3 of The Best Free Android Apps for Wild edibles and Foraging


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phoneleafThere are a few free android apps in Google Play Store that focus on teaching you to find, identify, or prepare wild edibles.  Below are 3 of the best apps for learning about wild edibles and foraging.   I will explain the differences and What you should expect from each one.

Wild Edibles Lite
By WinterRoot LLC and Wildman Steve Brill

Edible and Medicinal Plants
By Government Conspiracy

Foraging Flashcard Lite
By WinterRoot LLC and Wildman Steve Brill

I intended to review Edible and Medicinal Plants By Clandestine Research but had technical problems just trying to open it. It is .pdf based, and the .pdf wouldn’t open in my reader. Others have had the same problem.

 

Wild Edibles Lite
By WinterRoot LLC and Wildman Steve Brill

Wild Edibles Lite By WinterRoot LLC and Wildman Steve Brill is by far the app that contains the most information per plant. The lite version features 20 plants and the full version features more than 200 plants which is more than any other app. For each plant there are multiple pictures and up to 14 categories: General Info, Habitat, Seasons, How to Spot, Positive Identification, Similar Plants, Similar Plants Explained, Cautions, Harvesting, Food Uses, Nutrition, Recipes, Medicinal Uses, and Poisonous Lookalikes. The inclusion of recipes for each plant makes this app truly unique compared to the others (most if not all the recipes are vegan). This app features only plants that grow in temperate climates, some of them happen to grow in tropical climates as well. The plant selection also focuses on ease of identifying, harvesting, and preparing, so these should be the best wild edibles for beginners as well as experienced foragers.  Even though one of the other free apps has more plants that Wild Edibles Lite, this is the one you want if you live in a temperate climate. Wildman Steve Brill has written numerous books about foraging and wild edibles and his vast knowledge shows with this app.  If you’re serious about learning to identify and forage for wild edibles then you’ll probably want the full version with more than 200 plants, as well as about 65 minor plants including lookalikes, similar plants, and poisonous plants, no other app has that many plants, and as mentioned before there is a lot of info for each plant.

 

Edible and Medicinal Plants
By Government Conspiracy

Edible and Medicinal Plants By Government Conspiracy contains more plants than any other free app. there were 110 plants and  each plant has up to 5 categories of information: Description, Habitat and Distribution, Edible Parts, Other Uses, and Cautions as well as one or two photos per plant.  The plant selection is broad and diverse.  Its difficult to know which plants grow in your area and which ones don’t. There are literally plants from the arctic to the tropics and from mountains to swamps.  This app would be good for someone who is a world traveler and is likely to find themselves in survival scenarios, but someone like that would already have extensive survival knowledge to begin with I would hope.  You can  find a good amount of useful information from this app, but it would probably take some time sifting through all the plants and cross referencing online to see what grows in your area. I know for myself personally I found a few edible and medicinal uses for plants in my area that I had not previously known.

 

Foraging Flashcard Lite
By WinterRoot LLC and Wildman Steve Brill

Foraging Flashcard Lite By WinterRoot LLC and Wildman Steve Brill is a great little app for helping you to memorize plant names.  It is simple and straightforward.  It doesn’t give any written information on these plants but learning to match the name with the plant is important for foragers since all the plants in this app are very common wild edibles. Besides for the lite version there are 5 more apps in the series all focusing on different identification features or seasons.



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Hawthorn, an Ornamental Tree With Edible Fruit


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Crataegus phaenopyrum, Washington Hawthorn leaves and berries
Crataegus phaenopyrum, Washington Hawthorn leaves and berries (photo By: Nadiatalent / Wikimedia Commons)

Washington hawthorn tree (Crataegus phaenopyrum) is a common ornamental landscape tree in the Eastern  and Central United States.  The genus Crataegus is a large genus including many species referred to as hawthorn tree, hawthorn apple thornapple, maytree, whitethorn and hawberry.  Although this article focuses on the washington hawthorn tree the information here applies to many other species in the genus. Washington hawthorn tree is native to the US and serves as an important food source for wildlife such as squirrels and birds. The culinary and medicinal use of plants in the hawthorn genus: Crataegus goes back thousands of years to many people and cultures around the globe. This plant has a long history of use by humans.

