Edible Wild Plants L - Z
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Seasons Found - Sp = Spring S = Summer A = Autumn W = Winter

Sp,S - 1.Lady's Thumb
(Polygonum Persicaria/Maculosa Gray) -
Habitat: disturbed areas, marshy areas, edges of streams and drainage canals, mudflats, roadside ditches, moist weedy meadows, vacant lots
Identification: annual
Leaves: alternate, lance shaped leaves are up to 6 inches long and 2 inches across, although usually smaller. They form just below the flower cluster and usually have a prominent dark green smudge spanning perpendicularly across the half-way point of the light green mid-vein
Flowers: tiny flowers are pink in a small spike-like cluster
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

A,Sp - 2.Lamb's Quarters, Goosefoot, Fathen (Chenopodium Album) -
Habitat: the extremely variable growth behavior of lambsquarters enables the plant to adapt to almost any environmental condition.
Identification: annual
Leaves: vary in shape from triangular to ovate to lanceolate. They are thick with a white, waxy substance that is especially dense on the lower surface. Leaf stalks are much longer than the leaves. Lower leaves may have a goosefoot shape, while upper ones are linear.
Flowers: clustered spikes of small, dull green flowers located at the ends of stems and branches or in the axils of the upper leaves.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: a species of Chenopodium that have a bad odor and taste can be soemwhat toxic

Sp,S,A - 3.Lotus Lily, American Lotus
(Nelumbo Lutea) -
Habitat: a floating-leaf aquatic plant that prefers slow moving water such as slow moving streams, lakes, ponds, bays and tidal waters
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: round, bluish-green leaves that can be up to 2 feet in diameter and are flat in appearance if the plant is floating and conical when emergent. Often confused with water lilies when floating, lotus leaves lack the characteristic slit of lily pads and a have a thick central stem.
Flowers: up to 12 inches across, flowers may have more than twenty delicate petals which range in color from yellowish-white to darker yellow.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 4.Marsh Marigold, Cowslip (Caltha Palustris) -
Habitat: part shade, sun; wet; swamps, seeps, wet ditches, springs, along shores, wet woods
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: deep green, kidney shaped or round, up to 7 inches long. 
Flowers: 5-10 bright yellow petal-like sepals, 2 iches in diameter
Poisonous Look-Alikes: flowers resemble common buttercups yet leaves are very different

Sp,S - 5.Miner's Lettuce, Winter Purslane
(Montia Perfoliata/Claytonia Perfoliata) -
Habitat: moist or vernally moist sites, open to shady, often sandy, forests, thickets, meadows and disturbed sites
Identification: annual
Leaves: basal leaves are lance-shaped to diamond-shaped
Flowers: five to forty tiny, white to pale pink flowers on slender stalks cluster above a circular to weakly squared, often cuplike, green leaf structure
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 6.Narrow Leaved Cattail
(Typha Angustifolia) -
Habitat: wet meadows, shores, marshes and ditches, lakes, ponds, and bays
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: typically three to five feet tall, with long, stiff leaves 1/4 to 1/2 inch in wide
Flowers: flowers form a dense cylindrical “spike” at the top of the plant
Poisonous Look-Alikes: stalks and roots of wild Iris species. Harvest where old stalks are abundant

Sp - 7.Orange Flowered Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not (Impatiens Capensis/Biflora) -
Habitat: wet areas - banks of streams, ponds, springs, swamps, woodlands, floodplains
Identification: annual
Leaves: oval, coarsely-toothed, bluish-green leaves, 3 inches long
Flowers: 1 inch long, rear-spurred, cornucopia-shaped, orange to orange-yellow flowers with reddish-brown spotting.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S - 8.Pale Violet (Viola Striata) -
Habitat: rich, moist woods, valleys, bottomlands and streambanks
Identification: perennial
Leaves: dark green, 3 inches wide, heart-shaped with deeply cut stipules
Flowers: up to 1 inch long creamy white flowers with a purple-veined lower petal
Poisonous Look-Alikes: best to collect only when in bloom as leaves resemble other plants, some of which are toxic

