Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Best vegetables to grow in San Antonio
June 06, 2006 - What vegtables are the safest bet for growing in San Antonio? Thanks
view the full question and answer

How to care for blueberries in Oregon
July 11, 2008 - New to oregon and to blueberry bushes - can you tell me the proper way to care for them - location-sandy, Oregon and unsure of which type of blueberry they are thank you
view the full question and answer

Identification of strange dark green blobs
February 03, 2012 - In my back yard I have a type of plant with no roots only around in the summer and when it rains. It looks like a person took a piece lettuce and put way too much water into it and wadded it up. It ...
view the full question and answer

Orange/yellow fungus on a dead oak
October 04, 2009 - I have a large dead oak tree which has an orange/yellow fungus growing at the base and also high on a spot where a branch had broken off. I've read a couple of things from the internet about this fun...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Georgia
September 14, 2011 - I saw the same question that I was going to ask about the plant that folds its leaves at dusk, with sparse branches, rapid growth, small yellow flowers and long (whisker-like, but do not appear to be ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.