Hawthorn Fruit

Hawthorn fruit is edible and delicious. The seeds are likely about as poisonous as apple seeds, see the ‘cautions’ section below. The washington hawthorn tree has small berries grouped into clusters.  Even this species with its small berries is worth finding.  I usually take a mouthful of hawthorn fruit and spit out the seeds. There are other species with larger berries as well but this particular species is very common in the Norhteastern US, therefore it is easy to find and forage.  Hawthorn fruits are produced in the fall and hang on into mid winter. Hawthorn fruit can be used as a flavoring or addition to many things. Click Here to learn how to make a Hawthorn extract.

Health Benefits

Hawthorn berries, young leaves and fresh hawthorn flowers are known to lower blood pressure and have a general tonic effect on the heart. There are numerous hawthorn products that focus on cardiovascular health on the market. This is one of the primary traditional medicinal uses of Hawthorn throughout the world.  Combining hawthorn with Hibiscus is one way to reap the heart and blood pressure benefits of both plants.

Cautions

Hawthorns are in the same subfamily as apples and likely have poisonous seeds like apples.  At least one report says that the seeds are significantly poisonous and too many could be lethal to children, other reports don’t mention it.  Exercise caution and spit out the seeds. Hawthorns have been used safely by humans for thousands of years. Another thing to watch out for when harvesting is THORNS! They are sharp and long!

Key ID Features

Crataegus Phaenopyrum, Washington Hawthorn
Crataegus Phaenopyrum, Washington Hawthorn (Photo By: Richard Webb, Self Employed Horticulturist, bugwood.org)

Identifying a plant as being definitively in the genus: Crataegus is difficult.  There are some typical features but not all species show them and not all features distinguish them from other plants.  There are a few general identification features. 1) They have thorns which can be very long (up to 4″). 2) they typically have lobed or largely serrated leaf margins. 3) The fruits of all species are pomes(apple-like) but might be difficult to determine as such since the seeds in the middle sometimes stick together. As well as all the ID features above there are some identification features that are particular to Washington Hawthorn that will help with identifying this plant.  The leaf shape tends to be shallowly to deeply lobed as well as serrated and pyramidal.  The berries grow in clusters in the fall and winter and are small and red with a dark circular ‘crown’ at the end of the berry. So if you have found a plant that has thorns, fall pomes, and serrated leaves, it is likely a hawthorn, the best next step would be to research hawthorns in your area and compare to make a positive ID.

Conclusion

Hawthorn is a delicious cultivated and wild edible fruit for many parts of the world. In the eastern US washington hawthorn is a very common native species, promoting and growing this plant is great for human and animal foragers.  There are some important health benefits to be had as well, especially in regards to heart health which is one of the leading health problems among Americans.  Add Hawthorn to your diet for a healthy tasty winter snack.



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Visit our store by clicking on THIS LINK to get this t-Shirt which was designed exclusively for eattheplanet.org viewers which means it can not be purchased anywhere else on the internet. This shirt reads "Sassafras- The Radical Root". Our most popular article Sassafras, An Illegal Substance That Grows Wild In Our Back Yards inspired us to design this sassafras t-shirt
Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

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Mugwort – an Abundant Medicinal and Culinary Herb


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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), also known as Common Wormwood is a very abundant plant in its growing range.  It grows in the Eastern US and Northwestern US.

