Wild Plants I Have Known . . . and Eaten by Russ Cohen
Russ Cohen’s foraging book, Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, is a great complement to his walks and talks, as well as an engaging and accessible introduction for anyone new to the subject. The book describes over forty species of edible wild plants commonly found in most of the Northeast. Artistic yet accurate illustrations by Stephanie Letendre augment the plant descriptions.
Russ's vivid descriptions, depth of knowledge, and obvious enthusiasm for the subject make the book both fun and informative. The beginning sections include helpful general information on foraging, including safety concerns and etiquette, related conservation issues, and foraging with children. It then dives into detailed descriptions of fourteen of Russ’s favorite wild edible plants, including where and when to find each species, how to identify them, related natural and human history, health and nutritional benefits, recipes, and other interesting tidbits. The final section features brief summaries of 27 more edible species found throughout the region.
Two useful appendices are a highlight of the book – the first, “When to Pick Wild Edible Plants of New England,” details when to look for edible shoots, ripe fruits, and other wild plant foods during the year, helping readers time their foraging efforts appropriately. The “Edible Wild Plants Checklist and Rarity Ranking” appendix can serve as a foraging “life list” as well as a species-by-species guide for how to forage in an ecologically-responsible manner.
Each seed package carries a specific germination code along with the plant description. These codes indicate specific sowing instructions.
- A Seeds can be sown outdoors in fall or early spring.
- B Seeds need a winter or cold period to germinate. Sow outdoors in fall or winter.
- C Seeds need light to germinate; sow on soil surface and leave uncovered.
- D Seeds need alternating cycles of warm-to-cold-to-warm to germinate. They can be sown either outdoors in spring or summer and will germinate the following year or in a flat in a warm place for 3 months, then moved to a refrigerator for 2 months, then moved outside in the early summer warmth.
- E Seeds can not be allowed to dry out. Sow immediately.
- F Seeds take two years to germinate. Sow outside in the fall or winter and look for germination in the second spring. A shady location prevents the flats from rapid drying and reduces weeding
- G Large seeds should be soaked overnight in water.
- FERN: Sow spores in a warm bright location in a sealed container and keep moist. Directions enclosed with package. Challenging.
If you have specific questions about seeds and germination guidelines please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All seeds can be sown and placed outdoors in fall or winter bypassing the need for an artificial indoor cold stratification (refrigerator) required for some species when planted in spring. This is the simplest method. See How to Grow Natives From Seed for detailed instructions.