Sp - 9.Peppergrass, Milk Bottle, Bottle Brush
(Lepidium Virginicum) -
Habitat: disturbed habitats, poor or sandy soil, fields, vacant lots and roadsides
Identification: annual or biennial
Leaves: small, narrow toothed or entire, becoming linear near the top, up to 6 inches long
Flowers: tiny, 4-petaled, 4mm white flowers alternate along the slender flower stalk, with flat, circular seed pods below.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A - 10.Pigweed, Redroot
(Amaranthus Retroflexus) -
Habitat: common and widespread, crop fields, vineyards, orchards, pastures, gardens, waste areas, roadsides
Identification: annual
Leaves: alternate, up to 4 inch long, 2 1/3 inches wide. Lower leaves are egg to diamond shaped and upper leaves are usually lance shaped.
Flowers: inconspicuous greenish flowers cluster to form dense, usually stiff, spikelike terminal clusters with smaller clusters between the main stem and leaf stalks
Poisonous Look-Alikes: Pigweed is a concentrator of nitrates and should be eaten in moderation

Sp,S,A - 11.Plantain (Plantago Major) -
Habitat: vineyards, orchards, gardens, urban sites, landscaped areas, footpaths, roadsides, and other disturbed locations.
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: up to 7 inch long leaves spiral on a very short, weakly woody stem. broadly lance shaped to egg shaped, hairless or sparsely short haired.
Flowers: leafless, slender spikes of inconspicuous flowers clustered densely along an upright flowering head, usually up to 12 inches tall.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 12.Pokeweed, Inkberry, Pidgeonberry(Phytolacca Americana) -
Habitat: can be found in pastures, roadsides, fencerows, open woods and wood borders
Identification: perennial
Leaves: alternate, fleshy, and shiny, ranging from 5 to 20 inches long, are usually 1/3 as wide as they are long. The upper leaf surface is dark green, lower surface is pinkish-green with conspicuous pink veins.
Flowers: 4 mm wide and composed of 5 petal-like, rounded sepals, whitish-green, produced in long, narrow, unbranched, erect to nodding clusters
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none Caution - root is poisonous! Avoid all plant parts except young, solid green shoots(avoid any shoots with purple on them!)

Sp,A - 13.Poverty Weed
(Monolepis Nuttalliana or Blitum Nuttallianum) -
Habitat: found in floodplains, open woods, streambanks; tolerant of salty soils and water
Identification: annual
Leaves: leaves dark-green to gray-green, spearhead-shaped sometimes with powdery texture up to 2 1/2 inches long
Flowers: .05 mm, numerous, inconspicuous, greenish to reddish with petals absent
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 14.Prickly Lettuce, Wild Opium, Horse Thistle (Lactuca Serriola) -
Habitat: along roads, railroads, and sidewalks and in alleys, vacant lots, waste areas, pastures, orchards, and cultivated fields
Identification: biennial (rarely an annual)
Leaves: alternate, 6 to 12 inches long, coarse, and variable in size and shape
Flowers: many small flower heads, each borne singly at the end of a short branch, are grouped in open terminal clusters. Opened flower heads are less than 1/2 inch wide and consist of 5 to 12 yellow ray flowers that often fade to blue as they dry
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S - 15.Red Mulberry (Morus Rubra) -
Habitat: native to rich woods, bottomlands and wood margins
Identification: tree
Leaves: alternate, heart shaped to oblong to club shaped, serrated edges, dark green leaves to up to 8 inches long with 0 to 3 lobes
Flowers: unisexual greenish flowers in small catkin-like spikes appear in early spring with male and female flowers usually appearing on separate trees
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none - Caution: unripe fruits and raw shoots contain hallucinogens

Sp,S,A,W - 16.Reed Grass, Phragmites
(Phragmites Communis/Australis) -
Habitat: edges of streams, lakes, ponds, ditches and other damp areas
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: alternate along top half of stem, flat, strap-like, smooth, tapering to long tip, can persist through the winter, gray-green, measure up to 20 inches long and up to 2 inches wide. Long hairs are present at the junction of leaf and sheath.
Flowers: 1/2 inch long purple or gold spikelets grow on feathery, loose clusters that are up to 20 inch long, and 8 inches wide.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none but avoid roots and shoots of Yellow and Blue Flag Iris and other inedibles

