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Plants main

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. 

Alexanders - Smyrnium olusatrum

Smyrnium olusatrum

A strongly flavoured and aromatic plant

Blackthorn - Prunus spinosa

Prunus spinosa

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

Common Beech - Fagus sylvatica

Common Beech
Fagus sylvatica

A tree with edible parts and important to various fungi

Common Nettle - Urtica dioica

Common Nettle
Urtica dioica

Perhaps the most easily identified wild edible plant

Crow Garlic identification

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

English Yew
Taxus baccata

An extremely poisonous native tree

Fool's Watercress - Apium nodiflorum

Fool's Watercress
Apium nodiflorum

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

Ground Elder - Aegopodium podagraria

Ground Elder
Aegopodium podagraria

Hated by lawn keepers, this is a parsley alternative

Hedge Garlic Flower

Hedge Garlic
Alliaria petiolata

A prolific garlic-scented mustard family member

Himalayan Balsam - Impatiens glandulifera

Himalayan Balsam
Impatiens glandulifera

A non-native invasive plant with edible flowers and seeds 

A cluster of pink juneberries

Amelanchier spp

An ornamental tree with edible berries that has naturalised

Lords and Ladies - Arum maculatum

Lords and Ladies
Arum maculatum

This severe irritant has a lot of common names

Miner's Lettuce - Claytonia perfoliata

Miner's Lettuce
Claytonia perfoliata

A very distinctive plant that has naturalised in the UK

Pineapple Weed - Matricaria discoidea

Pineapple Weed
Matricaria discoidea

A relative of Chamomile with an exotic aroma

Raspberry - Rubus idaeus

Rubus idaeus

A native wild growing soft fruit that is also cultivated

Rose - Rosa spp

Rosa spp

Found in the wild and grown as a cultivated ornamental

Salmonberry Fruit

Rubus spectabilis

An introduced plant with edible fruit, stems and flowers

Sea Buckthorn berries.jpg

Sea Buckthorn
Hippophaes rhamnoides

A thorny shrub with strongly acidic and nutritious berries

Sheep's Sorrel - Rumex acetosella

Sheep's Sorrel
Rumex acetosella

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

Smooth Sow-thistle - Sonchus oleraceus

Smooth Sow-thistle
Sonchus oleraceus

A useful salad leaf often thought of as a weed

Click for Sweet Cicely

Sweet Cicely
Myrrhis odorata

A strongly aromatic member of the carrot family

Walnut fruit

Juglans regia

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

Wild celery flower.jpg

Wild Celery
Apium graveolens

The wild ancestor of modern cultivated variants

Wood Avens - Geum urbanum - an common plant with aromatic roots

Wood Avens
Geum urbanum

A common garden plant with aromatic roots

Bilberry - Myrtillus vaccinium

Myrtillus vaccinium

Shrub with edible berries that prefers acidic soils

Greengage  Fruit

Prunus insititia

Found in hedgerows and also known as Wild Greengage

Common Hogweed - Heracleum sphondylium

Common Hogweed
Heracleum sphondylium

A tasty wild green that should be treated with caution

Common Sorrel - Rumex acetosa

Common Sorrel
Rumex acetosa

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

Damson - Prunus domestica ssp insititia

Prunus insititia

A hedgerow tree that produces edible fruit

Elder - Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra

One of the most useful trees to a forager

few flowered garlic flower 2_edited.jpg

Few flowered garlic
Allium paradoxum

An edible non-native invasive onion

Gooseberry - Ribes uva-crispa

Ribes uva-crispa

A garden escapee with many varieties growing wild

Bittercress foraging guide

Hairy Bittercress
Cardamine hirsuta 

A successful plant that tastes strongly of cress 

Hemlock - Conium maculatum

Conium maculatum

A deadly poisonous member of the carrot family

Honesty flowers.jpg

Lunaria annua

An attractive cultivated member of the mustard family

Lady's Smock - Cardamine pratensis

Lady's Smock
Cardamine pratensis

A pretty meadow flower with a chilli-like heat

Marsh Samphire

Marsh Samphire
Salicornia europaea

Found on coastal flats and along estuaries

Pheasant Berry - Leycesteria formosa

