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Suggestions for someone new to wild edibles and foraging?

 
Posts: 71
Location: NJ
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Hi Arthur,
I am just starting to get into foraging wild edibles. I am also in the Northeast US, but a bit south of you (New Jersey). I have foraged and eaten raspberries, blackberries, dandelion, and black walnut from my land. I know there are probably much more wild edibles I could be gathering and eating. I identified a bunch of autumn olive trees that I will pick berries from later in the year. What are your suggestions for someone new to wild edibles and foraging? Besides get a good plant ID book is there anything else you recommend? Are they any native medicinals that often don't get mentioned that I should look out for? I am trying to provide more of my families diet from my homestead. Thanks.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Apart from a good book, I recommand you to learn recognizing plants, I mean don't bother about names, but get your eyes used to dicerning likes and unlikes. Books will give you a way to identify, usualy with flowers. So, when in flower, think about looking at the rest of the plant, so you will recognize it next year before it flowers!!!
Also get used to informations such as the position of leaves, appearance of the stem etc.
And try to identify them as young as possible, even when going out of earth, with only cotyledons!
Great to be sure to let them when you weed your garden....
 
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Posts: 28
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Dear Dave, your biggest obstacle (at this point in your foraging career) is knowledge of plants. These organisms are so under-discussed and under-taught in our school systems that people leave school with virtually no understanding of the plant kingdom. Their taxonomy (so you can recognize the species), their ecology (so you know where to find them), and their phenology (when they producing the parts you are interested in, such as shoots, flowers, fruits). Finding botanical organizations or taking field botany classes is one of the more important things you can do to further your knowledge of plants (in a way that is very useful to foraging). Many foraging instructors cannot provide a broad set of botanical skills as they are not familiar enough with their floras (only those plants they know they can eat). Pick up some field guides and find some botanical mentors. Best wishes.
 
Dave Hunt
Posts: 71
Location: NJ
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Thanks Arthur!
I will look into some local botany and foraging groups. Your right I can't remember any classes in school that went into any depth regarding plants. Foraging and learning more about plants in general are things I would like to pass along to my young sons. Although I definately have a lot to learn!!
Just today I came across a tree/large bush that I am hoping to get some help identifying. Arthur or anyone else recognize it? I am in New Jersey. Thanks again Arthur.

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steward
Posts: 4616
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Dave , I changed the title of your post so it might be easier to search for this great information later. Hope you do not mind.
 
Arthur Haines
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Dave, your plant in the photographs is Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle), a native of Asia and (now) a very frequent plant in many locations in the east. Best wishes.
 
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