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Covering both historical and contemporary use of plants, this book -- the result of three decades of research in archives and among native people -- celebrates more than just the variety of plants; it celebrates the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the people who have always known them best.
Paul Douglas Campbell is also the author of Survival Skills of Native California, a book of in-depth research on representative life skills of the California Indians.
Edible Wild Plants provides what you really need to know to have your own wild food adventures. This book is the first comprehensive overview of how Native Americans managed the landscape and cared for the plant communities on which they depended, from the Oregon coast to Southeast Alaska.
In many bookshops (especially online ones) you are presented with hundreds of books and not much idea which one(s) to get. I am using the Australian online bookshop The Nile, which gives me a 5% commission on anything you buy from them if you go there from this website.
Amazon is usually quite expensive for Australian sourced books purchased from within Australia, presumably because they have to be shipped overseas (to Amazon) and then back again. If you live outside Australia, an excellent source of nature, wilderness awareness and wilderness survival material is Wilderness Awareness School (located in the USA). See here for more Wilderness Living books (from all countries, the books on this page are the Australian ones only).
Australia, though if you are mainly interested in the North, check out Les Hiddins' Pocket Guide).
I was given this for Christmas one year and by good luck it happened to be basically the only current Australian bush tucker book that I didn't already own (I even had the larger version of this book listed above). Medicinal Plants in Australia, Volume 2 — Gums, Resins, Tanin and Essential Oils, Cheryll Williams.
Medicinal Plants in Australia, Volume 3 — Plants, Potions and Poisons, Cheryll Williams.
It was originally published as two separate books, Native Plants of the Upper Blue Mountains and Native Plants of the Lower Blue Mountains. Purchase from Amazon (I think this book is rare as the prices on Amazon range from a few thousand $ up to $23,680). Habitat and Distribution: Nettles prefer moist areas along streams or at the margins of forests. Other Uses: Mature stems have a fibrous layer that you can divide into individual fibers and use to weave string or twine.
The Forager's Harvest DVD Set includes two discs covering all the plants discussed in Samuel Thayer's first book, The Forager's Harvest.
Nature's Garden is Samuel Thayer's long awaited, Part II, to his original The Forager's Harvest.
Written by a leading expert on wild foods and a well-known teacher of survival skills, the Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants is more than a listing of plant types - it teaches how to recognize edible plants and where to find them, their medicinal and nutritional properties, and their growing cycles. From acorns, cactus, and yucca to mesquite, manzanit, and lamb's quarter, Foraging Caliufornia guides readers to the dible wild foods and healthful herbs of the Golden State.
In this DVD you will learn how to identify and use common wild plants found anywhere in the U.S. This is not one of those tapes that looks like it was shot with a handy-cam and edited in the garage. Linda Runyon's 13-year experience of homesteading without stores, electricity, or other modern conveniences, brought about the creation of this ultimate wild food guide! Although not an edible plant book per se, Botany in a Day is changing the way people are learning about plants. These decks of cards are great for backpackers, hikers, campers, or persons learning edible and poisonous plants. Whether a beginner or advanced wild food aficionado, gardener, chef, botanist, nutritionist, scientist, or a dieter with special needs, this book is for you.

