By: Jessica Godino, Red Moon Herbs
- Start with a few easily recognized plants, and get to know new plants slowly.
- Study the poisonous plants that grow in your area, and always know whether the plant you¹re harvesting plant has any poisonous lookalikes.
- Always be sure you have identified a plant correctly, either through the use of a field guide or an experienced harvester.
- Give your full attention to your task; its easy to make mistakes if you¹re distracted.
- Some plants have parts that are edible and parts that are toxic (example; violet), and some plants have parts that are edible at certain times of the year but toxic at others (example; pokeweed). Make sure you know which part to use, and when to harvest it.
- As with all foods, some plants will not agree with certain people. Start with small amounts of any wild food that is new to you.
- Ask permission before harvesting on someone else’s property
- Avoid areas that are likely to be sprayed, for example around power lines, train tracks, golf courses, and weedless yards. Don¹t gather within 50 feet from a busy road, especially downhill from one.
- Return often to your harvesting sites, to get to know the plants at different phases of their lifecycle.
- Learn which plants are endangered in your area and avoid harvesting them altogether. (Luckily, many edible and medicinal plants are prolific weeds, and you don¹t need to worry about over-harvesting.)
Created by Jessica Godino, March 2001