Fat Hen – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Fat hen has been used in food and medicine since ancient times. It was among the commonest wild ‘spinach’, and was eventually replaced in cooking after the introduction of spinach from south-west Asia. Scientific Name Chenopodium album. Family Amaranthaceae. Botanical Description This wild edible species is said to sometimes resemble dock (Rumex obtusifolius) because of … Read more

Ground Elder – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Medieval monks cultivated ground elder as a medicinal plant, but it later earned a reputation of a nuisance weed thanks to its rapid growth. Is there any redemption for this once useful wild edible? Scientific Name Aegopodium podagraria. Family Apiaceae. Botanical Description The plant forms a creeping, pale green carpet across the ground. The oval-shaped … Read more

Oak – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Oak is arguably Britain’s most beloved tree and can live up to 800 years. The fruit it bears – the acorn – has been popular as a source of food and medicine since ancient times. All parts of the oak were once considered edible making this tree quite the forager’s feast! Scientific Name Quercus robur. … Read more

Guelder Rose or Crampbark – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Guelder rose is traditionally used to treat cramp, hence the plant’s common names ‘crampbark’ or ‘crampbush’.1 Scientific Name Viburnum opulus. Family Viburnaceae. Botanical Description Guelder rose bears fertile flowers that are pinkish-white in the bud and produce red, glossy drupes, while the sterile outer flowers are white, large and plate-like. The stem is slender and … Read more

Selfheal – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Selfheal is a forgotten healer that has made a recent comeback as a modern-day heal-all with promising potential for use in food and medicine. Scientific Name Prunella vulgaris. Family Lamiaceae. Botanical Description The flowers appear on purple, sometimes pinkish, cylindrical spikes and distinguish the plant from others in the mint family by their tight, sausage-shaped … Read more

Yarrow – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Yarrow is the herb of a million flowers thanks to its prolific foliage. This wild edible has been used since ancient times in food and medicine, and it still a commonly used herb today. Scientific Name Achillea millefolium. Family Asteraceae. Botanical Description It has a rough, angular stem with long, dark-green, feathery leaves. The flowers … Read more

Daisy – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Daisy, a humble little flower that is widespread in many parts of the world. A children’s favourite for making ‘daisy chains’ or ‘fairy chains’, the daisy has also been used in food and medicine. Common Name Daisy. Scientific Name Bellis perennis. Family Asteraceae. Botanical Description Flower-heads solitary on a leafless stalk springing from the root … Read more

Meadowsweet – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Sweetly scented meadowsweet was famous as a strewing herb and as a flavouring for mead. It later gained recognition as one of the plants that contain salicylic acid, from which is derived aspirin and has been used for many of the same complaints for which aspirin is used today.1 Common Name Meadowsweet. Scientific Name Filipendula ulmaria, … Read more

Sorrel – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

Common Name Common Sorrel. Scientific Name Rumex acetosa. Family Polygonaceae. Botanical Description Common sorrel grows up to 10–120 cm. Its stalks bear clusters of small reddish-green to brown flowers and the bright-green leaves are long, oblong and spear-shaped. Status Perennial. Native or naturalised in Britain, Ireland, Europe, Africa and Asia; introduced to North America and … Read more