Sp,S - 17.Russian Thistle, Saltwort
(Salsola Kali)
Habitat: occurs only in sunny habitats; Most common in salty soil and in disturbed desert and grassland communities
Identification: annual
Leaves: alternate, long-lanced to awl shaped, succulent, spiny at the tip, up to 2 inches long, merging with papery-margined bracts
Flowers: solitary or clustered, 5 petal-like sepals, numerous in narrow, elongated spikes in junctions of stems of upper leaves and at branch tips
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 18.Sassafras (Sassafras Albidum) -
Habitat: occurs in wood margins, fence rows, fields, thickets and roadsides
Identification: shrub or tree
Leaves: variable, 4 to 6 inch long leaves in three shapes (ovate, mitten-shaped and three-lobed) are bright green
Flowers: small, yellow clusters, 6 parted, fruits are dark blue berries on red stems
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A - 19.Sheep Sorrel, Red Sorrel
(Rumex Acetosella) -
Habitat: common in waste areas, roadsides, and lawns
Identification: annual or perennial
Leaves: alternate, long and arrowhead shaped, up to 7 inches long
Flowers: 2 mm, 6 parted, female flowers are greenish, while male flowers are yellow to red, small and clustered along terminal and axillary branches at the tops of stems. Male, female, and bisexual flowers can appear on the same plant.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 20.Shepherd's Purse (Capsella Bursa-Pastoris) -
Habitat: disturbed soil, in unmowed meadows and lawns, and along roadsides and trails
Identification: annual or biennial
Leaves: petioled and deeply lobed, quite similar to that of a dandelion, up to 6 inches long
Flowers: 5 mm white 4-petaled flowers appear in clusters at the top of a flowerstalk that can reach 6 to 24 inches in height
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 21.Spice Bush
(Lindera Benzoin) -
Habitat: moist soil, stream banks and rich woodlands
Identification: shrub
Leaves: up to 5 inch long, dark green, oval-shaped with smooth edges. They have a pleasant fragrance when they are crushed.
Flowers: small, fragrant, yellow flowers in early spring before the leaves emerge (male and female flowers on separate plants)
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S - 22.Soapweed, Great Plains Yucca
(Yucca Glauca) -
Habitat: roadsides, pastures, prairies, usually in well drained, sandy or rocky soil
Identification: evergreen perennial
Leaves: alternate linear leaves form a basal rosette and are spine-tipped, leathery, and highly fibrous
Flowers: flowering 2 to 5 foot tall stalk contains white to greenish-white, drooping cup-shaped flowers about 2 inches in length
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 23.Sour Dock, Curled Dock, Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus) -
Habitat: fields, on disturbed soil, along roadsides, and near the seashore
Identification: perennial
Leaves: 15 inches long, lance-shaped, hairless, basal rosette, leaves with very wavy margins
Flowers: small, greenish-red, composed of three outer green tepals and three inner red tepals, and arranged in long, dense terminal clusters
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S - 24.Spanish Bayonet, Banana Yucca
(Yucca Baccata) -
Habitat: very tough and durable, capable of withstanding extremes in heat, cold, and drought, widespread in the souteastern United States
Identification: evergreen perrenial
Leaves:  stiff leaves are 40 inches long by 2 inches wide, with curly white filaments along the margins and sharp terminal spines
Flowers: bell-shaped flowers usually white or greenish, sometimes reddish, on spike held 2 to 3 feet above main clump
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 25.Stinging Nettle, Nettle
(Urtica Dioica) -
Habitat: pastures, nurseries, orchards, neglected yards, waste places, roadsides, flood plains, stream banks and ditches
Identification: perennial
Leaves: thin, up to 6 inches long, 2 inches wide, opposite leaves with a rounded or heart-shaped base and a pointed tip, and the infamous stinging hairs on the underside.
Flowers: tiny, greenish-white flowers are arranged in clusters on slender, branched spikes formed in the leaf axils
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 26.Sweet Birch, Black Birch
(Betula Lenta) -
Habitat: forest or open woods, rich well-drained soil
Identification: tree
Leaves: alternate, oval, pinnately-veined, finely serrated on the margins, up to 6 inches long, 3 inches wide.
Flowers: appear before the leaves; about 3/4 inch long, slender and pale green, in clusters of three which elongate to about 3 to 4 inches long in the spring
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 27.Toothwort, Pepper Root
(Cardamine Concatenata) -
Habitat: woodlands, floodplain woodlands, wooded bluffs, and upland savannas
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: whorls of 3, 3 to 5 parted, deeply lobed, jagged leaves, up to 5 inches long, and as wide
Flowers: about 3/4 to 1 inch across when fully open, consisting of 4 fragrant, predominately white petals with pinkish - purplish tinge, 4 green sepals
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 28.Watercress (Nasturtium Officinale) -
Habitat: flowing streams and other shallow fresh water; prefers cold moving water
Identification: perennial
Leaves: older leaves are compound, each leaf consisting of 3 to 11 crinkly-edged, oval or lance-shaped leaflets growing from a central stalk, up to 6 inches long
Flowers: 5 mm flowers with 4 white petals are clustered at the ends of the stems on short stalks
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 29.Western Camas, Blue Camas Lily (Camassia Quamash) -
Habitat: coastal mountain forests, moist meadows or seepy habitats, especially those that dry up by late spring or early summer
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: 20 inch long, grasslike, lance-shaped leaves grow from the base
Flowers: several showy, 1.5 inch long light to dark violet blue flowers with 6 petals or petal-like structures, growing on a central stalk
Poisonous Look-Alikes: CAUTION! Death Camas, narrow-leaved plants with green, white or bronze flowers, one or more in narrow spikes.

