Common Non-Edible Plants

by Green Deane

Not Edible

While some 93% of plants are not edible this page was created to show some of the more common non- edible plants I am asked about often or have been sent to me to identify. They are listed  in botanical alphabetical order. Visit the Green Deane Forum to help get plants identified.

NOT EDIBLE: Argemone mexicana, the Mexican Poppy, can be yellow or white. Used extensively in herbal applications but not edible. Locally a very limited season, usually winter.
NOT EDIBLE. The Harlequin Glorybower, Clerodendrum Trichotomum, has a very showy calyx. A native of Asia, Clerodendrum means fate tree, referencing questionable medical uses, and trichotomum which means three trunks, which it apparently has often.
NOT EDIBLE: Crotalaria spectabilis, the rattlebox because of the sound the seeds make in a dry pod. Quite toxic for man and beast. The entire genus is toxic, from little rabbitbells to the rattleboxes.
NOT EDIBLE. Cynanchum laeve is also called the Honeyvine. I receive a lot of emails from folks who want to know if this is edible milkweed vine. It is not. The sap can irritate and damage eyes and mucus membranes and if consumed can stop your heart. To read about the edible milk vine, click here.
NOT EDIBLE. Fatoua villosa, the mulberry weed, an import on nursery plants, was first noticed in Louisiana in 1964. It is controlled by mulching. It can cause mild itching. Also called the Hairy Crabweed.
Not Edible: Earth Smoke, or Ground Smoke, Fumaria officinalis. The native of Europe found in most of North America has many medicinal uses beyond the scope of this site. The flowers yield a yellow dye good for coloring wool.
NOT EDIBLE. Often confused with either a Commelina or a Tradescantia is the Gibasis geniculata, also called the Tahitian Bridal Veil though it is a native of Central America. To read about the Tradescantias click here.
NOT EDIBLE: There are many toxic plants and one that causes nearly instant blisters even blindness is Giant Hog Weed, Heracleum mantegazzianum.Highly invasive it can produce 20,000 seeds per plant. Furocoumarins in the sap can cause a skin reaction called phyto-photodermatitis. This causes the skin to be very sensitive to ultraviolet light. It caues swelling and blistering and can lead to permanent scarring. Contact with the eyes can cause temporary or permanent blindness
NOT EDIBLE: Ligustrum lucidum, the Waxy or Glossy Privet. While there are not human trials to support this  In vitro studies have shown that the fruits of Ligustrum lucidum have antitumor, immunostimulatory, antioxidative, antiviral, antimutagenic, hepatoprotective, and antidiabetic  properties.
NOT EDIBLE. Lupinus diffusus, endangered, also called Oak Ridge Lupine, Spreading Lupine, or Skyblue Lupine, grows in dry areas.
NOT EDIBLE: Wavyleaf Basket Grass, or Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius. This is a a common ground cover locally usually found in shady areas. Originally from Asia it is found throughout the south. Folks are always wondering what it is. Now you know.
NOT EDIBLE: Phoradendron serotinum, Mistletoe. While Mistletoe has been used in some herbal medications it is generally considered toxic. 
NOT EDIBLE: Ricinus communis, the Castor Bean, is not a bean but it is one of the deadliest plant escaped from cultivation. While there are many species with palmate leaves it has eight radiating leaflets with small teeth. the Castor Bean grows soft-spine fruits with mottled seeds from which the source of the poison ricin. One milligram of ricin can kill and adult. If death has not occurred in 3-5 days, the victim usually recovers. 2354195-ricinus-communis-leaf
NOT EDIBLE: Salvia cocinnea, the Scarlet Sage. It has several whorls of red flowers that form an interrupted flower spike on a square stem. It’s a showy southern native that has a sage-like aroma and is found in the hot sands of the South. Even a small amount of the blossomed consumed can make you quite ill. The blossom is red for a reason. Leave it alone.
NOT EDIBLE. Butterweed, Senecio glabellus, can from a distance resemble wild mustard or wild radish. On close inspection it does not look like them. The blossoms are not a yellow cross and the leaves are not sandpappery. It is also laced with pyrrolizidine which is an alkoloid that can damage your liver. To read more click here.
NOT EDIBLE: Solanum viarum, Solanum ciliatum, Solanum carolinense, all called Tropical Soda Apple or Horse Nettle, the first two turn red when ripe, the latter yellow. They usually start out with mottle green fruit. Some are toxic when green, others more toxic when ripe. Edibility is doubtful, botantical references vague, identification difficult. Best avoided. Of the three ripe S. ciliatum, now called Solanum capsicoides, might not kill you.

{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

AChristian January 27, 2014 at 22:52

We have caster bean plant all over Florida. It grows wild in groves, literally, along railroad tracks and trails. Glad I never stopped to taste their seed/fruit. They tend to look like lychee but on a smaller scale. Phew, I’m sitting here thanking God I never pulled over and ate one. I forage often. I may take a step back from it until I study it a tad more.


headhunter November 13, 2013 at 08:03

You say that Waxy Privet is not edible, yet extremely medicinal (in vitro)? So, which is it…or medicinal, toxic or both?