Representing all regions of modern California, these detailed descriptions present the full range of Native food from gathering through storage, processing, cooking, and eating, as well as the role of food in myth and ritual.
With contributions from ethnobotanists, archaeologists, anthropologists, geographers, ecologists, and Native American scholars and elders, this book documents practices, many unknown to European peoples, that involved manipulating plants and plant communities.
So here I have described the books that I myself have used to learn from, and that are the most popular and the most recommended. If you live in Australia I would recommend trying them out as their prices are very cheap and you usually get free shipping to anywhere in Australia. I have recently signed up with them as an affiliate so I will get 10% of anything you buy there if you go there from the links on my site.
The prices are current as of when I have last updated this page, so they may possibly change when you click on the links. There are tables in the back, and other sections throughout the book that contain a lot of really useful information, like what wattle seeds you can eat, and so on.
It lives up to its name, Pocket Bushtucker, being the smallest field guide that I have, and very easy to carry around. This has less pages than the first volume (only 304) but the topics sound really interesting. There is a new edition of it in a larger format (pictured), that you can find in some bookstores (a lot of places in the Blue Mountains sell it). It provides identification of over 1000 of the most common species, encompassing a high proportion of those most likely to be seen in the field.
They are found throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern Europe. The woods, meadows, seashore, and even city neighborhoods are home to an abundance of delicious wild edible plants. This new edition features more than 70 plants found all around the United States along with more than 100 full-color photos plus handy leaf, fruit, and seed keys to help the readers identify the plants. Organized by plant families, this book is an authoritative guide for nature lovers, outdoors enthusiasts, and gastronomes.
Author John Kallas gives you unprecedented details, maps, simple explanations, and multiple close-up photographs of every plant covered at every important stage of growth. Selections on changes in food customs introduce contemporary essays and photographs by Native Californians. It describes how indigenous peoples of this region used and cared for over 300 different species of plants, from the lofty red cedar to diminutive plants of backwater bogs. 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. If you want to read one all the way through, this would be a good choice since there is less to read than most of the other books, and it gives you a good overview.
The newer edition is rather expensive, about $60 new (update - it seems to be cheaper now), and has some colour plates, where the original edition was only black and white and only cost about $20 or $25 new. I got this book from Macquarie Uni when I was studying BIOL 350: Aboriginal Impact on Australian Ecosystems with Dr Jim Kohen. This is a good and detailed book about the construction of Aboriginal string bags, nets, and cordage (how surprising). I asked the author Robert Wolff if he knew of a book like Original Wisdom, but set in Australia, and this is what he told me to get. Giving details of 64 of Australia's most venomous creatures, with full colour photographs, maps; this work shows their habitats, diagrams to help with identification and first aid procedures.
An excellent book covering the types of plants that you are likely to find growing in your garden, not so much the native ones that you will find in the bush. It doesn't have the nasty vinyl chloride smell of the Menkhorst and Knight book, it just smells like a normal book.

I had my eye on it for years and then recently I was lucky enough to find a 2nd edition one for sale for $30 at a library, presumably because they had updated to the 3rd edition. I have the 6th edition, the current one is the 8th and there is an updated version of the 8th edition (I'm not sure why they haven't called this the 9th edition).
Learn how to find spicy peppergrass seedpods in a sunny meadow to replace store-bought peppercorns. It also includes fascinating folklore about plants, personal anecdotes about trips and meals, and simple and tasty recipes. This guide also includes: Species ranging from herbs to trees, Forager notes and expert advice on identifying, preparing, freezing, drying, storing, and cooking wild edibles, Tools, techniques, and foraging etiquette, as well as recipes to prepare at home or on the trail. An introduction by Hearst Museum anthropologist Ira Jacknis focuses on cooking and eating, a subject neglected by scholars. As I get around to it I will add links to more nature and survival books available from there.
There are 16 pages (large A4 pages, with small writing) devoted to edible weeds, including colour photos of many of the weeds. It is written in a scientific style, more like a scientific paper than a how-to book, it contains a lot of useful information. This was out of print for ages, but last time I looked there were some secondhand copies of it on Amazon.
The binding is styled by Oxford University Press and has the same look and feel (and smell) as the Menkhorst and Knight and Barbara Triggs field guides to Mammals. Note that it is extremely dangerous to eat fungi if there is any doubt whatsoever that you have an edible species.
However I find the pictures a bit dull looking for my taste — the birds all kind of look the same to me, making it harder to remember them in my mind. You can gather delicious cattail shoots for a spring salad and even tame some weedy, pungent garlic mustard in your next stir-fry.
It should be noted thatover half of these plants can be found around the country and on the east coast. Apart from edible weeds it also covers a few bush tucker (native) food plants, survival kits, storing food, permaculture, sprouting, herbs, and more.
It contains multiple colour photographs and scale line drawings for each plant including fruit, seed, form and habitat.
The level is kind of halfway between a coffee table book and a scientific book, so there is lots of information but it's not too dry to pick up and read. It is a unique book (as far as I know), a traveller's guide to the remote areas of Australia and also a listing of Indigenous-related sites and places that you can visit all over Australia. It was a large, expensive (well over $100 new) hardcover book that you will probably pay at least $200 for secondhand now.
The only thing I don't like about this book is the strong smell, that is probably vinyl chloride or something like that, which is a carcinogen. A passionate wild foods expert, Leda Meredith emphasizes local varieties and traditions, showing you what to look for, when and where to look, and how to gather in a responsible way. Her Course on DVD (PAL format, $35.00 AUD) looks like it would also be excellent, though I have not seen it yet. Northeast Foraging provides a season guide for foraging year-round, detailed information for safe indentification, collecting tips for sustainable harvesting, ideas for preperation and use, and covers New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Deleware, Rhode Island, Ontario, and Quebec. Contains a lot of species (over 1370) and an excellent key to identification in the front of the book.

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