Wildcrafting and Foraging

Wildcrafting and Foraging

Dan Wowak November 29, 2023

Wildcrafting and Foraging for Beginners by Jody Klocko

As we step into another part of the foraging season, now August, can be quite over whelming  with every possible plant flowering, and getting to the point of invasive overgrowth, and not knowing what the heck is what.

When I first got the bug to forage, it was confusing, frustrating, and daunting.

Simplicity is key, to getting out there and enjoying the outdoors . Are you  into bird watching, into hiking, nature walks, photography , Wild edibles are all around use.

Begin in our back yard, and today’s goal, is to find 3 edible plants just in my back yard. Your going to be amazed what you find. It can be Dandelion, Clover, Plantain, Wood sorrels. The list is endless to what nature provides us. I Like to learn the Common Name First vs. Scientific Name for Beginners.

So again, each time you get out for a walk, today, lets find 3 wild edibles. And you will then move to 5 wild edibles, then next time 7. Also take into consideration, of each plant, there’s several varieties and subspecies that also can create confusion or missed identification.  

Tip 1 - Repetition of teaching yourself is also a key to success.

Tip 2- Find a Phone App that is related to plants, flowers, such as (Picturethis).  So after you take pictures, I usually will bring home one or two samples and either use a guide book, and also using the internet, youtube, Wikipedia, there’s a lot free information and resources to discover if you may have a wild edible or not.

If I discover a new wild edible I will focus on the growth, location, cultivation and uses. Is it edible? Is it poisonous? Can it be consumed? Is it a Medicinal? Can you be made into a salve?  A Tea? Meads? Jams! Researching is as enjoyable as finding it. Stay native or regional to your area.

Tip 3- Spring Season is one of my favorite foraging seasons to learn, and see, as early risers from the long winter begin to emerge, Wild Garlic, Chickweed,  Stinging Nettle, Dandelion Greens.

Tip 4- Identify growth pattern, leaves, stems, roots, followed by time of the year and if your identified plant is 100%, seasonal  or do you perhaps have something different, or a look alike. Stages of growth also can create confusion,  from beginning of the plants cycle to the end of its seasonality.

Tip 5- Never consume any wild plant, flower, herb, mushrooms, and berries without 100% identification. Never wish it to be something it maybe not. When in doubt, throw it out..

Tip 6- Forage with an expert, or take a online class, check for foraging gatherings or clubs is also a tremendous way to dive into Foraging. Take your time, Your not going to find every wild edible in a Saturday afternoon, it takes time and patience, perhaps years.

Some examples!

Below you will find 3 plants that can be mistaken or miss identified. Questions to be asking yourself, is the Plant or herb in season, look at the height the growing pattern and the flowering tops, leaves, stem.

Common Yarrow

  Key features: Common Yarrow grows around 1 to 3 feet tall, with fine feather like leaves, smooth stem and blooms with budding flowers later spring and into early fall season. The flowers, stems, and leaves of yarrow are all used medicinally.

*Research Yarrow and discover its array of benefits.

Poison Hemlock

This is an herbaceous plant or toxic weed can be found along roadsides, edges of cultivated fields, creek beds, irrigation ditches, and in waste areas, dangerous to both human and livestock.

Key features: Poison Hemlock grows around 6ft to 8ft tall, with fine , fern like leaves, blooms with floral umbrella like flowers June into August.

*Research This Plant In detail, to prevent misidentification.


Queen Anne’s Lace


Key features: Queen Anne’s lace grows around 2 to 3 feet tall, with fine leaves, and fine hairs on the stems, Blooms with flatter shape flowers later in the summer time.

The flowers, leaves, and roots are edible.

* Research Queen Anne’s lace and discover its array of benefits.