Green Deane November 13, 2013 at 08:33

To quote a doctor I know: “Anything can be a poison. What determines a poison is dose vs. time vs. host response.”


Jac kie September 24, 2013 at 10:18

Hi folks from Kiev, Ukraine in Eastern Europe. I am a great forager and have just moved here from New Zealand. I was out near our river and was delighted to find what I initially thought was a big patch of stinging nettles fairly near the water. But they did noy sting. I brought them home and put them in the blender with assorted greenery. To cut a long story short I am still here! but I would like to know what they are. In the Northern winter foraging greenery is going to be scarce..does anyone have any ideas for me? The only stuff that readily springs to mind are pine needles which I wouldd love to experiment with knowing nothing about them. Can they really be juiced and what can be done with the result? Happy foraging Jackie


Green Deane September 24, 2013 at 12:53

Post a picture of them on the UFO page of the Green Deane Forum (Unidentified Flowering Objects.)


amanda murphy September 14, 2013 at 15:34

I recently found wild sweet pea growing on the edge of a tree line and a field in seymour indiana curious i picked some pods to identify the plant I determined that I had found wild sweet. I was wondering if this plant is edible or not?


Eli August 28, 2013 at 04:23

Fascinating site, has given me some new edibles to look into. Could you add your reference for /Salvia coccineum/ toxicity?

(I’m not familiar with the botanical literature; is there a good publically-accessible index or do I go through a university library?)


Heather Awen August 14, 2013 at 16:56

I tell people all plants are edible but some may kill you once eaten. LOL.


Amaya August 6, 2013 at 16:25

hey green deane there are many plants around where i live and my sister took a chomp out of this strange plant and her mouth started to burn. the plant has large spade leaves, and has a stem that gets larger and splits at the bottom, and grows in bunches, it has large white lily looking flowers. please reply!


Green Deane August 6, 2013 at 17:16

One never just eats a wild plant. The symptoms sound like something with calcium oxalates in it. If it’s not a go-to-the-hospital burn try some lime juice to ease the burn. Many ornamentals planted around homes are toxic.


Julia August 2, 2013 at 19:30

I have Simpson Stoppers in my yard and they are dropping a lot of red berries. A friend once told me that the berries are edible, but I haven’t been able to find any information to confirm that. Are they edible for us humans? I planted the shrubs to attract birds, but they don’t seem to eat the berries.


Green Deane August 2, 2013 at 20:10

Read my article on this website. Watch my video on You Tube.


Rudolf Lukoss August 4, 2013 at 09:38

I wanted to know how to contact you about several plants and or berries. I have photos of these and just do not know what they are.
How can I get these to you?

Lastly, can any of the berries of the viburnum shrubs be used?


Green Deane August 4, 2013 at 18:28

You can post them on the Green Deane Forum’s UFO page, unidentified flowering objects.


John Hancock July 21, 2013 at 18:43

Hello Mr Green Dean

I live in West Texas and sometimes I see the mesquit trees growing these long green bean pods I’ve often wondered if they were edible because I see the livestock here eat them but you know you trust eating the same thing animals eat.


Green Deane July 21, 2013 at 19:44

We adn various animals have different systems. They can eat things we cannot and we can eat things they cannot.


RM McWilliams June 29, 2014 at 00:51

Hello Deane, Your point about the differences between humans and other animals regarding what is, and is not, edible is well taken.

That said, mesquite is apparently a desirable edible:


josh July 27, 2014 at 19:53

When I was a kid we spent our summers traveling and camping all over texas, new mexico and arizona and one of our favorite things to do was stop in at the native american run flea markets on the reservations. I can remember buying roasted and salted mesquite beans by the gallon-ziploc bag and gorging myself on them for weeks afterwards. They beat out sunflower seeds by a long shot.


Lynn July 7, 2013 at 04:02

I love your knowledge. I have been looking for a good source of edible
Wilds for a long time. My grandmother used to make maypop (passion
Flower cruise jam. However, she is gone and so are the vines she had.
I found the flower in FL recently, but how do I tell if it is the toxic one or
Not? Flowers are the same. ? And there is no fruit yet.


Green Deane July 7, 2013 at 06:51

Hmmmm… the blossom are not the same.


David May 17, 2015 at 17:16

All passion flowers/may pops smell and taste very similar. I did git sick from may pop jelly at 9 years old- Just ate too much. lol,


FlGardener June 22, 2013 at 22:02

I have just discovered a new plant volunteer in my yard. It is Centratherum punctatum. I can’t find anything written about it’s useful properties. The leaves when squished smell very pleasant. Do you know if this plant is edible or medicinal?


Green Deane June 23, 2013 at 18:51

No edible uses that I am aware of. I’m not an herbalist but the plant is not mentioned in any of my books.


