The American Elder produces elderberries and the plant can be found along the edges of swampy areas and roadsides and fields. The bushes grow 3 to 10 feet tall with 4-inch to 9-inch sharply toothed leaves. The flowers are creamy white in color and the fruits look like berries which are purple-black. The berries can be eaten raw or used in jams or wine. Gooseberry bushes (pictured above) have maple-shaped leaves and grow approximately 4 feet high. Their branches have prickles on them and the yellow to white flowers grow in long, hanging clusters which will bear the fruit. The shiny berries are red to black and can be eaten raw or cooked. Gooseberries are commonly found in fields and bottomlands. Bearberry is a low growing evergreen shrub found in the colder regions of the state. The leaves are glossy and the urn-like flowers are pink to white. The berries last all winter and are purple to black. The berries can be eaten raw or used as a tea and the leaves are used in herbal medicines.
The California nutmeg or Torreya tree grows in mountainous habitats and diverse plant communities. This evergreen grows to 17 to 19 feet tall and produces a 1-inch to 1.5-inch seed in April that is edible. The seed can be eaten raw, cooked or used like olive oil. The nut is said to taste like peanuts. The hazelnut is a large bush growing to 9 feet tall with sharp toothed leaves. Inside of the hairless fruits are the edible nuts which ripen in autumn. The nuts can be eaten raw or cooked.
Greens and Potherbs
Clover grows 1 to 15 inches tall and is found in grasslands and fields. The plants have three-part leaves and the flowers are pink to white. The roots, stems, leaves and flowers are all edible. The plant can be eaten raw or cooked, but it is suggested to soak it in salt water before eating it raw to make it more digestible. The Judas tree or Red Bud is a small tree with pink to mauve flowers covering its bare branches in the spring. The flowers are edible or a tea can be made out of them. The trees are found along streams or mountainous slopes. Chickweed is a plant that grows to approximately 3 feet tall and has small white flowers. The tender leaves and stems can be eaten raw like a salad or boiled. It blooms February through December and can be found in meadows and pastures.
Article Written By Joyce Starr
Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.