Sp,S - 30.White Mulberry (Morus Alba) -
Habitat: along fencerows of unattended areas and in other open rural and urban habitats. It is not tolerant of shade and rarely grows in forested sites. But it is relatively tolerant of drought, salt, pollution and poor soils.
Identification: tree
Leaves: alternate, broadly oval, up to 6 inches long, with toothed margins. The upper surface is smooth and shiny. The lower leaf surface is pale green and generally smooth, with hairs along the main veins.
Flowers: clusters of small petalless flowers are borne in a dense hanging spike
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none Caution - raw shoots and unripe friut contain hallucinogens

Sp,S,A - 31.Wild Onion, Meadow Garlic
(Allium Canadense) -
Habitat: widespread, woodlands, moist meadows near rivers and woodlands, thickets, banks of streams, thinly wooded bluffs, abandoned fields, pastures, and waste areas
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: basal, in a rosette, up to 14 inches long and 5 mm. across
Flowers: a cluster of zero to few flowers and bulblets (frequently some combination of both), flowers - 1/2 inch across, star shaped, with white to pink
Poisonous Look-Alikes: avoid all onion-like plants that lack onion odor, some such as the DEATH CAMASS are highly poisonous

Sp,S,A - 32.Wild Leek, Ramp (Allium Tricoccum) -
Habitat: rich, moist, deciduous forests and bottoms
Identification: perennial
Leaves: basal, lance-like, flat, 1 to 2 inches wide, found in early spring then disappears when in flower
Flowers: small, white, 6-petaled, 1/4 inch wide; in a rounded cluster on leafless stalk
Poisonous Look-Alikes: avoid all onion-like plants that lack onion odor, some such as the DEATH CAMASS are highly poisonous

Sp,S,A - 33.Wild Onion, Nodding Onion
(Allium Cernuum) -
Habitat: rocky soils in glades, bluff edges, open woods, dry meadows and prairies
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: basal leaves are erect, linear, ascending, or arching; they are up to 12" long and up to 8 mm. across
Flowers: single flowering stem with up to 30 light pink to lavender or occasionally white flowers in loose, drooping umbels atop erect, leafless stems
Poisonous Look-Alikes: avoid all onion-like plants that lack onion odor, some such as the DEATH CAMASS are highly poisonous