Patty June 11, 2013 at 12:26

I have aloe in my yard which I would like to eat, but am concerned because I once heard that you can’t eat aloe. This aloe grows as a weed in my yard, so I transplanted it to a nicer appearing location, but love it. Since I have so much of it, I’d like to skin it and put it in a smoothie. Will I make my smoothie dangerous or toxic if I do so?



Green Deane June 11, 2013 at 14:23

I just came from the health food store (buying 88% dark chocolate.) There they had gallon jugs of aloe vera juice. I know people consume a little of it. Doesn’t taste too good.


RM McWilliams June 28, 2014 at 23:02

Apparently the yellow and greenish portions of the plant beneath the ‘skin’ of the leaves is responsible for the unpleasant taste:

I have tried this method of preparation, and found the remaining clear gelatinous portion to be quite refreshing in flavor.

As always, deeply appreciate your videos and website.


RM McWilliams June 28, 2014 at 23:04

That was without sugar cane juice or any other additive, by the way.


Steven June 10, 2013 at 13:06

Hi Green Dean,

Hi Green Dean,

I was browsing the web trying to find why giant hogweed is called hogweed. My guess was that is was used as a kind of fodder. I didn’t find any mention of this anywhere but i did find that common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) was used as animal feed. Probably giant hogweed got its name because it looks a lot like common hogweed. I also found a couple of recipes for common hogweed and was wondering what your thought on the plant and taste are. Do you have the plant in Florida and if so are you going to do a page on common hogweed?



Green Deane June 10, 2013 at 14:23

My site is about edible plants. Hogweed is not edible (by humans.)


Betty Estes June 5, 2013 at 13:45

Question…do horseweed and pokeweed look similar? My brotherinlaw picked some poke for my sister and got horseweed mixed in (my husband says they look very similar) and she cooked it all together but now is afraid to eat it. Please reply soon before she runs the risk of eating something poisonous, if it isn’t already too late.
Thanks in advance for the answer.


Green Deane June 5, 2013 at 16:38

No they do not look alike. They are very different. Poke weed has large hairless almost plastic like leaves with little or no aroma. Horseweed has whorls of small long leaves that are fuzzy and have a strong aroma.


thurman young May 13, 2013 at 14:15

Mr. green, i was ( when i was younger) a bit of a survivalist and took interest in all kinds of edible and medicinal plaints. i used to go out for weeks at a time with a pup tent and a rifle living off the land in the back woods of greensbug Kentucky. i have not been in the backwoods in many years because of my job keeps me traveling. i have developed a bit of a memory problem in my not so younger years. but i do remember studying a type of cherp that grew on limestone rock that was edible,

probably not the most tasty in the woods but did offer some nutrition. i enjoy watching survival shows and picking out potential foods that most will just walk over and not recognise it as food. recently i saw an episode where one walked for miles and could not find anything to eat. but as the cam was panning around i recognized something growing on the rocks that looked like what i remembered as cherp. i may not have the right name with the wrong plaint. i tried looking it up but could not find anything on it or even a picture. would you happen to have any information about this type of edible. it could be a fungus or something else idk. please let me know if it rings a bell. thank you, thurman.


Jackie May 14, 2013 at 14:44

could it be Lichen you are thinking of Thurman?
Here is a link to merriweathers data on lichen.

and here is Green Deans link….


David May 17, 2015 at 17:10

The dirt eaters.
“Chert” Gray clay, red clay. Folks in the country would have a mineral deficiency. Both white and black folk. It was very common to see them eat the clay. Very nutritious. Your body seeks out and finds what it needs!


Frugal_Noodle May 12, 2013 at 17:48

I’ve been reading that Crotalaria longirostrata is used as food in Mexican and Salvadorian cuisine. Wonder if you can find any information in any of your books, rather than just info off the web. TIA!


Green Deane May 12, 2013 at 22:28

C. longirostrata is listed in Cornucopia II (page 103) as edible. The young shoots are steamed, leaves a blossoms are also eaten.


Frugal_Noodle May 16, 2013 at 21:32

You must have a wonderful home library. Thank you so much for taking the time to look into that and sharing your source.


Lea May 6, 2013 at 15:58

Hi, does anyone know if there is anything which looks like Jack By The Hedge? I’m pretty sure it’s what is growing up our lane but not 100% and want to make sure there’s nothing similar that’s poisinous before I eat it.


Lindsey April 18, 2013 at 02:57

We have a horse farm in brooksville,fl and our property and adjoining properties are prevalent for soda apple. Is there a proper way to dispose of them, since mowing just spreads the plant? How toxic are these for horses and cows?

I’m enjoying your website!


Green Deane April 18, 2013 at 15:54

I don’t know about horses but they think the seeds came to Florida in the tummies of cows from South America!


Brandi April 11, 2013 at 19:25

My husband and friend convinced themselves that butter weed was butterwort and ate several leaves. Both had diarrhea for almost two weeks. I suggest considerable vetting before eating unknown plants. (They agree now but who knows about the next time.)


herb lover January 6, 2013 at 13:22

A non-edible lllicium anstum – looks like star anise – tends to grow in Japan. Leave this plant alone.


