Monday, 10 June 2013

edible flowers...

Last week, on a gloriously sunny evening, I joined a foraging walk to learn how to identify the edible flowers and plants that can be picked. It was really interesting, I learned absolutely loads, although I'm not sure how well I'll remember everything! We picked salad burnet, ribwort plantain, St. Johns wort, red clover, hogweed, herb Robert, burdock, borage, cleavers and of course ransoms.

Unfortunately as foraging becomes more fashionable, I have heard tales of people uprooting plants in the wild and beaches that have lost all their samphire to the restaurant trade! You would never survive if you had to forage for your food it's simply unsustainable nowadays, we have far too high a population and our tastes are quite different, plus you would never forage for just one plant, you would take bits of this and that and mix what you find. Instead if you want to forage, follow the foragers code below and take little bits or grow your own.

A Foragers Code

  • English law is complicated, you can take 'fruit, flowers, foliage and fungi' but nothing dug up, from public rights of way for your own consumption only, if there is no national protection of the site or species or local bylaw. 
  • Always get the landowners permission first. 
  • Foraging on protected land such as SSSI's and nature reserves can cause damage beyond repair and can be illegal. 
  • Do not collect rare or red list species or those protected by law. 
  • Follow the Countryside Code. 
  • Take reputable field guides with you and fully identify species before picking them. 
  • Minimise damage to vegetation, leaf litter and soil. 
  • Respect and protect other species, including poisonous ones. 
  • Ancient woodland and permement pasture often contain a rich variety of species including rarities.
  • Avoid removing dead wood. 
  • Do not collect species you don't intent to eat. 
  • Be aware that some species may make you unwell and that some are deadly!
  • Some species are only edible in certain seasons or at different stages of its growth, or after cooking. 
  • For fungi, pick no more than 1.5 kg of fungi total per visit, many species other than humans eat fungi. 
  • Don't collect 'buttons' (mushrooms that haven't expanded), giving them time to expand will help identification, allow spores to be discharged and give you more to eat. 


  1. i recently bumped into a ex-work colleague acting very furtively when out for a walk. it turned out we'd found him in his porcini spot! apparently restaurants will pay $60-120 a kg here for fresh ones and so he like to be careful to pick when there is no one else around.
    we were over the moon when he taught us how to find and identify them, but the place will remain our little secret, especially since it's not really our secret to tell x

  2. You are 100% right, we all need to respect the beauty of nature and leave species for future generations x

  3. I've never knew that there was rules but I have to say that I agree, and agree with Natalie above, I feel like the 'Want Now' generation (or as I call it) that's coming up will start to harm things, not all but it's sad where its all going :(


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