Category Archives: Edible

Evening Primrose

Photo by Josie Cooke taken in the Smoky Mountains

From the genus Oenothera in the Onagraceae family Commonly called the Evening primrose family.  

Leaves form a basal rosette at ground level and spiral up to the flowering stems; the leaves are dentate or deeply lobed (pinnatifid). The flowers of many species open within less than a minute in the evening, hence the name “evening-primrose”, most are yellow.  (wikipedia)

“Young roots can be eaten like a vegetable (with a peppery flavor), or the shoots can be eaten as a salad” (Wikipedia)   I’ve also found that the flowers are edible as well in a few wild edibles books.  I have tried them.  They are a sweet treat.


Dwarf Ginseng or Ground Nut

Panax trifolius, common name Dwarf Ginseng

Sorry these aren’t the Best photos.  But notice “compound leaves, and small flowers in umbels or head-like clusters. Flowers of dwarf ginseng are tiny (about two millimeters wide), dull white umbels rising from a whorl of three compound leaves. In botanical Latin trifolius means “three leaves”. It flowers from April to June followed by yellowish, clustered berries in July to August. The plant reaches 10 to 20 centimeters in height (4 to 8 inches).”

“American Indians used tea of the whole plant for colic, indigestion, gout, hepatitis, hives, rheumatism, and tuberculosis. The root was chewed for headaches, shortness of breath, fainting, and nervous debility. Its distinctive tubers can be eaten raw or boiled.”

Some sources list this variety as not having any medicinal qualities.  This may be  because of lack of research .

I haven’t found any sources that claim this variety to be toxic in any way.

Another website says

“A tea made from the whole plant has been used in the treatment of colic, indigestion, gout, hepatitis etc. The root is analgesic. It has been chewed as a treatment for headache, short breath, fainting and nervous debility.”

It also claims that the roots care edible and have a very “palatable taste after boiling and When cold it has a taste somewhat like nuts.”

Bur Reed

Sparganium amricanum common name Bur Reed

An aquatic plant.  The closest known relative to the cattail.

Edible: Tubers on rootstalk and bulb-like base.

Preparation: Tubers and bulb-like base are edible when cooked (either boiled orroasted). Both tubers and bulb-like base can be dried and pounded into flour.

Wild Ginger

Asarum caudatum (Wild Ginger)

The flower smells like carrion.  But the roots can be used like commercial ginger!