En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - May 28, 2009

From: Woodstock, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edible native salad ingredients
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm hoping to make a salad for a school Horticulture project, but I'm having a hard time finding some edible plants. I live in Vermont, and am hoping to find some edible flowers and 'weeds' as well as herbs and things like that. I need all the help I can get. Thanks much.

ANSWER:

Probably the best source for finding edible wild native salad greens is to visit Taste of the Wild: a Guide to Edible Plants and Fungi of New England from Brandeis University.  In this online source you can search by how you want to use the food, e.g., Salads/Raw.

Another excellent and entertaining source is 'Wildman' Steve Brill's website.  He is famous for foraging in Central Park and teaches classes and leads field trips there.  I know Vermont and New York aren't exactly the same place, but to someone who lives in Texas (as Mr. Smarty Plant does) they seem really close together.

He lists many non-natives as well as natives.  Here are some native possibilities from his page of plants.  Be sure to read how he prepares them and, especially, read all cautions he gives.  All of these occur in Vermont:

Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail)

Stellaria pubera (star chickweed)

Plantago major (common plantain)

Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)

Impatiens pallida (pale touch-me-not)

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry) and other Amerlanchier species

Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed) BE SURE TO READ INSTRUCTIONS AND CAUTIONS CAREFULLY

Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)

Chenopodium album (lambsquarters)

Oxalis stricta (common yellow oxalis) and other Oxalis species

Portulaca oleracea (little hogweed)

Allium tricoccum (wild leek)

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)

You can find a few more suggestions in Foraging in Chittenden County, Vermont.

Good luck with your salad.  Bon appetit!


 

More Edible Plants Questions

Petals of flowers on cake from London
August 28, 2010 - Hi could you confirm that Gemini, Lisianthus and Lilies are non toxic if positioned onto a fresh cream cake (stem will be paced into a vial but the petals will come into contact with the cream). Thank...
view the full question and answer

Texas plants useful to early settlers
June 05, 2012 - I'm working on some interpretation for a prairie heritage trail in SE TX (near Houston). I'd like to know where I can find some good information on plant remedies which might have been used by early...
view the full question and answer

Making Tea from Croton monanthogynus
August 13, 2013 - Do you have any other information on the value of croton monanthogynus as a tea? Nutritive value? Possible adverse reactions?
view the full question and answer

Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio
May 03, 2006 - Hello there, I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs. If you could h...
view the full question and answer

Plants for floodplain in Fairfield, New Jersey
March 21, 2010 - I have an easy question for you... I hope... We just moved into the floodplains of NJ in Fairfield and are interested in some plants. We would like to know what plants are best suited to grow in flood...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center