Come spring, avid gardeners dig into the new growing season ready with careful cultivation plans they dreamed up over long winters. But even city-dwelling non-planners can benefit from year-round botanical bounty. They just need to learn what, where and how to harvest the wild foods growing in lawns, parks and scrubby backlots.
Chickweed, dandelion and dock provide delicious, nutrient-rich greens, while daylilies, lilacs, honeysuckle and roses can add floral overtones to syrups, jellies and baked goods. Protein-packed wild plants and plant parts include purslane, acorns and brown dock seeds. Teas and tinctures made from ground ivy, gingko and golden rod, along with many other “weeds” and invasive species, can serve various medicinal purposes, once properly prepared.
In her book “Urban Foraging: Find, Gather, and Cook 50 Wild Plants,” herbalist and expert forager Lisa M. Rose offers guidance on safely identifying, gathering and preparing edible flora that grow wild in most major US cities.