Graham October 28, 2012 at 08:52

“Wavyleaf Basket Grass” So thats what that is lol…


gregory Malarkey October 13, 2012 at 10:07

i have questions about some plants that are prolific in m area. Who do I contact with pictures to obtain information on their toxicity.
you are so cool my friend. f only I could shadow you for a year or two.


Green Deane October 14, 2012 at 21:03

Toxicity is not my topic but you can post the pictures on the Green Deane Forum on the What Is It page.


John September 28, 2012 at 19:40

Although Argemone spp. are quite valuable medicinally, its seeds are quite edible. Toasted first their flavor comes out and they make a nice wild replacement for poppy seed in breads and cereals and such.


Green Deane October 1, 2012 at 11:41

What evidence do you have for that?


John November 5, 2013 at 00:30

Sorry for the late reply, . . . just noticed your question.
Personal experience and my teacher, the late Michael Moore’s book, Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West.

Thanks for all the great work you do!


Frank Weigle August 27, 2012 at 00:07

After seeing Giant Hog Weed, how would I identify Wild Carrot. They look so much alike.


Green Deane August 27, 2012 at 13:06

Among many ways Hogweed is huge, as tall as an adult or more, Carrots are perhaps a little more than knee high.


Jean Gladstone June 2, 2013 at 16:34

Wild carrot (Daucus) is also known as Queen Anne’s Lace. But to be on the safe side, skip it. It looks a lot like poison hemlock (Conium) which is growing wild along highways in northern Illinois as does wild carrot. (The carrot seems to prefer dryer sites.) The Giant Hog Weed might be confused with Angelica, water hemlock (Cicuta) or cow parsnip (Heracleum), none of which are healthy for you.


Dennis Fink July 5, 2012 at 15:35

I’ve been enjoying your videos and website for a few weeks Dean! Very nice! I’ve gotten back into eating my day lillies, dandelions, bee balm, and adding hosta and clover, purslane, etc., as I learn more. My garden greens production has decreased w/ the summer heat so am checking to see if the virginia creeper leaves are edible since I have lots of it.


Joyce Fenner July 12, 2012 at 14:50

Oh dear! I don’t know much but I’ve read that some people break out with a skin rash from exposure to Virginia Creeper. I certainly would never try to eat it. I sincerely hope Dennis didn’t.


will April 19, 2015 at 17:54

I found my second grader eating leaves off some weed in the driveway. She urged me to try some. Because it is probably my fault she had these tendencies, I did. It was sour, green and good! Like sorrel. It was virginia creeper.
I suspect the sour is the oxalic acid. A little bit of this is ok, I think. I like rhubarb for its sour which is the same thing.
Creeper salad for dinner!

Does that mean it is safe? Dunno. If I have to go on dialysis I promise I will pst a followup.


Green Deane April 20, 2015 at 10:12

No it is not safe. Don’t eat it. Leave it alone.


Matt Smith July 4, 2012 at 15:48

I was looking at Lambsquarters/Goosefoot information online and I was shocked to see this Wordpress blog had a picture of a Black Nightshade plant and was saying that it is Lambsquarters. The leaf is somewhat similar in shape but the texture and color are different and the flowers are totally different. Black Nightshade? Scary. Never trust one website to tell you what to eat unless you want to die huh. I wish everyone came here first. This site is excellent and very reliable information. Thank you Dean. By the way, cooked up my first ever meal of Lambsquarters today and it was YUMMY!


Becca June 7, 2012 at 21:14

Greetings Green Deane
I surfed across your fabulous site about an hour ago and I’ve been reading ever since. I signed up for your email list and I shall anxiously await your next visit to Port Charlotte FL, so I can attend your lecture! (I live near St Pete Beach)


ben gardiner June 3, 2012 at 14:14

hi, i recently ran across a vine that looks like a cross between solanum americanum and the horse nettle. it has the leaves, flowers ,fruit and fruit placement of americanum but has thorns on it’s leaves. top and bottom. the fruit look like tiny watermelons, if that isn’t what mottled means.


Green Deane June 4, 2012 at 06:43

If it is a solanum and looks like little watermelons leave it alone. Whether a “horse nettle” or a “soda apple” they are all usually quite toxic.


Joyce November 5, 2012 at 19:07

Hi Ben,

My aunt showed me a plant that appeared in her yard a few yard a
few years ago and asked if I knew what it was. I didn’t but guessed it to be in the bull nettle family. Recently found what the identification might be in Eastern/CentralMedicinal Plants and Herbs (Steven Foster * James A Duke) page 47. It is tagged “hairy nightshade” or solanum sarrachoroides of the deadly nightshade family. Her volunteer plant had leaves very like watermelon, thorns like the bull nettle family, and globular fruits like the bull nettle family of a near lemon yellow color. Don’t know if they would have changed to black as described for the hairy nightshade or not, since she took my advice, which was, I don’t know what it is but my guess is the bull nettle family and unless you want a blue jillion of the blasted thorny devils next year, pick all its berries and dispose of them where they can’t spread. She promptly picked all of the pretty little round lemon balls off and got rid of them. They do have a medicinal purpose but don’t eat them.


