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4.4 out of 5 stars
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2003
On the whole, this book is interesting and informative, but I was slightly disappointed with the logical layout. The information in the book is fairly detailed and interesting, but is presented in a narrative manner. The book takes a season/habitat based approach... I guess I was expecting a more trait-based heirarchical listing system. Something that would facilitate taking an unknown plant and quickly looking up the answers to "what is it? is it edible? is it medicinal? if so, what are the details"
The approach also tends to give details on a few interesting / especially good flavored or nutricious plants and then gives a names-only grocery list of "Edible and medicinal plants" and then one of "For Observation only"
So, in summary, if you know a bit about general plant identification and your focus is on what's available for the season and habitat, this book is a valuable resource, but if you're looking for a field identification and classification tool, this is probably not the best choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 1999
As a professional herbalist and herbal teacher I have over two hundred herbals and field guides at my disposal. Steve "Wildman" Brill leads the field in combining an herbal and edible plant field guide, which is readable, comprehensive, and most important ACCURATE. His final chapter of recipes will make most readers want to head into the backcountry just to find the proper edibles. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for the beginner or the professional herbalist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2003
This book was recommended to me by a friend when I mentioned an interest in wildcrafting -- the only problem is, my friend is much more nature-literate than I -- and while the information in this book far surpasses any other I've seen, the illustrations are (beautiful) pencil drawings devoid of color.
Otherwise an excellent resource.
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If you are interested in the subject this is a MUST BUY. I recently purchased this book for the third time. I have made a present of it twice. Part of the reason for my enthusiasm for this book is that in my experience, this is the only book of it's kind that can easily be read from cover to cover with good comprehension and retention of the contents. I believe that the reason this is so is due to the book's superb integration and afore mentioned organization. The author, Steve Brill, throughout includes much folk wisdom and a great deal of scientific fact and many humorous anecdotes. This is all done with an extreme humanity, lack of pretentiousness or dogmatism. Mr. Brill frequently describes the process by which he learned things and many of the false paths he took prior to gaining enlightenment. The author is one of the very very few people secure enough not to succumb to the temptation to remove the scaffolding he used to aid himself in obtaining his knowledge.
The author begins with a light survey of, but not limited to: - general advice on how (and why) to harvest wild plants - conservation - safety and equipment - nutritional information, as well as herbal actions, herbal preparation - plant structures - natural botanical habitats
Mr. Brill proceeds to discuss various specific plants and their identification. This material organized by natural habitat within season which is probably the best organization from the point of view of the neophyte forager. The selection of plants covered with very few exceptions, are the two to three hundred most common wild edible plants in the Northeast United States. This is bears emphasis in that the author does not waste your time with "plants that you will never see except in a field guide" or with "edible" plants where "edible" merely means "can be eaten without dying". The book ends with some general pointers on how to cook wild vegetables and in excess of thirty specific recipes. The entire book is infused with superbly organized information, humor, and well thought out philosophy of nature. The bibliography is superb. END
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on May 11, 1999
I found this book to be a treasure store of little known information concerning the identification-harvesting-cooking of a multitude of plants, trees, flowers. I especially enjoy the anecdotes the Author describes so well. When harvesting the burdock root, digging can be quite tiring, so he tells about the time he spotted a bulldozer at work, accidentally exposing many burdock. Collecting them in this manner sure beats the old-fashioned digging method. I have been inspired to try the recipies and have, I believe, benefited form them in respect to my health. In addition to identification, harvesting, and recipies, there is also information on the nutritional benefits of most entries.
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on June 2, 2000
This is a fantastic book. Very thorough information about finding, identifying, harvesting, preparing, and uses of edible wild plants. The plant drawings are fantastic and much easier to use than color photos. I enjoy his emphasis on finding edibles in your lawn or other "not so wild" places. Also includes lots of invaluable information on poisonous plants to avoid and poisonous "look-alikes" to beware of. He has a great sense of humor and an entertaining style. I bought the book and then had to immediately by another as a gift. I just got lunch by weeding my driveway...
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on June 30, 1998
This book mentions about 100 of the most likely medicinal and/or edible plants that you will encounter, whether in the woods, at a park, or along the sidewalk. The drawings are superb, and the information on the chemical and nutritional components of why the plant works as food or medicine is clear and thorough. The recipes are easy to follow ( I hate to cook). Best of all, the author has a great sense of humor making this one of the most readable books of its kind. I can't reccommend this one highly enough: it's become something of a "bible" for me.
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on January 13, 2014
I got this book for my moter in laws christmas and she loved it. I read all the reviews before I purchased it and they were helpful in me making a decision. The book is a work of art and there are very intricate line drawings in it. The info is very accurate and easy to digest. The author has lots of knowledge crammed in this book and it is well worth getting if you are curious about all the uses plants can be used for.
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on September 3, 1999
I wouldn't give very many books five stars, but this one thoroughly deserves it. The line drawings are better than pictures for identifying plants (I have had better luck with them anyway). The book has humor, great info on what to do with the plant once you've identified it, and more thorough treatment of history and other uses of each plant.
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on August 13, 2013
Good book for those seeking information on identified plants. Great companion material for someone who is capable of identifying plants. Not recommended for those who are seeking a book that will detail how to recognize the specific plants, however.
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