Top Plant Identification Books For Foragers

I am often asked which edible wild plant identification books I recommend. There isn’t a specific edible wild plant ID book available for the UK, so you are left with using wildflower plant ID guides instead.

Most wild food books only give cursory plant ID specifics and generally not enough to ensure absolute certainty.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the links below.

Botany In A Day

This is a must-have book for all plant lovers. Rather than learning new plants one-at-a-time, it is possible to learn them by the hundreds, based on plant family patterns. The title sounds a bit heavy, but it is a stellar book that I can’t recommend highly enough… Read more.

Harrap’s Wild Flowers

Currently my #1 field guide. A good balance between a wildflower key, and photographic ID book. With superb photography throughout, including stunning portraits and close-ups of key features where relevant, and succinct, no-nonsense text this book will help you identify almost any wildflower that you may encounter in Britain and Ireland… Read more.

Francis Rose Wild Flower Key

How to Identify Wild Flowers, Trees and Shrubs in Britain and Ireland. Wildflower keys can be hard to get your head around if you aren’t a trained botanist, however, they are well worth having, as the detail of each plant species is listed in minute detail thereby ensuring you can correctly ID a plant… Read more.

Vegetative Key to the British Flora

One of the things about wild food is that you need to often ID a plant before it has flowered. This can cause a problem for beginners as they have to wait a full year after the plant has flowered to be able to ID it again. Normally you would ID a plant once it is in flower. With Vegetative Key to the British Flora, the aim of the authors is to “enable reliable identification at any stage of growth”. So depending on your skill level, you should be able to ID a plant pre-flowering which is when you generally want to eat it… Read more.

Cassell’s Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe

This is a beautifully illustrated book covering over 2400 wild flowering plants. A hefty tome, but worth having on your shelf… Read more.

Wild Flowers of Britain & Ireland

Illustrated by Marjorie Blamey who did the illustrations for the book above. This is one you can pop in your backpack, and stomp out into the wilds. The descriptions are not as comprehensive as Cassell’s Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe, but worth having… Read more.

Concise British Flora in Colour

A classic wildflower guide covering more than 1480 species. As old as the ark but still worth getting a copy… Read more.

Wild Flowers of Britain & Northwest Europe

The best photographic plant ID book, and the one I started out with and still use… Read more.

Share Your Experience. Leave A Note For Others

  1. Is “Botany in a Day” still recommended for a N European audience? (my location is Germany). Thanks!

Comments are closed.