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Some Useful Wild Plants: A Foraging Guide to Food and Medicine From Nature

Some Useful Wild Plants: A Foraging Guide to Food and Medicine From Nature

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Some Useful Wild Plants: A Foraging Guide to Food and Medicine From Nature

215 pagine
1 ora
Feb 18, 2017


With over forty years since its original printing, and over 30,000 copies sold, this bestselling guide still remains a trusted and much-consulted reference for those interested in identifying, foraging and growing wild plants for food and medicine. Now Some Useful Wild Plants is back in print for a new generation of foragers and herbalists.

Some Useful Wild Plants contains sections on useful herbs, trees, berries and seaweeds, as well as commentary on avoiding poisonous species. Pick the young tender leaves of orach, salsify and miner's lettuce for a delicious and vitamin-rich spring salad or stir-fry. Concoct a cherry bark and licorice fern syrup to soothe a sore throat. Repel insects naturally using sage oil or vanilla leaf. From alder to yarrow, each featured plant has useful descriptors for identification and details on how to harvest, as well as how the plant is traditionally used for medicine by First Nations, pioneers and contemporary herbalists. Clear line drawings are provided to assist foragers in accurate identification. Directions are included for the preparation of ointments, salves, poultices, compresses and tinctures.

Dan Jason also addresses sustainability when foraging to ensure that harvesting supports the continuous growth of the plant and the natural environment.
Feb 18, 2017

Informazioni sull'autore

Dan Jason lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, where he founded the mail-order seed company Salt Spring Seeds. He has written many bestselling books about growing and preparing food sustainably, including most recently The Power of Pulses (Douglas & McIntyre, 2016, with Hilary Malone and Alison Malone Eathorne).

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Anteprima del libro

Some Useful Wild Plants - Dan Jason

Some Useful Wild Plants

Some Useful


A Foraging Guide to Food and Medicine from Nature

Revised Edition

Dan Jason

Illustrations by Robert Inwood

Text copyright © 2017 Dan Jason

Illustrations © 1971 and 2017 Robert Inwood

1 2 3 4 5 — 21 20 19 18 17

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior permission of the publisher or, in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a licence from Access Copyright,, 1-800-893-5777,

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.

P.O. Box 219, Madeira Park, BC, V0N 2H0

Indexed by Tori Hannesson

Cover illustration by Robert Inwood

Text design by Brianna Cerkiewicz

Printed and bound in Canada

Printed on FSC-certified, chlorine-free paper made from 100% post-consumer fibre

Plants have distinct effects on different people. It is vital that you consult your health care provider before considering any self-directed treatment of a medical condition, including the use of wild food and medicinal plants. Be vigilant when consuming wild plants: if you notice any negative effects, discontinue use and consult your health care provider immediately. Some beneficial plants closely resemble other plants that are toxic to humans. Before you consume any wild plant, consult with an expert to be certain that you have correctly identified it.

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. We also gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and from the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Jason, Dan, author

          Some useful wild plants : a foraging guide to food and medicine from nature / Dan Jason ; illustrations by Robert Inwood. -- Revised edition.

Includes index.

Previously published: Vancouver : Talonbooks, 1972.

Author of original edition: David Manning.

Issued in print and electronic formats.

ISBN 978-1-55017-791-6 (softcover).--ISBN 978-1-55017-792-3 (HTML)

1. Wild plants, Edible--British Columbia--Identification. 2. Wild plants, Edible--Northwestern States--Identification. 3. Medicinal plants--British Columbia--Identification. 4. Medicinal plants--Northwestern States--Identification. 5. Cooking (Wild foods)--British Columbia. 6. Cooking (Wild foods)--Northwestern States.  7. Indians of North America--Medicine--British Columbia. 8. Indians of North America--Medicine--Northwestern States. I. Inwood, Bob, illustrator II. Title.

QK99.M3 2017 581.6'30971 C2016-907689-X



I’m very happy to be writing this new introduction to Some Useful Wild Plants, which was first published over 45 years ago, in 1971!

When I came out to British Columbia after graduating from McGill University in 1967, one of my first new friends was David Manning. (We’re still great buddies nearly 50 years later!) Even though my degree was in psychology and anthropology, I had a love for plants in my blood and bones. David stoked my desire to learn more about plants because of his great familiarity with all things that grew in the wild.

There weren’t many books on foraging for wild plants back then, and we got the idea to write a really good, all-inclusive one. With support and encouragement from Tom Perry, Nancy Cundill and Gregg Macdonald, I ended up being the main researcher and writer. I interviewed First Nations herbalists and Doukhobor wild-crafters, spent lots of time in libraries and trekked all over southern BC, eventually finding all the plants I was looking for.

We convinced our good friend Bob Inwood to do the illustrations, and I still have fond memories of taking Bob into forest and field to capture the plants with his beautiful line drawings. I am grateful to Bob for allowing a new generation of plant lovers to see his fine renditions.

At that time, we were based in the Slocan Valley in the BC Interior and the first edition of Some Useful Wild Plants focused on plants that were found there. When David and I took our manuscript to David Robinson of Talonbooks in Vancouver, he was immediately very enthusiastic. Before long, I was taking copies to bookstores across southern BC.

There was such a great demand for our book that we soon created an expanded version that was relevant to all of British Columbia. In fact, most of the wild plants in this book are found across North America. Some Useful Wild Plants became a best-seller that was reprinted six times. I saw copies everywhere I went. I felt so gratified that I had helped initiate a revival in the appreciation and utilization of wild plants that could be found in city and country, field and forest, garden and farm.

Many glossy books on edible and medicinal wild plants have come out since then, but I still delight in Bob’s illustrations and feel good about what I wrote 45 years ago.

My love affair with plants has not diminished all these years later. When I moved to Salt Spring Island on the BC coast in 1976, I started to grow foods and herbs a lot more than picking them in the wild. My gardens got larger and larger, and by 1986 I was managing my own seed company, Salt Spring Seeds. I now maintain over 700 plant varieties and ship seeds all over the world. You can find seeds for many of the plants in Some Useful Wild Plants in my catalogue at, including alfalfa, burdock, clover, goldenrod, miner’s lettuce, nettles, nodding onion, plantain, purslane, St. John’s wort, valerian and yarrow!

Whether in the wild or in your own garden, the plants in this book have so much to offer in terms of nutrition, medicine, self-empowerment and beauty. Happy foraging and happy growing!

Dan Jason

Herbs & Shrubs


Medicago sativa


Alfalfa is sometimes called lucerne or buffalo herb. It is grown in many places for animal feed and is also often seen growing wild in fields. This clover-like plant has a deep taproot, numerous stems, and leaves that appear in threes but are narrower and smaller than clover leaves. It has racemes of small flowers that are usually purple but sometimes yellow.

Alfalfa flowers have been used as a cough remedy, and alfalfa leaves are most commonly used in combination with mint leaves as a food or tonic. The leaves of young plants (best collected in the spring or early summer) can be dried, ground and eaten raw in salad, steeped in hot water as tea or mixed in with prepared cereal. We suggest that the leaves be

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