Sp,S,A - 34.Wild Potato Vine,Man Of The Earth (Ipomea Pandurata) -
Habitat: dry soils, in fields, disturbed areas
Identification: perrenial
Leaves: leaf-blades are thin, heart-shaped, occasionally fiddle-shaped, 3 to 6 inches long
Flowers: white morning-glory, up to 3 inches long and about as wide, with a reddish-purple center
Poisonous Look-Alikes: flowers may resemble Jimson Weed, however, Jimson Weed is an upright herb with large, coarsely toothed leaves, not a vine.

A,W,Sp - 35.Wintercress, Yellow Rocket
(Barbarea Vulgaris) -
Habitat: banks of rivers, streams and ditches, roadsides, hedges and waste places
Identification: biennial or short lived perennial
Leaves: lower leaves with a large, rounded end lobe and 1-4 pairs of smaller side lobes along leaf stem
Flowers: heads of small bright, yellow, whitish or creamy-yellow, 4-petalled, 1/2 inch wide flowers on ridged stalks, scent resembles orange-blossoms
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 36.Wintergreen, Checkerberry
(Gaultheria Procumbens) -
Habitat: prefers sandy soils; dry woodlands, although frequent in low woods, clearings
Identification: evergreen herb
Leaves: alternate, glossy, leathery, oblong, dark green leaves, to 2 inches long. Leaves and fruit have the aroma and taste of wintergreen.
Flowers: waxy, nodding, white, bell-shaped flowers 1/4 inch long bloom from the leaf axils
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

A,W,Sp - 37.Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis) -
Habitat: moist, well-drained soils on mountain ravines, along stream banks, and in swampy woods
Identification: tree
Leaves: simple, alternate and doubly-toothed, oval, broadest near base, pointed tip, up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide
Flowers: tiny flowers are grouped into caterpillar-like clusters (catkins), with female flowers in shorter and compact, erect, greenish catkins and male flowers in longer, looser, purplish-yellow catkins that hang down.
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp - 38.Yellow Flowered Jewelweed, Pale Touch-me-not (Impatiens Pallida) -
Habitat: disturbed areas, swamps, stream-sides, ditches, lakeshore, wet spots in woods
Identification: annual
Leaves: alternate, thin, ovate, blunt toothed, up to 6 inches long, bright medium green
Flowers: funnel shaped - 3 petals, lemon yellow, 1 inch long, sometimes with red or reddish brown specks
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Sp,S,A,W - 39.Yellow Pond Lily, Spatterdock
(Nuphar Advena/Lutea) -
Habitat: swamps, ponds, protected coves along lakes, and shallow areas along slow-moving rivers
Identification: aquatic perrenial
Leaves: large heart-shaped leaves, usually with wavy margins, up to 16 inches long and about two-thirds as much across, sometimes held several inches above the water, although they commonly float on the water's surface
Flowers: solitary, yellow, many petaled, 4 inches wide, cup-shaped, opening during the day and closing at night
Poisonous Look-Alikes: none

Credit for Content:
Michigan Natural Features Inventory
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
United States Deparement of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service
Edible Wild Plants - A North American Field Guide To Over 100 Natural Foods
Missouri Botanical Garden
Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences
Kew Royal Botanical Gardens
Fed. Forest Service Data Base
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Plant Conservation Alliance
State of Washington - Department of Ecology
University of Wisconsin - Extension - Cooperative Extension
University of Minnesota - Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products
Minnesota Extension Service
Ohio Perrenial and Biennial Weed Guide
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Brandeis University
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences - Extension
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Fact Sheet
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
Missouri Botanicl Garden
Virginia Tech - Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior
Fairfax County Public Schools
Kentucky State University
University of Arizona - Pima County Cooperative Extension
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay - Herbarium
University of Florida Extension

Leaves/Flowers Edible Wild Plants Spring Page 2 (L - Z)

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