This web site is for educational purposes only. We suggest if you choose to eat or use any edible, herb or mushroom on this site that you first consult an expert in this area such as an herbalist, botanist or a mycologist.
All photography on this site is copyrighted. Our site photographer is Sarah Warmker Photography. The rest of the pictures here were provided by members of Oklahoma Wildcrafting.
This is a good pot green as well as good raw in a salad. It requires little cooking and I usually add this last to a pot of mixed greens or it disappears. Makes great pesto.
Description: One good observation to ID this plant is to look at it's stem. It is reddish in color. They are smooth to the touch. The leaves are alternate and you will find the leaves at the end of the stems and the stem joints. It will have a small yellow flower you may never see as you will have to be there when they are open and that is not for very long. They have very tiny seed pods and you must look closely to see them.
Henbit looks like the Purple Dead Nettle so I will be adding both here as they are both edible. Both are used in salads and as a pot green.
Description: Henbit has purple to pink flowers. The leaves are not as numerous as the Purple Dead Nettle. It has a hairy stem that you can feel before you see it. You can find Henbit growing all year in Oklahoma.
Description: Purple Dead Nettle here in Oklahoma grows in patches, you may see it as a blanket of purple as you walk up on it. The top leaves as well as the flower may be purple. The leaves though alternate many times appear to be round. The stems are hairy and it can be felt before you can see it.
What you see to the left in my fingers is yellow wood sorrel. We will start with a caution for those with kidney problems. Wood Sorrel contains oxalic acid which can be harmful to those with kidney problems. There are many species of Sorrel.
You can eat Wood sorrel raw in salads, dry it and use it as tea and the best is having Chef Lisa make a dessert from it. I have heard of it being used for lemon flavoring as well as a substitute for vinager..
Description: I hear often, you mean clover? Clover has oval leaves unlike sorrel. Common wood sorrel has a small yellow flower and grows close to the ground. Many times the large wood sorrel here will appear to have a purple tint to the leaves and grow larger than the common wood sorrel. It has compound heart shape leaves.
Amaranth is a highly nutritious plant. This plant was widely used by many Native Americans in Oklahoma as well as those who came here for the land run. Strict attention needs to be observed when foraging this plant in Oklahoma. This plant will upload nitrogen from the soil. Do not forage near cultivated fields where there has been use of nitrogen fertilizer. Also use caution if you have any kidney problems as this plant contains oxalic acid. Over consumption is not advised. This is a drought tolerant plant.
Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri)
The seeds and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds can also be sprouted and use in salads and so forth
This amaranth can grow up to six feet in the right conditions. Its taproot is often reddish and the leaves do not have hair The leaves have prominent white veins on the underside of the leaves and range from 2-8 inches long. The very top of the adult plant contains panicles 6-18 inches in length of small, green dense flowers.
Redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus)
The leaves and seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds can also be sprouted and use in salads and so forth.
Red root can grow up to 3 m. The leaves can be up to 15 cm long, the upper leaves are lance shape and those lower on the plant are oval. The inflorescence is a large, dense cluster of flowers interspersed with spiny green bracts. The fruit is a capsule less than 2 mm long that can be opened here you will find a tiny black seed.
You can forage dock in Oklahoma all year long, in every season. The leaves can be eaten raw but like sorrel you will find a high level of oxalic acid. I feel it is best to cook the leaves to remove this acid. Our Chef's have made a delicious soup from the leaves. The seeds can be used in muffins and cookies as well as ground into flour.
The pictures show some excellent dock, however in the wild you may find it with some brown spots due to heat in the late summer. It is fine to use, just remove these areas. It is best to eat it young.
Description: Curly Dock as you see to the left has curled edges. The dock stalks that hold the seeds can grow over 2 ft high.
This is my favorite green. From salad to pesto and as a pot green you can't beat it. The seeds can be cooked as a grain and you can ground them for flour. It is best cooked young for a pot green. I use the leaves and stems when young. The older plant I use just the leaves. I find this plant from early spring until late summer and now into fall.