Hallie Iglehart June 1, 2012 at 22:39

Hi–I am just learning to harvest wild from my yard in No. California. I loved your video on Sonchus, of which I have a lot. Am wondering about eating roots, as some of it I need to pull up very young? and flowers?

also, how about scarlet pimpernel? In my brief research, I find conflicting information.

many many thanks, Hallie


Green Deane June 4, 2012 at 06:50

To my knowledge the roots of the Sonchus are not eaten. I have no reference to that. As for Angallis arvensis,it is used sparingly in salads and as a cooked green. But it is high in saponins and can be slightly toxic and also cause dermatitis in some people. Externally it is used as a detergent, as a medicine expoectorant, diuretic, cholagogue and laxative. It is a plant to be careful with.


MD Fairchild May 25, 2012 at 17:57

Thanks for your constant attention to the plants and safety issues surrounding them. The information on privet is correct there are many medicinal uses for ligustricum but probably best left to knowledgeable herbalists, taken together with buffering herbs and other compounds reducing any toxic property. Interestingly, our ‘inkberry’ privet, Foresteria was considered a panacea by native peoples. This plant is actually oleaceae, olive species whose tropical cousins like the privet possess anti viral properties.


Zuly Mitchell May 24, 2012 at 11:05

Great website.! I’ve looked through out the not-edible list and didn’t find the Smilax. I’ve searched a little bit on line and it looks like what we called Zarzaparrilla in Spanish and it’s supposed to have some medicinal applications. Our backyard here at the northwest of Florida is full of that weed and I just wonder if it can be somehow used.
Thanks for your work.


garden February 27, 2015 at 15:29

zuly, i love the smilax. On older plants, the young tendrils taste like asparagus. the root can be eaten, though don’t bother with the giant old ones, harvest the young bouncy ball sized roots that are often gwing off of the older roots, or off of runners from those older roots…the giant old roots stay hard as rocks even if you boil them for 24 hrs…i know, i tried….


Nancy Tardy May 10, 2012 at 13:02

Can you please advise me if Penstemons are poisenous, particularly Rocky Mountain Penstemon, penstemon strictus? Thanks.


Green Deane May 10, 2012 at 14:51

They are listed as non-edible and poor forage for animals.


Kyande May 4, 2012 at 11:23

Good info! You sure know a lot bout plants!


Kathleen Brown April 30, 2012 at 23:51

Okay, wrapping it up to conclusion then: Plan “b”: i plan to order seeds of wild food foraging varieties, in garden form and labeled, to ensure that what I am discovering in my yard and abroad, is indeed a safe choice, as to not loose precious time in savouring the awesome wonders of delicious natures’ gifts, nutritious, fresh, and a great way to learn thier true identifications, in addition of course, to continuous learning before any outdoor foraging excursions such as the aforementioned plan “a”, saving grace of complexities, and enjoy a genuine and safe, natural wild food harvest.
Many thanks for your inspirations.


Josh yingling April 28, 2012 at 00:50

Hey green, I was wondering if these mushroom type things were toxic our not, sorry I don’t know the name but as a kid in florida near ocala we used to pick them up and squeeze them and a huge puff of brown dust would come out I’m assuming the dust is its spores, but we used to kickem around and what not I just showed my nephew them and he had fun squeezing the brown dust out,but ive never had any problems touching them and just wanted to hear your knowledge on this little plant, its white and small maybe quarter size, grows in the shade usually and has a small hole in the top of its white dry dome, I’ve only seen them growing directly on the ground no stem or really any like to know what its name is if you know thank you so much for your website and by the way I don’t eat mushrooms


Joyce November 5, 2012 at 18:44

Hi Josh,

Your mushroom sounds like what we used to call puff balls when I was a kid. Don’t remember squeezing them, but do remember stomping on them & watching the soot fly from them.

A few years back I saw the biggest ones ever in my daughter’s yard in Springfield, Tn. They ranged from size you mentioned to almost as big as my head & firm and snow white in color. I left them be because they were not in the stomping stage. Later I was reding in a mushroom field guide that the puff ball is edible ( think the recipe
suggested was to slice them them, bread them and fry like chicken).
Don’t know how reliable this source is. but their beware was to be sure there was absolutely no semblance of a stem or stalk whatever on any you ate because there was a look alike non edible but it did have varying degrees of stems.


Donna Lenard Putney December 14, 2014 at 00:54

An interesting sidenote to puffballs: When the get to they puff stage, that powder is highly flammable.


