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Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide [Paperback]

Thomas Elias , Peter Dykeman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Dec 31 1990 --  
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Book Description

Dec 31 1990
“Season-by-season guide to identification, harvest, and preparation of more than 200 common edible plants to be found in the wild....Hundreds of edible species are included....[This] handy paperback guide includes jelly, jam, and pie recipes, a seasonal key to plants, [and a] chart listing nutritional contents.”—Booklist. “[Five hundred] beautiful color photographs...temptingly arranged.”—The Library Letter

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full color-photos sorted by season. Nuff said. March 16 2010
This book features color photos almost exclusively, and each entry has the common name, scientific name, region of proliferation, as well as preperation and foraging tips.

I did a *lot* of research before buying this book, and the main thing I appreciated was the fact that the book has full-color pictures. My only caveat would be that the description said "north eastern" North America, yet only a small percentage of Atlantic Canadian plants are featured. Still a 5-star book in my honest opinion.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only Fair for Identification Sept. 6 2002
Identification of edible species is what I want, with emphasis on the first word. From my experience in identifying tree species and other plant ID handbooks, I'd call this one mediocre. The photos are often close-ups with no indication of scale, so size is unknown. Details are not included. Root structure and overall plant structure are seldom shown. ID often depends on flowers, present only for a few weeks of the year. Variation among species is so widespread that I'd recommend at least two good books, with better illustrations than those found here. Drawings, though not "natural", often provide better clues to identity by showing roots, structure, etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By rachelleme TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a really good book. One star knocked off for having pictures of the plants in question done at only one stage of their life/year. You'll need to be identify it when it looks different so more picture books, or internet image searches will supplement this book quite nicely. It tells where the plant is located, how to use it, and any cautions you should be aware of.
I borrowed it from my local library, first, before buying, To be sure it was what I wanted. And sure enough, it's worth getting. I'm pleased I've got a copy of my own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
What makes this book rare and most useful is the listings are by the four seasons as well as habitat or areas grown or found in, so you know when to actually look for a specific plant. There is a small symbol next to each plant to show you how the plant can be utilized, like foraging for food, medicinal etc. I also like that the book covers look alike, since this may well save your life. The graphics used etc are superb. And the recipes are useful. This is one of those books any self sufficient rural or mountain person will own and use.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by it's cover... Nov. 18 2008
I really enjoy using this field guide, it has a lot of listings and even helped me identify a few I didn't know. This book has squeezed in its pages so many entries and still it manages to maintain a personal touch, as if the authors have actually tried the edibles themselves.
The 'edible-use' symbols are especially helpful, they are simple to understand and nicely located on the page edges. The hundreds of photos are great (except the 4 or 5 that are in black and white??), of course you need good pictures when you are identifying wild edibles.
Lastly though, read the book thoroughly, front to back. At least 4 of the pretty plants shown on the cover(s)are poison (and listed as such at the back section of the book). The photos are beautiful, but I was surprised to find that they made the front and back cover of a book with the name "Edible Wild Plants".
Happy foraging, use caution of course.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
My only regret about this book is that it isn't longer!
The plants are organized by season, and every plant has a small map to show what regions it grows in. There is a very nice, good sized picture of each plant, and most of them are in color. Information is also provided about harvesting, how to prepare the plant, and poisonous look alikes, if any.
The plants are listed by their common names, but the latin names are listed as well. Plants can be located by either name in the index.
If you are interested in edible wild plants, this book is a great value for a reasonable price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Survival guide -- or what to eat when... April 27 2002
While you may find that something that is growing in your own back yard could cut down on the grocery bill, this book is also a great tool for a writer, and that is my view.
Wild Plants is divided by seasons, and what is edible just in case you are surviving in nature's wonderland without fast food places just three miles down the road. On the other hand, what to eat when a flood in ... well, any place that strands your protagonists for weeks.
The color photographs show the shapes and colors of the leaves and berries, which makes describing a meal easier. A map of the U. S. is coded to show you where the plants are likely to grow. Additionally, there are many details about the plants, such as what part to eat and whether it can be a full meal or just a salad. One of the most important details included about the plants is a list of poisonous look-alikes. For example the Eastern camass, Camass Lily is edible during all seasons; the baked bulbs are very dark and sugary, but baking to perfection takes 1-3 days. However, the bulbs are palatable raw, or can be boiled in 25-30 minutes. The look-alike Death Camass has several differences, one being that the edible plant has blue flowers in the spring; so what does your hungry character eat while escaping?
A section about poisonous plants describes twenty that are toxic, and that grow beside the ones you can eat. Nature provides its own clue about the plants. By watching what and when the birds and wild life eat the odds decrease of choosing the wrong plant. There is a great picture of the Death Camass that grows in the west and north west states, as indicated by the map. "All twelve of the native Zigadenus species should be considered extremely poisonous.
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