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A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America
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A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides #23)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  816 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
More than 370 edible wild plants, plus 37 poisonous look-alikes, are described here, with 400 drawings and 78 color photographs showing precisely how to recognize each species. Also included are habitat descriptions, lists of plants by season, and preparation instructions for 22 different food uses.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published September 1st 1978)
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Apr 20, 2016 Manybooks rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in plants, botany, wild harvesting
This informative and interesting reference guide describes edible wild plants of Eastern and Central North America (some edible wild plants of Western North America are mentioned as well, but only if they also occur in Eastern and Central regions). Lee Allen Peterson (who I believe is the son of Roger Tory Peterson, the renowned ornithologist, and founder of the concept of the Peterson Field Guides) not only details what these edible wild plants look like, how tall they are, how to identify the ...more
Tonya Coffey
Jan 04, 2016 Tonya Coffey rated it really liked it
My son bought me this for Christmas. Every Christmas for the past six years he has bought me a book. A first like this...
We love the woods and one day as we were walking along we saw some berries hanging on a branch. They were purple connected to a fan of leaves that were smooth. As we stood there starring at them, he asked me if they were edible. I had no idea. But I said no to be on the safe side. When I got the book, I opened it up and read through the pages and looked at each of the pictures
John Hinton
Mar 04, 2013 John Hinton rated it really liked it
I’ve argued with colleagues over this, but I still consider this to be the most important book for edible plant foragers to own, at least for those in the eastern U.S.A. It is not a cookbook, and only gives a brief description of the edible uses, but the most important step in learning about edible plants is not learning to cook plants well, but learning to identify them without making a mistake. One mistake can be fatal, so there is no margin for error. The Peterson guide describes the plants i ...more
Serge Pierro
Jun 02, 2013 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it
There is a growing interest in foraging wild plants in the culinary world. This book allows anyone to be able to partake in this endeavor. Lots of great information is mentioned throughout. With text on the left and drawings on the right, the book presents a concise paragraph or so of useful information for each of the edible plants discussed. There is also a section of photographs, and it would be a welcome addition, if future printings would change over to 100% photos for greater accuracy and ...more
David Gregg
Mar 11, 2009 David Gregg rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Read this twice when I was in high school, along with another book just like it. You might be bored by it, but I was enthralled!
Stephie Jane Rexroth
Jun 23, 2013 Stephie Jane Rexroth rated it it was amazing
This compact book is as much an informative read as it is a handy field guide. I was pleasantly surprised that such a little book could be so full of valuable information in such a useful variety of helpful formats -- diagrams, icons, lists, color plates and descriptions. Includes much more introductory and concluding information than expected and recommends books for further study.

In addition to the diagrammed bulk of the book, I most favored the section, "Finding Edible Plants: Where and When
Paula Zoran
Dec 14, 2015 Paula Zoran rated it it was amazing
Well, I've been out and about on the beautiful trail by my house. The warm weather caused me to pull the book off my shelf. It is an easy to follow field guide (even for beginners). I have identified quite a salad bowl of delicious edibles. I would highly recommend this guide for anyone interested in finding out what nature has to offer on her dining table.
Joshua Schenck
Aug 11, 2014 Joshua Schenck rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive, descriptions of which parts are edible, short directions on how to prepare foodstuffs, and great pictures for identifying.
Jesse Taylor
Jan 16, 2015 Jesse Taylor rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely amazing. The drawings are incredibly accurate, and really bring out the unique attributes of each plant. This is the primary book I studied edible plants from before spending several months in the Southern Appalachian mountains, and the one of those I carried with me in my hiking pack. I used several others, but this was the one I studied most thoroughly. Physically, the book is also perfect for hiking -- small in size, but extremely information dense.

If you were going to
Feb 08, 2015 Dyann rated it it was amazing
I've had this book since 1998. It's great. I take it with me in the bush all the time.
Jessica Purdon
Jun 17, 2013 Jessica Purdon rated it liked it
A good starting point, but I wouldn't actually put the information into practice after reading only this book. There isn't enough information contained in it (and the pictures aren't good enough) to safely identify plants with poisonous look-alikes or to be able to properly prepare wild edibles which need special preparation to be safely eaten.

