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Sunday - March 02, 2014

From: Williamsport, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edible plants in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi again! Thanks for answering my one question. I have another though. Do you know of any edible plants with no nasty side effects ( like stomach aches or being nauseous) that grow in Lycoming County forests? Also, if any plants around here are good for building shelters (like a teepee)? If you are unable to answer my second question that is okay. Thanks!!!

ANSWER:

Several years ago Mr. Smarty Plants answered a similar question about edible native plants in Pennsylvania.  You see the answer to that question here.  It contains the names of several books that cover edible plants in Pennsylvania.

You can see a very useful article Surviving in the Wild: 19 common Edible Plants from the Art of Manliness.  Several of the plants listed are not native to North America—I wouldn't recommend them—and some are native to North America but not to Pennsylvania, so I will list the ones that are known to grow in Lycoming County.

Amaranthus retroflexus (Redroot amaranth) 

Typha latifolia (Broadleaf cattail) 

Taraxacum officinale (Common dandelion)

Plantago spp.  There are several species of native Plantago, but here are the ones that occur in Lycoming County or an adjacent county.

Oxalis spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

You can find another list in Edible Wild Plants in Pennsylvania from Trails.com.  Here, from that list, are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Nymphaea odorata (American white waterlily)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn sumac)

Pinus spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Robinia pseudoacacia (Black locust)

Vitis spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.  

Fragaria spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Rubus spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Prunus spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Juglans spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Carya  spp.  Here are the native ones that occur in Lycoming County or in an adjacent county.

Fagus grandifolia (American beech)

Castanea dentata (American chestnut)

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)

Sambucus racemosa (Red elderberry)

Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich fern)

So, you see, there are lots of native edible foods available in Lycoming County.  There are probably even more to be found if you search the books listed in the answer to the question mentioned at the beginning of this answer.

Now, here is what I could find out about tipi poles. According to this article about tipis in Wikipedia, the favorite poles were Pinus contorta (Lodgepole or Beach pine) in the Northern and Central Plains and Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) in the Southern Plains.  The Lakota Society says that Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar) was also used.  Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) is found in Lycoming County, but the other two are not.  You can see instructions for building a tipi from the Lakota Society and from Shelter Online.

 

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July 29, 2013 - In your plant database- which is great by the way- it does not say whether or not the plant is edible. Do you have any way to search for edible plants? Or do you have a separate database? Thanks!
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