Description: The leaves are alternate. The first leaves, near the base of the plant, are toothed and diamond-shaped. The leaves higher on the plant are lance shaped. Much of the plant appears to have a white waxy coating.
Here in Oklahoma, the types of Allium in the wild are diverse. You can give a ID to some of it, however many wild onions and garlic have cross pollinated. Some are a mixture of wild and introduced species. In my area, I have one leek that smells and tastes like garlic. I am often asked how to know if it is garlic or onions and my answer is smell. If you do not have a good sense of smell, stay clear of Allium. There are some plants that can be misidentified, however they do not smell like onions or garlic.
This native plant eaten each spring is a favorite. From pot green to pickles it is a southern tradition. Care needs to be taken when fixing this for the table. It is recommended to bring it to a boil for five minutes, change the water and bring it to a boil for three minutes. Some repeat this for a third time. It is best picked when young. I like it when it reaches about 6 inches in height and I use the whole plant, much like asparagus. After six inches you will do best just picking the young leaves. When the stalk starts turning real red or it starts to form flowers, I don't eat it. Never eat the berries or roots or older stalks.
Description: The leaves are oval in shape and alternate. The larger they get the more leathery they appear. The stalks start out green and will begin to turn red in color as the plant gets older. The flowers are small and white, turning into green berries that turn a very dark red, almost black. This plant can grow to well over 6ft. in Oklahoma.
This is one plant where touch says a lot, it will cling to your clothes and stick to you. It can be used as a pot green, dried for tea and the small nuts later in the summer can be used for a coffee substitute. My grandmother would gather this each spring as a spring tonic. Little did she know the high vitamin C this plant contains.
Description: This plant trails low across the ground. I have found whole hill sides covered with it. The leaves are long and slender with about 8 or so coming out around the stalk in one place. The flowers are white and very tiny, running along the plant in small groups. The seeds or small nuts are brown and sticky and will cling to your clothes.
Chickweed is my favorite for juicing and is great in salads. I do add it to a pot of greens. I use it flowers and all except the roots. I find this growing here in Oklahoma all year long. This plant has saponins and eaten in excess could make you ill.
Description: There are many plants called by the common name chickweed. Stellaria Media stands out from a couple of look a likes by the fine hairs that only grow on one side of the stem. This is a very small plant that will grow in clusters across the ground. the leaves are oval and numerous trailing along the ground.
This cane is native to Oklahoma. It was used by many Native American tribes for baskets, flutes and blow guns. In spring the small cane about 6 inches can be eaten much like asparagus. The seed heads can be used for flour and cereal.
Caution: Ergot (Claviceps spp.) on the seeds of this plant should be considered and looked for. Ergot-infected plants will have pink or purplish blotches. Some will grow the size of the seed. Ergot is very toxic and can kill you. You also see ergot on some wild clover here in Oklahoma.
Depending on your location you may find one of the spiderworts growing where you live in Oklahoma. The first set of pictures to your left are Prairie Spiderwort (Tradescantia occidenta) , the second set of pictures Ozark Spiderwort (Tradescantia ozaekanal) and the third and last set Ohio Spiderwort (Taadescantia ohiensis.
In my area in North Central Oklahoma, I find Prairie Spiderwort. These three species of spiderwort are edible. The entire plant stem, leaves and flowers may be sauted or used as a pot green. The flowers may be added uncooked to a salad.
There are two more species of spiderwort that grow in our state, Tharp Spiderwort (Tradescantia tharpii) and White Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis), which are also edible. The three I have showcased are the most widely found.
When young this plants leves and stems can be added to your wild salad. Blooms and all can be added to a pot of herbs or soup.
Found growing in many lawns here in Oklahoma. The leaves are excellent for a salad. You can find it growing almost all year long, except for Dec. to March.