Foraging plants and their uses; an easy guide by Mike Poulton

Nettle tops can be used as long as they look like this!

Foraging has been done for centuries but is hopefully getting a bit of a revival!

People like to have a connection with nature again, especially with their daily exercise in lockdown situation and what a better way to do this then to go out there and forage!

So today I would like to introduce you to a document received from fellow botanist Mike Poulton, who used to do training sessions on foraging for wild plants.  It is a good, quick reference to the more useful wild plants for food!

The edible parts of the native plants are listed with their common names and categorized in 5 sections: leaves and shoots (1), herbs (2), edible flowers (3), fruits and seeds (4) and roots (5).

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Some native species in the Apiaceae Family and their uses!

Pignut, one of of the Apiaceae, flowering en masse at Bury Hill Park near Dudley (Picture by Mike Poulton)

Last week the Ground-elder was fully covered in my blog for all its useful attributes and this week I hope to tackle all the remaining ones in the last family of all the Dicot families in Stace.

It is a large family with 50 genera although many genera have just the one native species and only a few are having a small number of species. 

Several of our root vegetables and herbs belong to this family, although these are cultivated forms and the wild species of which they originated are mostly not native (NN in list below) to the British Isles.

I’ve used Wikipedia, PFAF or other websites a lot again as they have such valuable information about the individual species and their uses.

Also links with the online atlas of the British and Irish Flora of the Biological Records Centre in order to find out the natural habitats of the plants.

Medicinal Uses mostly came from the  Med Flora by J. Barker as well as from Plants for a Future website.

Pictures by Matt Summers unless stated. Pictures have been limited to a few as this post is already very large and pictures + more information is given through the links provided!

I’ve always liked this family, it is easily recognisable, especially the second subfamily, which are the true ‘Umbels’.

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