Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
13 ratings

Tuesday - September 12, 2006

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Lists of edible plants in region of Pennsylvania for school project
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please Help! I'm a grade four teacher in Philadelphia. My students and I are assigned a theme project that involves listing edible plants that grow in our region. Can you recommend a web site(s) with pictures? Also, I'm interested in that web site giving the common names used for these types of plants. This is a 5th grade class. We are interested in seeing pictures of the plants, their common name, and where in Pennsylvania the plants are located. The students will select one plant to report on and show or draw a picture of it. Thank you in advance.

ANSWER:

I haven't been able to find any "edible plant" web sites that are exclusive to Pennsylvania, but I did find one for a New York City forager, 'Wildman' Steve Brill. It contains lots of pictures and information (with many interesting facts written in an entertaining style) about a large number of plants of the New York City area. I would think that most, if not all, would also be found in Pennsylvania. His page is very kid-friendly. In fact, he is in the process of writing a book, "Stalking the Wild Dandelion: A Guide to Wild Edible Plants for Teachers to Use with Children." You can find information about the book on his web page. Some of his plants are not native and are even considered invasive (e.g., Burdock (Arctium sp.); Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum); and Mullein (Verbascum thapsus). He doesn't specifically call them invasive, but he does mention it when they are native to another country and are essentially weeds. Moreover, he certainly isn't encouraging their propagation—rather, their consumption instead!

To determine where these plants occur in Pennsylvania, you can go to the USDA Plants Database and enter the scientific name in the "Search" box. When the page for the plant appears, you can scroll down to the distribution map and it will give you the option to click on your state to see a county distribution map.

There is also a database for edible plants on the campus of Brandeis University in Massachusetts with lots of information and pictures for each species. You can find more web-based information about edible plants on the Foraging and Ethnobotany Links page. For books about edible plants visit our Native Plant Bibliography. Some of these titles may be available at your local library.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Jelly made from local plums from Amarillo TX
July 29, 2011 - On Wednesday, August 5, 2009 you answered a question on native plants in the Austin area in which you wrote:"Two kinds of local plums have also been used to make jellies: Mexican Plum (Prunus mexican...
view the full question and answer

Can beautyberries be used to make jelly from Hodges SC
August 02, 2010 - Since the beautyberry bush berries were used for tea to help with colic, can the berries be used for making jelly?
view the full question and answer

Affect of poisonous plant roots in soils for vegetables from Rusk TX
May 11, 2013 - I have a huge old flowerbed in front of my house that I want to plant veggies in, but I'm afraid to. It has a catalpa tree there, which I sell the worms from, but the entire tree (bark, leaves, flowe...
view the full question and answer

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Is the fruit of American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) edible?
March 22, 2012 - I am trying to find out if the "American Beautyberry" or "French Mulberry" fruit is edible? Can you tell me? Your website's information about this plant has been the most informative informatio...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.