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

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Monday - April 06, 2015

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants
Title: Edible Plants of Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants My name is Gabriel Bedoya; Im anthropologist, with large experience in research of traditional culinary, symbolic systems and native kitchens. Due to my experience in those specific fields, I have the opportunity to work alongside the most well reputed chefs in the world, like Ferran Adria from Spain or Alex Atala, and many others. Our actual research purpose is to rescue food traditions, as well, as mapping native ingredients that built local cultures and find new sources of revenue for our farmers. Currently, Im developing a research project about Florida Wildflowers. Im specifically interested in edible species, that has been used as edible ingredients by ancient Floridians and native americans. According to our research, flowers has been in our tables and dishes since inmemorable times, but by matters of modernity, we replace our traditions for new practices, that sometimes hide out our valuable past. Im writing you this e-mail by suggestion from Florida Wildflowers, to see if you have any information about Florida Edible Wildflowers, we will like to identify which species can be consumed and which ones not. Any information on this regard, will be very much appreciated. Respect regards; Gabriel Bedoya Food Anthropologist 786 631 8270

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants can refer you to several pertinent books and websites specializing in edible plants of Florida.  Starting with our Native Plant Bibliography that you can search by subject (Edible Plants) and region (Southeast) here are some entries that are specific to Florida:

Austin, Daniel F.  2004.  Florida Ethnobotany.

Deuerling, Richard and Peggy Lantz.  1993.  Florida's Incredible Wild Edibles.

Lindsay, Jean.  2012.  Edible Landscape Plants of Florida.  Not all the plants featured in this book are NorthAmerican native plants, but you can read the Table of Contents on the Amazon.com page to find which plants are included in the book.

Here are some internet resources related to wild edible plants in Florida:

Edible Plants of Florida from WildFloridian.com

A Sampling of Native Edible Plants of Central Florida from the North Brevard Business Directory

2 Blocks: 17 Edibles from Florida Survival Gardening

Foraging in Florida from EatTheWeeds.com

Wild Edible Plants in Florida from Trails.com

Surviving in the Wild: 19 Common Edible Plants from The Art of Manliness.com

Edible Plant Project (EPP) is a volunteer-based, 501c3 nonprofit organization working to promote edible landscaping and local food abundance in North Central Florida

Edibles from Florida Native Plant Nursery

Florida's Wild Edibles from Sharon's Florida

Native Edible Plants video from Orange County Government

Twelve Common Native Edible Plants from Lee County Extension Service

There are even more that you can find by Googling "Florida edible plants"

You can also find books about Florida edible plants on Amazon or Barnes & Noble by search for "Florida edible plants".  This search also results in some books that are unavailable/out of print.  Here are a few books that are available:

Lantz, Peggy S.  2014.  Florida's Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking.  University of Florida Press

Philpott, Don and Noreen Engstrom.  2014.  Beginner's Guide to Edible Florida.  Florida Features Publishing.

Morton, Julia F.  1968.  Wild Plants for Survival in South Florida: Description of More Than 125 Edible and Poisonous Wild Plants.  Hurricane House Publisher.

Scarry, C. Margaret, ed.  1993.  Foraging and Farming in the Eastern Woodlands (Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series).

Here are some articles about Florida's ethnobotany from the internet:

50 Common Native Plants Important In Florida's Ethnobotanical History by Ginger M. Allen, Michael D. Bond and Martin B. Main from University of Florida IFAS Extension.

Oaks:  Discovering Florida's Ethnobotany with Dr. Dan Austin from Florida Native Plant Society.

Ethnobotany of Florida's Weedy Vines by Daniel F. Austin from Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC).

You can find more entries under the Google search for "Florida ethnobotany".

 

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