Kathleen Brown April 27, 2012 at 21:27

P.S… I have just today from your videos, recognzed that what I thought were regular trees, might be wild cheery ~ though, I’ll take every precaution first, as they’re not yet in bloom anyway, and wild grapes, which i’d never before thought might be edible. And those nuts ~ that drop of three huge matured trees are acorns, edible for flours. Very fun, if after my continued search I find that there’s not an unedible look alike to those. Beauty berry, plantains, lambsquarters, mustard, cloves and much more, are some other mentions which I will have tons of fun learning “what’s… That ~ really!?”. It’s fun. Just thought I’d share a little on the lighter side. Oh yeah, aha, if you do ever schedule it out for here, Bon appetit! Perhaps some fruits will even be harvesting then, too. Oh, pines and oaks too, and two maple trees ~ if those are maples, and more. No worries if you don’t want to, i’ll keep your videos and other authors and my books and the extensions office at easy access.
Finally… No more… I’ve take. Too much of your time, I do t want to be charged for it, aha. 🙂 Kathleen


Kathleen Brown April 27, 2012 at 21:08

Thank you. I have absolutely no intentions of eating any wild foraged mushrooms by the way. It’s just inquisitive of whether or not my veggies are safe. With no more furthur ado to the discussion of mushrooms, will you still accept a reservation to a personal class here for the six acres of other plants which may be truly edible? I’ve got tons and tons perhaps, of these growing around yhe circumference of my orchard, which I’d been using as a beneficial garden, and to my surprise, I’ve recently discoverred many may be edibles. I’ll still of course, continue contact with the wonderful professionals at the e tensions office for thier services; and am hoping to if not take a personal yard class, host a group class. I do hope that I have not alarmed you ha, to steering clear. I can rake stars up for the class, at least, and not discuss… Mushrooms lol. Anyway… I’ll be awaiting your reply as to how to reserve time and gather details of your costs and scheduling if you would be so kind. Anyway, your videos are amazing, and i plan to continue to learn by these as well as other authors on the subject, and as the extensions office suggested, is to bring to them any plant anyone hopes to consume prior to tasting to be 100% certain of it’s safety. I plan to learn the plants, eg true dandelion, by as many resources as I can find, then bring the one to them which I feel most certain is the one which is edible, not a cousin or look alike, etc., to learn with certainty that I have the understanding of it’s identification. I enjoy cooking and preparation, though it’s so fun and so awesome to k ow that my food is truly, truly, fresh and straight from natures garden. With over 90 videos which I’ve taken note of to the edibles, wow ~ that is an infinite combination of recipes to craft up. Okay… So, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule, and I do hope to learn from you, what’s… That ~ that’s growing in my yard!? Much appreciation, peace, and blessings. Kathleen. =D


Donna Lenard Putney December 14, 2014 at 00:50

May I suggest that one should contact a mushroom expert for mushroom questions. Tradd Cotter and Olga Cotter of Mushroom Mountain have written books on mushrooms and teach on the subject. You can find a great forum with them as administrators on Facebook called SCUMS. They can steer you to the best solutions. No one can specialize in every field.


Green Deane December 14, 2014 at 09:46

I also have two mushroom pages on facebook: Southeaster US Mushroom Identification, and, Florida Mushroom Identification Forum.


Kathleen Brown April 27, 2012 at 00:30

I wish I understood why a mushroom toxic or non toxic weighed differently in liabilities than any other of these even deadly plants, which you do not avoid discussions of, but I hope that the presence of such in my yard would not interfere with the opportunity of a personal yard class, in the future. I moved here with the presence of them already existing, and now ~ suddenly, I feel quite vulnerable to this oddity, that I’m sitting on some kind of freakish plane, while my intentions are to seek the most lawful and safest remedy and wisdoms to it’s regard. Please enlighten me with any resources of whom I may turn to for more information on this subject, who won’t shun me in my search to take the most responsible measures. Thank you.


Green Deane April 27, 2012 at 07:43

A lot of something that is not edible is… a lot of something that is not edible. I prefer lichen over mushrooms (as a wild edible albeit famine food) because of the 19000 species of lichen perhaps two are bad for you, and of the many more thousand species of mushrooms/fungus some 96% are not good for you. The spread is from nearly no liability to extreme liability. I avoid the issue and sleep well at night. Let those who specialize in mushrooms teach mushrooms.


Donna Lenard Putney December 14, 2014 at 00:43

Well said.


Kathleen Brown April 26, 2012 at 04:16

Wow ~ I’m so glad to have discoverred your site. I look forward to either a private class, or a group class. Meanwhile, I have what my local extensions office states is earth star; so glad it’s not the death angel. I’m not sure what rigorous process they’d sent it through, but I was told to eradicate it from my yard, and to pull all of my garden veggies from the yard, too, as the toxins could spread it’s spores to the veggies. I’m a bit confused with this, as it’s the death angel that’s so toxic, and I thought the earth angel, and truffles were actually edibles? Clearly, I will not consume anything unless I know for certain what it is, but I’d be so very appreciative to know you’re take on this situation, and by which method I should take to eradicate it? It’s alot of yard here, and I am looking for the simplist and least expensive method. I have fruit trees, too, and am definitely hoping you’ll offer me feedback that the release of the spores won’t be toxic to those, too? These stars or angels… They grow up after rains, atop woods, and release a cyenne pepper like looking powder. They’re are potentially a hundred or so after each rain. Yikes! What do you recommend? Thanks so much for your wisdoms, and I’ll be hoping to plan a class here, and look forward to watching your videos, too. Awesome work ~ thanks for helping make our beautiful planet greener. ~ K. Brown


Green Deane April 26, 2012 at 06:53

Sorry, I avoid talking and teaching about mushrooms because of legal liabilities.


