have taken many in-person identification and herbal medicine classes as well as guided walks and tours. Please look for classes or perhaps herbalists in your area. Wildcrafting and processing the plant material is time-consuming. I'm sure many herbalists would trade learning for help in collecting and processing botanical material.

And in learning about your wild resources, be sure to check out United Plant Savers for a list of plants that are "at risk." These are native, medicinal plants that have been decimated in the wild. Be sure to temper your collecting with good stewardship.

Good luck in your endeavors!


Here is a link that might be useful: Amazon link to Peterson's Medicinal plant book

RE: What native/wild plants are edible or useful?

Two useful plants, among many, are pokeweed and greenbriar.
Pokeweed plants and berries are quite poisonous, but we have boiled the new Spring sprouts, when less than a foot tall and found them very good. The newest, youngest leaves of the greenbriar are sour tasting and good in salads. Books, nearly antiques, by Euell Gibbons, are about wild plants as food.

RE: What native/wild plants are edible or useful?

I know this is an old post but there is a site that deals with a lot of this subject matter. altnature dot com. They are in TN so many plants are the same as AL.

RE: What native/wild plants are edible or useful?

This is an excellent book on Amazon, Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie, by Kelly Kindscher. You can view the entire index online, and can then look up individual plants on PFAF (through google) and read a lot about their uses.

Here is a link that might be useful: index

RE: What native/wild plants are edible or useful?

Almost everything has some use.
Edible fungi, weaving baskets with cat-brier or kudzu. Acorn coffee & flour, cat-tails, ground nut, beech nuts, watercress & lilies, flags, willow bark aspirin, sassafras, chicory & dandelion, wild mints, prickly pear, the list is endless. Heck, your living in a natural restaurant & drug store! You can even use the green pulp from black walnuts to stun fish to the surface.

The Peterson field guide to edible wild plants is the best for your area. It not only list edible plants but also their poisonous look-a-likes. I grew up in Franklin County 'Bama, born in Russellville.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Native Plants Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here