Rosa virginiana – Wild Rose

Wild Rose (Rosa virginiana) is a native plant with edible and medicinal uses. We have six native species of wild rose in New England and two introduced species.   Wild rose can be found in sandy and saline soil. It requires at least 6 hours of sun per day. Leaves are alternate and composed of […]

Asclepias syriaca – Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native perennial with multiple edible parts. Common milkweed can be found in meadows and fields which receive full sun.   Leaves are opposite and oval-shaped with smooth edges. The stem is round and slightly fuzzy. It produces sap when broken. The pink flowers have five petals arranged in a […]

Symphytum officinale – Common Comfrey

Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a non-native perennial that has been used for food and medicine for thousands of years. Comfrey can be found on roadsides, old fields, and old homesteads. It can grow in moderate shade to full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Once a colony has been established, it can live for centuries. […]

Lunaria annua – Annual Honesty

Annual honesty (Lunaria annua) is a non-native biennial that can be found in cultivated gardens and as an escapee in woodlands and waste places. Annual honesty, also known as the “money plant”, has finely hairy, heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges. The flowers have four petals in a cross shape. They are usually purple but can […]

Viola sororia – Common Violets

Common Violets (Viola sororia) are a native perennial that produce one of the first spring flowers. Common violets prefer moist soil with partial shade. They are often found under deciduous trees.   Common violets have heart-shaped leaves with small, pointed teeth at the leaf margins. Flowers have five petals that are usually purple with some […]

Hosta spp. – Hostas

Hostas (Hosta spp.) are a common landscape perennial that thrive in shady woodland conditions. They are commonly eaten in Japan as a “mountain vegetable”. Hostas are edible from shoot to flower. In the spring, shoots can be cut and eaten raw or lightly sautéed. Look for larger young shoots that are tightly coiled. They will […]

Magnolia spp. – Magnolia

Magnolia (Magnolia spp.) is one of the first blossoms to appear in the spring. The flowers bloom for 1-3 weeks before the leaves appear. Magnolia is a genus of over 200 flowering plant species. Although some species are native to eastern North America and South America, most species are native to Asia. Magnolia can be […]

Hemerocallis fulva – Common Daylily

Common Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) is a perennial plant that was brought here from Asia as a garden ornamental. It has since escaped cultivation and is now considered invasive in many states. Common daylilies can be found in fields and roadsides. They have the ability to form dense colonies, displacing native plants. The plant reproduces by […]

Cirsium vulgare – Bull Thistle

Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is an edible plant that is native to Eurasia. Bull thistle has become naturalized in North America and is now considered invasive in some areas. There are over 200 species of thistle in North America, 60 of which are native. Thistles are related to globe artichoke. They can be found in […]

Auricularia nigricans – Ear fungus

Ear fungus (Auricularia nigricans) is a wood-rotting mushroom that can be found growing singly or in clusters on dead or dying trees. The ear fungus (A. nigricans) can be differentiated from other wood ear fungi (mushrooms in the Auricularia genus) by its upper surface which is ash-gray to yellowish brown and hairy. Wood ear mushrooms […]

Taraxacum officinale – Dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a non-native plant from Europe that is edible and medicinal from root to flower. Dandelions can be found in lawns, parks, meadows, and disturbed areas. They can tolerate a wide range of conditions and grow in every U.S. state.   Dandelions form a basal rosette of leaves in early spring. The […]

Leucanthemum vulgare – Oxeye Daisy

Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is a non-native, edible perennial with a unique flavor. Ox-eye daisies have the ability to spread prolifically via shallow rhizomes. They have been listed as a noxious weed in some states. Ox-eye daisy can be found in meadows and roadsides. It prefers growing in direct sunlight. Ox-eye daisy has lobed and […]

Auricularia spp. – Wood Ears

Wood ears (Auricularia spp.) are edible jelly fungi that are commonly eaten in Asia. It is best to search for them the day after a large rainfall. Wood ears prefer cooler weather but could appear any time of the year. There are two wood ear species that grow in Connecticut. Auricularia americana grows on conifers, […]

Lamiastrum galeobdolon – Yellow Archangel

Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) is an edible plant in the mint family that came from Europe. Yellow archangel is a competitive and fast-growing plant that is capable of out-competing native understory plants. Yellow archangel can be identified by its hairy, toothed leaves with silvery markings. The plant produces yellow tubular flowers April-June. The leaves have […]

Sassafras albidum – Sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a common native tree in CT. Sassafras can be identified by having three distinct leaf patterns (one, two, and three lobed leaves). Sassafras leaves have a citrusy smell when crushed. Young sassafras leaves are edible raw. They have a mucilaginous texture and slightly lemony taste. Sassafras leaves are dried and ground […]

Boletus separans – Lilac Bolete

The Lilac Bolete (Boletus separans) is a choice edible mushroom related to the King Bolete (Boletus edulis). Lilac boletes can be found in eastern North America from July-September. They have a mycorrhizal relationship with hardwood trees, especially red oaks. Lilac boletes can be identified by their purplish stalk with white reticulation (netting). Cap color varies […]

Russula parvovirescens – Quilted Green Russula

The Quilted Green Russula (Russula parvovirescens) is an edible mushroom that can be found in the Eastern United States. It was separated from the Russula virescens species in 2006. Quilted Green Russulas are found most abundantly July-August in forested areas. They are mycorrhizal with hardwood trees and occasionally conifers. It’s most commonly associated with oak […]

Carya ovata – Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is a native tree with edible nuts and bark that can be used to make a maple syrup substitute.  Shagbark hickory is one of the easiest trees to identify with its bark that peels off the tree. In the summer, the tree has leaves with five leaflets.    In the fall, […]

Tilia americana – American Linden

The American Linden (Tilia americana) is a native tree with edible leaves, flowers, sap, and inner bark. The American linden has finely serrated heart-shaped leaves. The flowers and seeds hang downward from elongated leafy bracts. The fragrant flowers bloom for about two weeks in the middle of the summer. American linden leaf buds can be […]

Malus spp. – Wild Apples

Wild Apples (Malus spp.) are apple trees that grew from seed. The apples are considered crab apples if the fruit is less than 2 inches in diameter. There are over 40 species of crab apples across the world and 4 species that are native to the United States. Two of these species can be found […]