Becky S. April 10, 2013 at 14:35

Hi Kathleen,
Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Mushrooms, items 362 (Geastrum fimbriatum) and 363 (G. triplex) are both colloquially called “earth star.” Both are listed as inedible or of no interest, because of their texture. No mention is made of them OR their spores being toxic. I would expect extreme toxicity from the Amanita clan (death angel, destroying angel, etc.), including their spores. I used to destroy any I found, when I lived in the mountains in Colorado. In this book, the first 16 mushrooms are Amanita species, nearly all of which are poisonous, many deadly, and the notation is made that many of them actually taste quite good, but some 8-10 (or more) hours later, you wind up deathly ill or dead! Even the ones that are listed as edible come with the warning that they closely resemble toxic species, so it just seems like an entire clan better off being avoided.

The puffballs, on the other hand, are delicious! I have harvested, cleaned, sliced and frozen, or prepared fresh, many puffballs, and the giants are the best – because they’re the biggest! They are also a favorite of assorted bugs (but so are all the edible mushrooms I’ve ever hunted), but the early shroomer gets the shrooms before the bugs have a chance to infest them.

The admonition in some “safe mushrooming” books to avoid ALL mushrooms with gills will cause you to ignore the wonderful Agaricus family – the familiar field mushrooms which you find in the grocery store, both fresh and canned. They are very easy to ID once the cap starts to open and you can see the pale-peach gills which darken to melon, brown and finally black as the cap ages. At the peach to brown-gill stages, the white cap and stem are delicious, with the typical flavor of the store-bought fresh mushrooms.

Get yourself a copy of this book and take it with you – or find someone who has hunted mushrooms safely for years and knows the local edible varieties. In Colorado I was blessed to have a neighbor who did, and she taught me the field mushrooms as well as the edible boletes, which are also superb and can be enormous! I sliced and froze gallons of them one year. Now I live in upstate NY and need to learn the edibles and where to find them, all over again.


Mel April 19, 2012 at 20:24

Thank You for telling me what Senecio glabellus is! I have been mowing around it and checking my books but couldn’t find any mention of it. I am glad I don’t eat what I don’t know but this explains why I couldn’t find it in my field guides!! 🙂


jan tucci April 12, 2012 at 22:26

I picked several bunches of wild mustard greens from my son’t garden
I assumed they were safe because he has always cultivated the area and it had a few yellow mustard last year. These did not have the flowers opened yet…. I boiled a potful and when I tasted it was real bitter
I changed water but before consumming any more I wanted to check. I see that there is a look alike…senecio glabolus…which is not edible…maybe dangerous…if this is the case can it affect the other produce in his garden Presently there are many bunches growing around strawberry plants


Green Deane April 13, 2012 at 14:42

Mustards, no matter where they are in the world have some flower parts that make them definitely mustards. First the blossom is either X-shaped or H-shaped, four petals, six stamen, four long two short.

The senecios have a yellow dandelion-like blossom, and yes they are toxic.


Juanito March 21, 2012 at 22:28

Hi Greene,
Just want to thank you for your wonderful site! I feel so connected to nature by the information you provide. I haven’t received a newsletter from you yet. How often do you send them?


Green Deane March 22, 2012 at 06:19

It was every week, then I went twice a month for a month, and now I am trying to go back to weekly. Its a chore but…


Chris @ Jax March 19, 2012 at 18:19

Solanum carolinense:
I licked the inner juice from a ripe, yellow fruit. It tasted awful, but.. no ill effects at that exposure level. The darn thing is prolific though with well over 1000 seeds crammed into each fruit.
Location of plants: Jacksonville, FL – Westside Regional Park, Sal Taylor Preserve, and Equestrian Center woods (all on far west side of town).


duffysmom January 8, 2015 at 06:32

There is also a solanum fruit that looks similar know as ground cherry which is quite edible. Just be sure of the difference.


Peter March 13, 2012 at 12:13

Salvia elegans (Pineapple sage) has red flowers somewhat similar to Salvia cocinnea but with broad green leaves, grows like a weed under the right conditions and is bitter but quite edible. Fall blooming.


Green Deane March 13, 2012 at 12:57

It also has a pineapple scent.


Sonya February 6, 2012 at 16:01

Brazilian Pepper: I have seen Brazilian Pepper (Shinus terebinthefolia) listed as an ingredient in a dry pepper seasoning mix. When I taste-tested 3-4 berries and spit them out, I later noticed a dime-sized chemical burn on the tip of my “taster” which lasted for several days. Proceed with caution!