Mugwort is adapted to grow in compact rocky soil where other plants might have a hard time.  Mugwort has a long history of use as a medicinal and culinary herb in Europe and Asia where it is native. Although Mugwort is an established culinary herb you should never take Mugwort if you are pregnant, scroll down to our ‘Cautions’ section for details.  There are a few other plants in the genus Artemisia that live in the US  including Western Mugwort (Artemisia ludoviciana) which grows throughout the entire US.  Western Mugwort and others may share some edible and medicinal properties as well as cautions with Mugwort.

Edibility and Culinary Use

Mugwort has a long history of culinary use, it has a unique musty herbal fragrance, the flavor is just as unique and slightly bitter.  It is often used dried as a spice for meats.  The leaves can be eaten fresh in salads, or cooked in soups.  Mugwort has a long history of use in beverages. Mugwort has been added to teas and alcoholic beverages.  The acoholic drink absinthe is made from Artemisia absinthium, a plant in the same genus as Mugwort which  is also referred to as Common Wormwood.  Mugwort was used prior to hops in the making of beer.

Health Benefits

Mugwort has a wide range of health benefits.  It is believed to help in digestion so is often eaten with fatty foods like meat as a dried spice.  It also is known to aid in a number of digestive tract issues such as diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, and constipation.  Mugwort root may help give energy, it is sometimes made into a tea for that purpose. Mugwort has a long history of assisting women with irregular periods and  in reducing menstrual cramp pain.  Mugwort also has a number of uses in the treatment of mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and irritability.  Some people find that Mugwort has dream enhancing properties, there is a long history of use for this purpose, it was taken as a tea or dried and smoked before going to bed.

Key ID Features

Cautions

Mugwort does contain some components that might be harmful under certain circumstances.  Women who are pregnant should never take mugwort, because it tightens the uterus and could potentially cause a miscarriage, especially early in pregnancy.  Over-consumption of Mugwort should be avoided by everyone because it could have some mild toxic effects if taken in large quantities

Conclusion

Mugwort is an abundant weed that many people have little appreciation for, but in reality it is a plant with a long history of use as a medicinal and culinary herb.  Early in my foraging days I never looked twice at Mugwort but now I nibble on it often and use it in teas and spices. With so many health benefits Mugowort is yet another plant that hides secrets to a healthy lifestyle.  Science would learn a lot from thoroughly researching the chemical components of this plant.


Celebrate our Most Popular Article With This Exclusive T-Shirt!!

Visit our store by clicking on THIS LINK to get this t-Shirt which was designed exclusively for eattheplanet.org viewers which means it can not be purchased anywhere else on the internet. This shirt reads "Sassafras- The Radical Root". Our most popular article Sassafras, An Illegal Substance That Grows Wild In Our Back Yards inspired us to design this sassafras t-shirt
Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Cornus kousa, Kousa Dogwood Fruits
Kousa Dogwood Fruit, Tropical Flavor in Temperate Climates
Read more.
Cichorium intybus, Chicory
Chicory, Street Side Salad Greens and Tea
Read more.
PPortulaca oleracea, Purslane Leaves and Flowers
Purslane, A Wild Edible Weed With Many Culinary Uses
Read more.
Rhus typhina, Staghorn Sumac fruit cluster
Sumac, Indian Lemonade
Read more.
Chenopodium album, Lamb's Quarters leaf
Lamb’s Quarters, A Great Spinach Substitute
Read more.
Lentinula edodes, Shiitake Mushrooms growing on a log
Shiitake Mushrooms, Easy To Grow In Your Own BackYard
Read more.
Musa basjoo, Japanese Banana growing in USDA Zone 5
Japanese Banana, The Only Cold Hardy Banana Tree, But There Is A Catch
Read more.
Carya ovata, Shagbark Hickory nuts and leaves
Hickory, Pretty Good As Far As Wild Nuts Go
Read more.
Cocoa seeds with and without mucilage coating
What The Heck Is Mucilage?
Read more.
Oxalis stricta, Common Yellow Wood Sorrel leaves, flowers and seedpod
Wood Sorrel, A Woodland Plant With Flavor
Read more.