Overall, I'd recommend reading the book, but if you're serious about self-reliance in the forest, use this as a supplement and not a guide.
Aug 02, 2012 Kat rated it it was amazing
I decided to put this excellent field guide on my "read" list because I have been reading a lot of this book for years and I am sure I will continue to read it for years to come. I also need to fulfill my goal of reading 100 books this year and I am falling short. Filled with good and delicous information, this book has left me well enough informed to eat plants off the ground nearly everywhere I go.
Apr 06, 2010 Kristal rated it really liked it
My second favorite field guide next to Billy Joe Tatum's field guide, which is out of print. I like the addition of color photographs for this guide. I just wish there were photos for everything and that it were organized a little differently. Other than that, it is a good guide and compact enough to take on a hike. I plan to get the Peterson's guide for medicinal herbs, as well.
Aug 15, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Great book, full of detailed illustrations which include everything you need to identify edible plants. It also contains Images of toxic species that look similar to edible ones, and cooking instructions. Very useful and interesting. I love making dandelion and oxalis salads: nontoxic weed control, healthy food, and saving money all in one.
Jul 29, 2007 Andi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tree huggers
not going to lie... I definitely carried this book around with me as I was teaching nature earlier this summer and fell in love and bought my own copy. In turn, my dad and I walked around with this on our weekend walks together and we got distracted by every plant we saw and wondered if it was edible... good times!
Jan 25, 2013 Foxtower rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Mmmm...yummy! I was amazed at how many plants there are growing in my back yard that are edible! This book is full of astounding information, plus the different uses of plants from salad to tea to a condiment. Ane they are responsible too, also including which ones are poisonous!
Jul 14, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing
I've been using this to identify common local weeds--it turns out many if not most of them are edible. Excellent brief descriptions and illustrations make this really easy to use. Much better than the various wildflower and tree field guides I've used.
Sep 29, 2013 Arabesque rated it it was ok
Very concise and had a large variety of plants. However, the bad part was that it did not have colored pictures. Most of them were drawing which is not really helpful to me and that's why I only gave it two stars. However the content is really good.
Aug 27, 2007 Dereck rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference, own
a great and easy to use field guide with many pictures. However, unlike the Medicinal Plants and Herbs Field Guide, this has many more drawings than photos, so it can lead to some confusion which can sometimes be dangerous.
Jan 10, 2016 Joe rated it liked it
Great book for reference, but not in-depth enough for the practical edible plants. Too many mentions of plants that are edible only when used as a flour and not enough info on the good, versatile edible plants.
Michael Barnette
Sep 01, 2010 Michael Barnette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: authors of historic books set in America
This book is great if you're planning to write any sort of historic pre-industrial based fiction. A terrific resource for authors writing historic fiction such as stories with Native American people or westerns.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Oct 16, 2012 Sheri Fresonke Harper rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, garden
If you have to go back to nature and rough it this is a handy guide to tell you what is edible, where it is found. Good diagrams show the different parts of the plants, i.e. roots, stems, flowers, fruits and seeds.
Feb 01, 2008 Gennadyi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hikers, nature lovers
good guide with lots of photos. accurate descriptions and an easy to use organization.
would be better if it included recipes and specific preparation instructions.
I found and prepared a wild potato not long after buying this book: pretty tough flesh, but edible.

If civilization implodes I'll bump this up to 5 stars...
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 04, 2011 Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
There are many edible wild plants east of the Mississippi River. The author identifies them and gives suggestions on who to process and use them.
Ryan Mishap
Nov 03, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it liked it
Hey, not really my part of the country but there are some overlapping plants. Pretty solid guide.
Feb 03, 2013 Angi rated it it was amazing
This is a great book- there are a lot of things just in my yard I can use if I want to!
Jennifer Heise
Aug 04, 2016 Jennifer Heise rated it really liked it
Nicely comprehensive but the illustrations vary in quality and usefulness.
Jason Courtney
Jul 20, 2007 Jason Courtney rated it liked it
Needs more color plates..too easy to get poisoned by ingesting wrong plant
Jared Green
Jul 27, 2010 Jared Green rated it it was amazing
Shelves: camping, nature
my go to book. I bring this with me on my outdoor adventures
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Peterson Field Guides (1 - 10 of 54 books)
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