Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?


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

Monday - April 06, 2015

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


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


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 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

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

Wild Edible Plants in Florida from

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

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".


More Edible Plants Questions

Red berries growing along county road in Caldwell County, Texas
September 06, 2014 - Hello, first I would like to thank you for your time. I thank it's great that you guys and girls answer questions (I'm sure y'all are busy). That being said I will get to the question. On the sides...
view the full question and answer

Planting fruit and nut trees in Archer, FL.
January 26, 2012 - We're looking to plant a few fruit and nut trees in Archer, Florida. We've been thinking about figs, apples, peaches, oranges, plums, and whatever nuts grow best here (looks like almonds and pecan...
view the full question and answer

Blueberry and huckleberry plants for Washington state
April 20, 2010 - Could you give me the names of which blueberry plants and huckleberry bushes that grow the best in Walla Walla, Washington and where and how to plant and space and care for them?? Thanks so much.
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
June 19, 2010 - We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty fee...
view the full question and answer

Need source of plants for making teas in Bend, Oregon.
July 08, 2012 - I love to make my own tea, just moved to central Oregon and want to know some good plants I can find anywhere in town and can use in my teas.
view the full question and answer

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