on 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.
on November 24, 2013
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.
on September 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.
on November 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.
on June 12, 2004
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.
on 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." They contain alkaloids that can cause gastrointestinal distress that can lead to death.
Enjoy the recipes, or cook them up for your characters. I give this five stars for photography, information, and an easy to use reference book.
on April 7, 2002
This Outdoor Life Book, while it follows the typical field guide format with nice glossy pages and clear, crisp color identification photos with full plant descriptions, is jam-packed with not only the picture, plant name, habitat, and identification details but goes in-depth to clearly define those PARTS of the plant that are edible and how to prepare them (sometimes even including simple recipes). This guide is the most detailed edible plant guide I have found and offers great "extras" like a quick key guide that allows you to identify if a plant is trail nibble, salad addition, cooked green, underground vegetable, fritter, raw fruit, cooked fruit, jams/jellies/sauces, syrup/sugar, candy, grain, nuts/seeds, flour/meal, hot beverage, cold beverage, pickle, seasoning, or thickener. The "Poisonous look-alikes" feature is an added attraction within each plant description and there is also an entire poisonous plant section so there will be no mistake that what you have found Mother Nature meant you to harvest. A fabulous handbook for gardeners, hikers, and cooks.
on July 2, 1998
I bought this book to use to gather wild plants for making homemade wines, but now it's a companion whenever I go hiking, fishing, camping, or merely sightseeing. It's that valuable!
The book is divided into an introductory section, guides to harvesting plants in each of the four seasons, the plants themselves (also presented seasonally), poisonous plants, a nutritional guide, and two great indices. The introduction includes great tips on how to prepare wild foods as drinks, snacks, entres, and condiments, along with recipes for 25 jellies, 20 jams and 17 fruit and berry pies. But the good part is yet to come.
Each plant is presented with a good-to-excellent photograph, a distribution map (so a person in the Pacific Northwest doesn't have to wonder whether he or she is looking at a squashberry or a hobblebush berry), a complete description, identification of the edible parts, harvest and preparation notes, related species, and poisonous look-alikes (if any). The presentations are just excellent. My only complaint is that the book isn't twice as thick.
Whether you just want to be prepared for emergencies or you want to collect wild edibles for making jams, jellies, pies, and wine, this book is one of the only two you'll probably need. The other is a good regional guide, because with over 20,000 species of plants to choose from north of the Rio Grande alone, a guide to regional edibles is a must.
on March 5, 1998
This book is a well-organized listing of edible wild plants in North America. Listings are by season, so you know when to look for a specific plant. Habitat is described including a quick reference range map of North America, as are how to harvest, prepare, and store foods for future use. A symbol key at the left of each plant will tell you at a glance what uses you can put a plant to; trail nibble, potherb, etc. Related edible and poisonous look alikes are also listed. This book utilizes pictures, something none of the other books I looked at did. I think this makes identification of plants much easier than relying on someone's black and white sketch or colored pencil rendering of something wild that I'm plan to eat. The one down side to this is that some of the pictures could be much better; about a dozen pictures are black and white, while others show the plant only at a distance which might make identification problematical. However, scientific names are provided, and if you have the luxury of time, you can do a search online for a more precise picture.
on September 3, 1999
I would actually rate this 3 and a half stars. Good information and pretty good photos, however, I have had a (very) small amount of frustration using this book because photos (particularly black and white) can be ambiguous, and because it doesn't go into a great deal of ideas for uses of the edible plants (medicinal uses, recipes, etc.). Overall a good book though.