Nepeta cataria – Catnip

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a non-native plant in the mint family that can be found wild in New England. Catnip, as with all plants in the mint family, has a square stem and opposite leaves. Catnip can be identified by its heart-shaped and velvety leaves. The plant has a skunky smell that 2/3 of cats […]

Hesperis matronalis – Dames Rocket

Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is an invasive, yet edible plant in the mustard family. In early spring, you can find the basal rosette of Dame’s rocket leaves in disturbed areas. The leaves are covered in small, fuzzy hairs and have irregularly toothed margins. Dame’s rocket leaves taste like peppery arugula. They are best foraged for […]

Allium vineale – Field Garlic

  Field Garlic (Allium vineale) is a non-native relative of chives that can be foraged in the colder months. Any leaves with a garlicky scent are edible. Field garlic leaves are thin and hollow. All parts of the plant are edible, including the leaves, bulb, and flowers. The bulb can be left in the ground […]

Thlaspi arvense – Field Pennycress

Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) is a non-native, edible mustard. Field pennycress has alternate, hairless leaves with wavy margins. It produces clusters of white flowers with four petals at the top of the stems. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. After the plant flowers, the leaves will be more bitter. The seeds can be […]

Uvularia sessilifolia – Wild Oats

Wild Oats (Uvularia sessilifolia) is a native woodland plant in the lily family. Wild Oats have alternate leaves that attach directly to the stem. In late April-early May the plant produces a yellow-cream colored flower. Wild Oat shoots can be eaten raw after the leaves are stripped away. Flowers can be added raw to salads. […]

Houstonia caerulea – Quaker Lady Bluet

Quaker Lady Bluets (Houstonia caerulea) are native edible flowers that can be found blooming April-July. Quaker ladies can be distinguished from other bluets by the patch of yellow at their center. Quaker ladies are in the coffee family. They have a taste similar to alfalfa sprouts. An infusion of Quaker lady roots was used by […]

Lactuca canadensis – Canada Wild Lettuce

Canada Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis) is a native edible and medicinal plant in the Daisy family. Wild lettuces can be identified by the hairs on the bottom of the leaf’s central vein. In Lactuca canadensis, the hairs are less consistent than in other species of Wild Lettuce. The young leaves and stems are edible but […]

Fragaria virginiana – Wild Strawberry

The Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) is a native berry that fruits late spring to early summer. Wild strawberries can be found in partial to full sun at the edge of fields, in woodland clearings, or along paths. The tiny berries are born on hairy stalks. The plant has three leaflets on a divided leaf. Fragaria […]

Pastinaca sativa – Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is the same species as cultivated garden parsnip. It is a non-native plant that was brought here from Europe as a crop. Wild parsnip can be found in backyards, field edges, and disturbed areas that receive plenty of sun. Wild parsnip can be identified by its celery-like leaves, deeply grooved main […]

Vaccinium angustifolium – Common Lowbush Blueberries

Common Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) ripen July-August in Connecticut. Blueberries are native to New England. There are 9 species of blueberries that grow in New England, 4 of which only grow in Northern New England at higher elevations and 1 of which only grows in coastal wetlands.   Common Lowbush Blueberries can be found in […]

Rhus copallinum – Winged Sumac

The Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum) is a native plant with edible fruits. The winged sumac is in the same family as cashews, poison ivy, mangoes, and pistachios. Winged sumac has compound leaves which turn red in the fall. Fruit clusters can persist throughout the winter. All berries of red sumacs are edible. The berries produce […]

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 […]

Sambucus canadensis – Elderberries

Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) are a native woody shrub that like to grow near water. Elderberries hang down in a cluster at the end of the branch. The leaves grow in 5-11 leaflets that are opposite and serrated. Elderberry leaves and stems are toxic. Berries should be cooked, and seeds removed to avoid stomach upset. Elderberry […]

Lindera benzoin – Spicebush

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a native deciduous shrub that can be found in moist areas. Spicebush can be identified by its alternative, glossy leaves with smooth margins. The female plants produce glossy, red berries in early fall. The berries have a large seed inside. The shrub can grow up to 15 feet tall. Fruits and […]

Hibiscus syriacus – Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is an edible type of hibiscus that is native to Asia, but commonly planted in the United States. Rose of Sharon can be identified by its tropical-looking flowers and different shaped, asymmetrical leaves. The entire Rose of Sharon plant is edible. Leaves can be enjoyed spring-fall. The leaves taste similar […]

Erechtites hieraciifolius – American burnweed

American Burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolius) is a native plant in the Daisy (Asteraceae) family. It is often one of the earliest pioneer species of areas that were recently burned. It also grows well in disturbed habitats. American burnweed has alternate, serrated leaves that are aromatic when crushed. It produces yellow or pink flower heads in the […]

Prunus serotina – Wild Black Cherries

Wild Black Cherries (Prunus serotina) are a native plant that can be found in full sun. They grow up to 100 feet tall. Young Black cherry trees have light gray bark with horizontal lenticels. As the tree ages, the bark becomes ridged or pleated. The ovate leaves are alternate and have small teeth. Snapping a […]

Pleurotus ostreatus – Winter Oysters

The Winter oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is the most commonly cultivated mushroom, but is also commonly found in the wild. Winter oysters, or Pearl oysters, can be identified by their tan cap, stubby off-center stem, and decurrent gills. Winter oysters tend to have a darker cap and grow larger than the summer oyster species (Pleurotus […]

Hydnum spp. – Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs (Hydnum spp.) are a group of 49 mushrooms in the Hydnum genus that are all considered edible. Hedgehogs can be found in New England from July-November. Hedgehogs are easily identified by their orange color and teeth under their cap. Hedgehogs can be found growing in groups in moss and leaf litter. They grow symbiotically […]

Ischnoderma resinosum – Resinous Polypore

The Resinous polypore (Ischnoderma resinosum) is a saprobic fungus that can be found on fallen hardwoods from September until the first hard frost. The resinous polypore is thick and fleshy when young with a pale brown cap and thick white margins. The mushroom toughens and the cap becomes a darker brown with age. The cap […]