Edible Greens A-Z

Safety equals success when it comes to foraging for food, and sure identification is an absolute must when gathering anything from the wild for you or your family’s consumption. If you are in any doubt at all about what exactly it is you have collected, then you must discard it immediately.

This list will grow with this blog so keep checking for new entries. Click on the name of each plant for the corresponding blog post.

Common Sorrel

This plant lives up to the ‘Common’ of its name and can be found throughout most of the year. Spring and Autumn are the best times for gathering and eating, however, when fresh growth occurs.

  • A tall (20-100cm) upright plant when flowers are in full growth in summer with the edible leaves growing in a ‘rosette’ at the plant’s base.
  • Leaves are arrow-shaped, with a pair of pointed lobes at base of leaf pointing back down the stem. Leaves also redden slightly when mature.
  • Flowers in summer. Flowers are small and red and grow along a thin stem.

    Common Sorrel

    Notice the sharply pointed lobes of the Common Sorrel leaf.

  • Season: All year round, but best in early spring and autumn.
  • Similar Species: Some dock leaves are sufficiently similar to cause confusion. Just be sure that the leaves of the Sorrel you have collected have pointed rather than rouded lobes that point back down the stem (see picture). 

 

Sea Beet

  • Sea Beet leafPerennial, up to 1m in height.
  • Bright green, shiny leaves, often rhombus/spear-shaped, though can vary considerably, but always with a pointed tip.
  • Long, thick leaf stems.
  • Flowers are small and green, growing on long spines. June-September.
  • Habitat: All around the coast: on cliffs and cliff-tops, footpaths, Sea Beetgrowing out of sea walls, sand and pebbles.
  • Season: Can be found all year round.
  • Similar Species: The sheer lusciousness of the leaves and exclusive coastal habitat should make identification certain. Just make sure you’re not picking any anonymous docks as some of which are poisonous.

Stinging Nettles  

The Stinging Nettle

Leaves growing in opposite pairs

  • Upright, green plant often over a metre in height.
  • Heart-shaped leaves with serrated edge, growing in opposite pairs from the stem, and covered in fine hairs that sting to the touch.

    The Stinging Nettle

    The heart-shaped leaf with serrated edge.

  • A tough, fibrous stem, often darker in colour than the leaves, and also covered in stinging hairs.
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