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Plant Identification Guide

This foraging guide is designed to help identify edible plants and their poisonous lookalikes growing in the UK. This backs up information given on foraging courses led by The Foraging Course Company. Plants are listed alphabetically by common name.

These online guides are a new feature, so are constantly expanding. Keep checking back for more as the season progresses!

When foraging for food, it is vital that you are 100% sure of your identification. 


Smyrnium olusatrum

A strongly flavoured and aromatic plant


Prunus spinosa

A hedgerow tree whose fruits are used to make a gin liqueur

Common Beech

Fagus sylvatica

A tree with edible parts and important to various fungi

Common Nettle

Urtica dioica

Perhaps the most easily identified wild edible plant

Crow Garlic
Allium vineale

A common wild onion found in grassland


Rubus caesius

Closely resembling a Blackberry and full of flavour

English Yew

Taxus baccata

An extremely poisonous native tree


Ribes uva-crispa

A garden escapee with many varieties growing wild

Hairy Bittercress

Cardamine hirsuta 

A successful plant that tastes strongly of cress 


Conium maculatum

A deadly poisonous member of the carrot family


Armoracia rusticana

Strong flavoured leaves and roots are found on this plant

Lords and Ladies

Arum maculatum

This severe irritant has a lot of common names

Pheasant Berry

Leycesteria formosa

An unusual looking garden escapee


Primula vulgaris

A late-winter flowering plant with edible flowers and leaves

Ribwort Plantain

Plantago lanceolata

An edible plant that is useful in treating nettle stings 


Sorbus aucuparia

A common sight in gardens and parks with attractive fruit

Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Grows in disturbed earth and has distinctive seed pods


Picea spp

A non-native tree often found in plantations and gardens

Sweet Woodruff

Galium odoratum

A woodland plant with a smell that intensifies when it dries


Nasturtium officinale

An edible water plant with a peppery cress flavour

Wild Radish

Raphanus raphanistrum

A spicy-flavoured plant found on agricultural land


Myrtillus vaccinium

Shrub with edible berries that prefers acidic soils


Prunus insititia

Found in hedgerows and also known as Wild Greengage

Common Hogweed

Heracleum sphondylium

A tasty wild green that should be treated with caution

Common Sorrel

Rumex acetosa

With a sharp acidic taste this plant can liven up a salad


Prunus insititia

A hedgerow tree that produces edible fruit


Sambucus nigra

One of the most useful trees to a forager

Flowering Currant

Ribes sanguineum

Common garden ornamental that has naturalised in the UK


Ulex euroapeus

A very spiny shrub that flowers all year round


Crataegus monogyna 

This hedgerow tree is edible and a prized medicinal

Hemlock Water Dropwort

Oenanthe crocata

Deadly poisonous thought to be the UK's most toxic plant 

Lady's Smock

Cardamine pratensis

A pretty meadow flower with a chilli-like heat


Filipendula ulmaria

A strongly scented plant of damp habitats


Conopodium majus

Has an edible tuber with a delightful crunch and flavour


Rubus idaeus

A native wild growing soft fruit that is also cultivated


Rosa spp

Found in the wild and grown as a cultivated ornamental


Rubus spectabilis

An introduced plant with edible fruit, stems and flowers

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

Perhaps one of the most useful trees in the world

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

Offering tasty seeds in late Autumn

Three-Cornered Leek

Allium triquetrum

A non-native invasive member of the onion family

Water Mint

Mentha aquatica

A water-loving plant that can be used like other mints

Wood Avens

Geum urbanum

A common garden plant with aromatic roots


Rubus fruticosus

One of the first plants most of us learn to forage


Stellaria media

A very common plant excellent in salads 

Common Lime
Tilia x europaea

One of the most pleasant and unusual scented trees

Valerianella locusta

An exceptional salad leaf that is also cultivated


Taraxacum officinale

A common plant of grassland with many edible uses

English Oak

Quercus robur

Supporting thousands of species including many fungi

Fool's Watercress

Apium nodiflorum

A water-loving plant that has a carrot-like aroma

Ground Elder

Aegopodium podagraria

Hated by lawn keepers, this is a parsley alternative

Hedge Garlic

Alliaria petiolata

A prolific garlic-scented mustard family member

Himalayan Balsam

Impatiens glandulifera

A non-native invasive plant with edible flowers and seeds 


Syringa vulgaris

A naturalised shrub with a strong floral aroma

Miner's Lettuce

Claytonia perfoliata

A very distinctive plant that has naturalised in the UK

Pineapple Weed

Matricaria discoidea

A relative of Chamomile with an exotic aroma


Ribes rubrum

A native shrub producing edible berries

Rosebay Willowherb
Chamaenerion angustifolium

Found in the wild and grown as a cultivated ornamental

Sheep's Sorrel

Rumex acetosella

With a distinctive leaf shape, this plant is easy to identify

Smooth Sow-thistle

Sonchus oleraceus

A useful salad leaf often thought of as a weed

Sweet Cicely

Myrrhis odorata

A strongly aromatic member of the carrot family


Juglans regia

A tree with edible nut-like seeds and many other uses

Wild Garlic

Allium ursinum

A forager's favourite and often found in abundance

Wood Sorrel

Oxalis acetosella

A zingy addition to salads with heart-shaped leaves