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Plants are an important part of the natural world. They have been around much longer than any other living thing. I like to think of them as the foundation for all living things. If not for plants and photosynthesis, we would not have the oxygen we breath. As if supplying the oxygen we breath was not enough, over 60% of western medicines are derived from plants. Plants are the food of all of the animals we eat. Even those which are not herbivores, eat other organisms which do eat plants.

There are countless thousands of edible and medicinal plants. They are every where you look. Even in the most populated cities, if you know what to look for, there are edible and medicinal plants all over the place. This website and my foraging classes are designed to get you started on your journey toward learning to recognize and make use of the plants that surround you. If you would like to learn more about edible and medicinal plants, I would recommend that you start by purchasing one of these fine books.



Urban Foraging
Medicinal Actions
Herbal Preparations
Plant Terminology
Plant Walks

Interested in learning more about plants? Come along on one of our Plant Walks.

Below is a list of some common edible and medicinal plants.

Amaranth - Pigweed (Amaranthus spp.)

American Ginseng - (Panax quinquefolius)

Arrowhead - Duck Potato, Indian Potato, or Wapato (Sagittaria latifolia)

Astragalus - (Astragalus propinquus, Astragalus membranaceus)

Astragalus is not native to the Unites States, let alone the Great Lakes Region. It has been included because it is a highly effective immune system builder.

Autumn Olive - Autumnberry (Elaeagnus umbellata)

Barberry - Common Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

Bearberry - Uva-Ursi Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi)

Black Raspberry - (Rubus occidentalis)

Black Cherry - (Prunus serotina)

Black Cohosh - (Actaea racemosa)

Bloodroot - (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Blueberry - Bilberry, and Huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.)

Bracken Fern - Pasture Break (Pteridium aquilinum)

Bunchberry - Canadian Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Burdock - (Arctium spp.)

Calendula - Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Cattail - (Typha spp.)

Chicory - (Cichorium intybus)

Chickweed - (Stellaria media)

Chokecherry - (Prunus virginiana)

Cleaver - (Galium aparine)

Coltsfoot - (Tussilago farfara)

Comfrey - (Symphytum officinale)

Cow Parsnip - (Heracleum maximum.)

Creeping Bellflower - (Campanula rapunculoides)

Creeping Snowberry - Moxie Plum (Gaultheria hispidula)

Curly Dock - Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)

Dandelion - (Taraxacum)

Daylily - (Hemerocallis fulva)

Duckweed - (Spirodela spp.)

Eastern White Pine - (Pinus strobus)

Echinacea - Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea purpurea)

Elderberry - (Sambucas nigra)

Evening Primrose - (Oenothera spp.)

Fleabane - Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus)

Garlic Mustard - (Alliaria petiolata)

Goldenrod - (Solidago canadensis)

Goldenseal - (Hydrastis canadensis)

Great Bulrush - (Scirpus validus)

Highbush Cranberry - (Viburnum trilobum)

Houndstongue - (Cynoglossum officinale)

Indian Cucumber - (Medeola virginiana)

Indian Pipe - (Monotropa uniflora) This plant is one of the best pain relievers I have ever experienced.

Japanese Knotweed - (Fallopia japonic)

Jerusalem Artichoke - (Helianthus tuberosus)

Jewelweed - Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis)

Juneberry - Serviceberry (Amelanchier medik.)

Kava Kava - (Piper methysticum)

Knotweed - (Polygonum aviculare)

Lamb's Quarters - Goosefoot, Pigweed (Chenopodium album)

Lemon Balm - (Melissa officinalis)

Mallow - Common Mallow, Cheeses (Malva neglecta)

Marsh Marigold - Cowslip, Kingcup (Caltha palustris)

Mayapple - American Mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum)

Meadowsweet - (Spiraea spp.)

Milkweed - Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca )

Motherwort - (Leonurus cardiaca)

Mulberry - Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

Mullein - (Verbascum thapsus)

Mushrooms - Common widely available edible mushrooms

Nettle - Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Oxeye Daisy - Moon Daisy, Dog Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)

Ostrich Fern - (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

Pineapple Weed - (Matricaria discoidea)

Pipsissewa - (Chimaphila umbellata)

Plantain - Common Plantain, Broad Leaf Plantain, English Plantain, Narrow Leaf Plantain (Plantago spp.)

Purslane - Hogweed, Pigweed (Portulaca oleracea)

Queen Anne's Lace - Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

Ramps - Wild Leeks (Allium tricoccum)

Salsify - Goats Beard, Oyster Plant (Tragopogon spp.)

Sassafras - White Sassafras, Red Sassafras, Silky Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Selfheal - (Prunella vulgaris)

Sheep Sorrel - (Rumex acetosella)

Shepherd's Purse - (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Skullcap - Blue Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Solomon's Seal - (Polygonatum biflorum)

Spiderwort - (Tradescantia spp.)

Spring Beauty - (Claytonia virginica)

Staghorn Sumac - (Rhus typhina)

Stinging Nettle - (Urtica dioica)

St John's Wort -(Hypericum perforatum)

Trout Lily - (Erythronium americanum)

Turmeric -(Curcuma longa)

Valerian - (Valeriana officinalis)

White Cedar - (Thuja occidentalis)

Wild Bergamot - (Monarda fistulosa)

Wild Lettuce - Canada Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

Wild Strawberry - (Fragaria vesca)

Willow - (Salix spp.)

Wintercress - (Barbarea vulgaris)

Wintergreen - Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry (Gaultheria procumbens)

Witch Hazel - American Witch Hazel, Winterbloom (Hamamelis virginiana)

Wood Sorrel - Shamrock (Oxalis spp.)

Yarrow - Soldier's Woundwort (Achillea millefolium)

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Revised: 05/15/17 Living Afield