Yellow Poplar: (Liriodendron tulipifera) was planted out of range in my NSB front yard several years ago (maybe 20). After last winter’s hard cold I noticed that it bloomed for the first time in the Spring and again in the late fall! Strange! (This tree is going to be entered my BudBurst records this year.)


Bart April 29, 2012 at 05:15

While I don’t have much experience with Brazilian Pepper, I do know someone who likes it so I don’t think it is really poisonous. I’ve tasted it and the iron-pepper taste stayed in my mouth for a long time. Supposedly you let them get so ripe they dry out and then you put them in a pepper grinder.


Green Deane April 29, 2012 at 18:14

I had someone in my class yesterday who said they liked the flavor of the “Brazilian Pepper” and put it on this and that. Then she used a lot one and got quite sick, migrain, throwing up et cetera. I have an article on them.


Brenda Becker October 16, 2012 at 01:01

I have been using dried, ground Brazilian Pepper corns for well over a year as my only pepper. My two kids eat it regularly. We have never gotten burned nor sick from it as far as I know.


richard estes July 30, 2015 at 18:33

A relative of Brazilian Pepper, Peruvian Pepper(Schinus molle), has been used in Mexico- but only the berries-dried and roasted, which is used as a pepper substitute. Ingesting too many peppercorns can cause intestinal inflammation

dave star January 28, 2012 at 02:05

Great website, as learning about edible wild foods is something I am keen on…you have a depth of botanical knowledge which is rare these does amongst us mere mortals .Just wanted to ask if you are selling a book about your wild food discoveries and such things, I know that a website is great because it can be frequently updated with info, but books are also gooder!
Cheers and Thanks 4 the site, Dave


Brigitte January 17, 2012 at 17:11

I am truly enjoying reading through your website. Remarkable work!
One question however: I have found listed here many plants as edible that I have never yet seen listed on other reference websites or books (Myosotis sylvatica for one) and some warnings (Hemerocallis/daylilies-thanks for that by-the-way) that I had never encountered. Being that I am keenly interested in landscaping with edible plants as much as possible, I am left a little confused…
Many thanks for all your works!


Green Deane January 17, 2012 at 18:49

Thanks for writing. I don’t use websites for information, except for journals that are posted on line or sites hosted by quality organizations.


dewayne allday January 17, 2012 at 14:13

and I absoutely despise privet… it takes over the understories around here… not letting other natural plants grow… i wish it were eradicated as i have been trying to talk my mother into destroying two of hers planted as an ornamental for years… a few seeds already made it to the treeline .. uggg


Donna Lenard Putney December 14, 2014 at 00:34

The overwhelming smell of blooming privet gives me severe headaches, fatigue, and more. But the birds spread it all over with the seeds.


dewayne allday January 16, 2012 at 03:35

oh… and of course, plenty of mistletoe… i received several kisses over the years under mistletoe shot down with a 12 ga shotgun around the holidays


dewayne allday January 16, 2012 at 03:34

I have not seen any of these except the horse nettle, but we do have lots of the french mulberry growing around here that looks similar to the Fatoua villosa


Green Deane January 16, 2012 at 06:16

French mulberry… you mean Callicarpa americana?


dewayne allday January 17, 2012 at 14:10

Yes… I didn’t know it’s name and just found s but some pictures matching the shrub and found out some call it american beauty berry… It is pretty rampant in the sandy land where I am from, both in the sands of marengo county and the sandy-loamy dirt of dallas county… I have eaten the berries… only 10 or so at a time right off the bush… not much taste to me but a nice treat in small quantities… wouldn’t want to have to live on ’em… some even have it growing in their yard as an ornamental type bush… not sure if that was on purpose or it just came up and they decided to keep it..


aarone March 2, 2013 at 06:13

Callicarpa Americana is a popular ornamental shrub here in the UK. I had no idea that its berries were remotely edible.


Jackie May 14, 2013 at 14:53

I have made jelly with the Callicarpa Americana berries and it was yummy and no one died. 🙂 dont worry I did a lot of research before I tried it. Thanks Green Dean!

Donna Lenard Putney December 14, 2014 at 00:30

Many of us plant this Callicarpia; Beauty Berry as a landscaping plant. It serves a dual purpose; Winter interest with the beautiful berries, and the birds feast on the berries till they are gone. While the berries look good, I never knew them as edible.


Meg July 9, 2015 at 12:14

One of my botany books lists them as “not food, but interesting to eat”, meaning you aren’t going to get much out of them but they aren’t dangerous.

Phil August 10, 2015 at 10:40

There might be a difference between the mulberry weed and the mulberry bush.
The bush grows all over Ohio, in parks and on private property. Its more like a small tree, we used to climb up into it as kids and would eat all we could find “that were ripe”.

I feel the reason most never knew about it is because that don’t ship, they’re just to fragile.

Plus you have to get to the tree before the birds do.

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