Lambsquarters, also spelled lambs’ quarters, aka white goose-foot, has the distinction of being one of the most nutritious plants in the world. Note the following characteristics: goose-foot leaf shape and white powder (sometimes lavender) on the central growth tips. (See Eating Wildly Chapters 7 & 10 for lambsquarters recipes).
Oyster mushrooms can be found in my area throughout the year, but I particularly enjoy the late summer/early fall Pleurotus ostreatus as they are often available in that in-between season, when other edibles have gone past their prime. Note: gills run down the short stem, the mushrooms bloom forth in clusters from a generalized central point, and it has a white spore print. (See Eating Wildly Chapters 1 & 17 for inspiration and recipe).
Field garlic, aka wild garlic or onion grass, is one of the few things that grows throughout the winter months and for that reason alone it’s a prize. It’s best in the early spring when the fresh young shoots come out and the leaves are at their tenderest. See Eating Wildly Chapter 3 for a field garlic recipe.
I love the lemony kick of wood sorrel in salads. Note the heart-shaped leaves and the clover formation. No wonder it’s also called “shamrocks.” See Eating Wildly Chapter 5 for more culinary information about wood sorrel.
One of the choicest mushrooms in North America, yellow morels can only be gathered from the wild. Note the honey-comb pattern, and — unlike the “false morel” — Morchella esculenta is hollow inside. See Chapters 13 & 14 for cleaning/drying techniques and a recipe.
Here is garlic mustard in its late spring/early summer form like a stalky teenager about to flower. In its younger winter-spring form, it flourishes as a basal rosette that hugs the ground, with scalloped-shaped leaves. Although it’s a weedy invasive here, I still have fondness for this plant in all of its culinary forms. See Eating Wildly Chapter 7 for a yummy recipe.
Red and white mulberries (and their hybridized forms) can be found across most of the U.S. thanks to a silk industry that never really got off the ground. For me, mulberries will be forever linked to my grandmother and the day that I first discovered them in my home-town of Flushing, Queens. See my recipe for mulberry jam in Eating Wildly Chapter 9 (“The Mother Borough.”)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this visual diary of the Plants & Mushrooms of Eating Wildly! I’ll be periodically adding more photographs as they come.