Edible Weeds

Edible Weeds

SEE ALSO: Bush Tucker Edible Weeds section with photos and descriptions of the edible weeds.

The plants I am referring to on this website as "weeds" are the kinds of plants that you see growing, generally unwanted, in your lawn, in your garden beds between the plants that you want, on the sides of roads and railway tracks, in deserted or vacant blocks of land in settled areas, and other such places. They are mostly introduced plants, rather than natives of Australia. Most of them are some kind of "herb", a name given to plants not having a tough woody trunk as would a shrub or tree. They are more likely to be edible, or to have medicinal properties, than any other kind of plant.

Warning - Edible Weeds WARNING: Never eat plants that are growing in an area where they may have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides (weed killers), or where the water supply to the area could be polluted, such as from urban or industrial run-off.

Some quotes from the book "Wild Herbs of Australia and New Zealand" by Tim Low:

Thanks to their unique ecology, weeds represent a very palatable group of plants. Most species live rather transient lives, and they never develop the tough fibrous leaves found on long-lived herbs, shrubs and trees. Furthermore, they expand most of their energy budget on rapid growth, and very little on production of unpalatable plant toxins. (Page 3).

Until recent times edible weeds were important foods in Europe. (Page 2).

In Australia and New Zealand the weedy ancestral forms of many kinds of vegetables can be found growing wild. (Page 3).

The abundance of edible weeds provides an opportunity for the city-dweller to relive, in small part, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the past. The experienced eye of the forager can transform traditional perceptions of the cityscape—weedy vacant allotments and urban wastelands become storehouses of foods and medicine. Where others feel repelled by scenes of urban decay, the forager can find the needs of life. (Page 4).

Since finding this book at the library, and then purchasing my own copy second-hand from www.biblioz.com.au, I have learned to identify many of the edible weeds (and other weeds) that grow in my garden and in my local area. As I get around to it, I will write some of these experiences up on the website.

Recommended Reading


The Weed Forager’s Handbook, Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-RowlandThe Weed Forager’s Handbook, Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland. This is the best Australian book on edible weeds that's currently in print that I know of. Most of the book is about the author's top 20 edible weeds, with each weed getting a few pages that include detailed photos and drawings for identification. First published in 2012.

"Step into the world of our least admired botanical companions, peel back the layers of prejudice, and discover the finer side of the plants we call weeds. This book reveals how to distinguish a tasty sandwich-filler from its dangerous look-alike, which weeds are among the most nutritious vegetables ever tested, and how you cook with delicious nettles without fear of being stung ...It will forever change your concept of where to go looking for lunch."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase from Australia (Dymocks)

Purchase from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Purchase from Amazon


Edible Weeds in Isabell Shipard's BookHow can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods, Isabell Shipard. I have not had this book very long but I am very impressed with it. It covers a great many of the topics discussed on survival.org.au and covers them quite well. There are 16 pages (large pages, with small writing) devoted to edible weeds, including colour photos of many of the weeds. Apart from edible weeds it also covers a few bush tucker (native) food plants, survival kits, storing food, permaculture, sprouting, herbs, and more. Her Course on DVD (PAL format, $35.00 AUD) looks like it would also be excellent, though I have not seen it yet.

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to purchase from Isabell's Site (Australian) $37.00 AUD

See Also

Overview of plant foods
Edible Weeds (Bush Tucker) Index
Bush Tucker Plant Foods Index
Get started with learning plant foods - make yourself a task list
List of Plants for the Blue Mountains (and Sydney)
Family and Comunity Farming
Return to Site Map

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