Pheasant Berry
Leycesteria formosa

An unusual looking garden escapee

Pink purslane  main (2)_edited_edited.jpg

Pink purslane
Claytonia sibirica

A pretty and tasty invasive woodland plant

Redcurrant - Ribes rubrum

Ribes rubrum

A native shrub producing edible berries

Rosebay Willoherb - Chamaenerion angustifolium

Rosebay Willowherb
Chamaenerion angustifolium

Found in the wild and grown as a cultivated ornamental

Sea aster leaves

Sea Aster
Tripolium pannonicum

A salt loving member of the daisy family

Sea Purslane

Sea Purslane
Halimione portulacoides

A strongly salty succulent found on beaches and flats

Shepherd's Purse - Capsella burs-pastoris

Shepherd's Purse
Capsella bursa-pastoris

Grows in disturbed earth and has distinctive seed pods

Spruce - Picea spp

Picea spp

A non-native tree often found in plantations and gardens

Sweet Woodruff - Galium odoratum

Sweet Woodruff
Galium odoratum

A woodland plant with a smell that intensifies when it dries

Watercress - Nasturtium officinale

Nasturtium officinale

An edible water plant with a peppery cress flavour

Wild Garlic - Allium ursinum

Wild Garlic
Allium ursinum

A forager's favourite and often found in abundance

Wood Sorrel - Oxalis acetosella

Wood Sorrel
Oxalis acetosella

A zingy addition to salads with heart-shaped leaves

Blackberry - Rubus frucitosus

Rubus fruticosus

One of the first plants most of us learn to forage

Chickweed foraging guide

Stellaria media

A very common plant excellent in salads 

Common Lime - Tilia x Europaea

Common Lime
Tilia x europaea

One of the most pleasant and unusual scented trees

Corn Salad or Lamb's Lettuce

Valerianella locusta

An exceptional salad leaf that is also cultivated

Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale

Taraxacum officinale

A common plant of grassland with many edible uses

English Oak - Quercus robur

English Oak
Quercus robur

Supporting thousands of species including many fungi

Flowering Currant - Ribes sanguineum

Flowering Currant
Ribes sanguineum

Common garden ornamental that has naturalised in the UK

Gorse - Ulex Europaeus

Ulex euroapeus

A very spiny shrub that flowers all year round

Hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna 

This hedgerow tree is edible and a prized medicinal

Hemlock Water Dropwort - Oenante crocata

Hemlock Water Dropwort
Oenanthe crocata

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

Horseradish - Armoracia rusticana

Armoracia rusticana

Strong flavoured leaves and roots are found on this plant

Lilac - Syringa vulgaris

Syringa vulgaris

A naturalised shrub with a strong floral aroma

Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria

Filipendula ulmaria

A strongly scented plant of damp habitats

Pignut - Conopodium majus - an edibl tuber

Conopodium majus

Has an edible tuber with a delightful crunch and flavour

Primrose - Primula vulgaris - an edible herald of springtime

Primula vulgaris

A late-winter flowering plant with edible flowers and leaves

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain
Plantago lanceolata

An edible plant that is useful in treating nettle stings 

Rowan - Sorbus aucuparia

Sorbus aucuparia

A common sight in gardens and parks with attractive fruit

Image of sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp maritima) keaves

Sea Beet
Beta vulgaris ssp maritima

the coastal ancestor of the cultivated beetroot

sea rocket structure

Sea Rocket
Cakile maritima

A beach growing brassica with a strong flavour

Silver Birch - Betula pendula

Silver Birch
Betula pendula

Perhaps one of the most useful trees in the world

Sweet Chestnut - Castanea sativa

Sweet Chestnut
Castanea sativa

Offering tasty seeds in late Autumn

Three-Cornered Leek - Allium triquetrum

Three-Cornered Leek
Allium triquetrum

A non-native invasive member of the onion family

Water Mint - Mentha aquatica

Water Mint
Mentha aquatica

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

Wild Radish - Raphanus raphanistrum

Wild Radish
Raphanus raphanistrum

A spicy-flavoured plant found on agricultural land

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