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 and they are also copyrighted by the member.
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.
Golden Currant /Buffalo Currant/Spice Currant
(Ribes aureum Pursh var. aureum)
The sweet flavor of these currants are used for making jam, jelly and pie. Dried they are great for snacks and muffins. Used by many Native American tribes in Oklahoma for making pemmican. They are found throughout Oklahoma along the sides of back roads and at many old homesteads. The spice odor from the flowers in the spring leaves no doubt what currant bush you have found. I have allowed some who walk with me to transplant these bushes into their home landscape in order to save them from the road graders that maintain our rural dirt roads. They seem to do pretty well when transplanted.
This native shrub grows up to about 5ft tall here. The leaves have 3 to 5 globes that make it a easy to identify leaf. The flowers you see to the left smell like cloves. If you look close you can see a few red petals in those flowers. If you have seen gooseberry leaves they are similar. The fruit goes from a yellow to red then when ripe almost black.
(Diospyros virginiana L.)
(Diospyros texana Scheele)
You will want to wait for the first frost to forage this fruit. You will never forget the taste and your mouth puckering to unripe fruit! I have been asked how to know when it is ripe. When they fall from the tree and look past the ripe stage is just when they are perfect. They can be used for pudding, jam and wine.
Description: These trees often grow in clusters and are shrubby. They can grow to 100 ft tall here in Oklahoma with a spreading crown and pendulous branches. Bell-shaped, yellow flowers. The trunk of this tree looks like square blocks. You can often see them in late fall with no leaves and just the fruit.
Graybark ( Vitis cinerea (Engelm.)
Maple Leaf (Vitis acerifolia)
Muscadine (Vitis acerifolia Mix)
Pigeon (Vitis aestivalis Michx.)
River Bank (Vitis riparia Michx.)
Sand (Vitis rupestris Scheele)
Fox (Vitis vulpina L.)
I have added a picture that compares porcelain berries to grapes. Both grow here in Oklahoma. I always recommend that you start out with an experienced forager so you can be shown the difference. Porcelain berries will make you deathly ill, they are pictured below. False Grape will also make you very ill and it is pictured below. Grapes here in Oklahoma cover the state. We have many edible varieties. From wine to jelly to grape juice along with our Native American grape dumplings, wild grapes have been a main foraging food in Oklahoma. Because we have such a variety of grapes in Oklahoma, I will leave the description of each for the book.
To the left I am holding grapes and porcelain (Ampelopsis_brevipedunculata) berries to the right.
To the left you will see False Grape ( Ampelopsis cordata)
Sand plums can be found along Oklahoma's back roads. They have been a fruit of choice for many in this state. They are prized for the jelly and syrup.
Description: They can be found fruiting on bushes as small as 2ft. tall as well as some I have found close to 15ft. tall. They are covered with five petal white flowers. The fruit can range in size according to the plant and growing conditions.
I am asked how to tell the difference between Dewberries and Blackberries. Dewberries grow trailing along the ground where blackberries grow in large tangled mounds. Dewberries are the first to ripen followed by blackberries. Blackberries usually have twice the fruit that a dewberry does. What can we say, jam, jelly , wine and syrup, along with cobbler are some of my favorites.
Description: All wild dewberries and blackberries have thorns. The blackberry thorns as well as the vine is larger than the dewberry. Both berries turn purple/black when ripe. The leaves of both are similar, leaves with three or five leaflets. The flowers are white with 5 petals.
I find many Mulberry trees on old homesteads. The preferred way to pick these berries is to spread an old sheet below the tree and shake the limbs. The ripe berries fall freely. You then can gather the berries. Jam jelly and wine are a good choice for these berries. They remind me of blackberries in shape. The mulberries come in degrees of color according to ripeness, from white to dark purple.. You know when they are ripe as they are soft.
Description: The leaves are oval and toothed. I have found trees over 50 ft tall here in Oklahoma. The flowers are really not what one would expect. You can see them in the small pic to your left.
(Physalis viscosa L.)
(Physalis acutifolia (Miers) Sandw.)
(Physalis angulata L.)
(Physalis cinerascens (Dunal) Hitchc.)
(Physalis hispida (Waterf.) Cronquist)
Ground Cherries abound here in Oklahoma, with fruits of yellow to orange and purple. This plant is not to be mistaken with nightshade who has no husk and is not edible. See our page on plants that could be mistaken as edible! It is advised to have a 100% ID on these fruits before you think about using them. They are great dried, used in Jam and Jellies and as a spice.
Description: The description for this plant is wide and varied due to the number of varieties that grow. Most of those who grow here in Oklahoma do not grow more than a foot or two in height. Leaf shape is varied though the different species. All fruit are encapsulated in a papery lantern.
You do not have to walk far into Oklahoma's hard wood forests to find the Hackberry tree. Hack berries make a great snack along the trail. Native Americans in Oklahoma used this berry to make porridge and also mixed with wild meat dishes as a spice. They can be dried and ground as a flour. This is one foraged food that can be found throughout the winter months.
Description: The Hackberry tree can grow up to 50 feet tall. The bark is key to identification as it has large bumps and scales in a silvery color. They are prized in this state for firewood.
When the tunas are ripe they will be from a dark dull red color to almost a red brown color. The ones cared for in a garden are beautiful, in the wild they will look a little different according to growing conditions. They make great jelly as well as candy. Care needs to be taken when foraging these tunas to keep the very small hair like spines out of your hands. The fruit as well as the pads are edible. You can find information on the pads in the other page. I have added the flowers of the different types of Prickly Pear to the left for ID.
Description: The pads are flat and rounded with many spines in small clusters. The tunas (fruit) is shaped much like a fig and reminds me of them in ways. They grow at the top of the pads and are red in color when ripe.
You will notice there is no Latin name for the genus. According to OSU the wild peach trees we find growing along the back roads and field of Oklahoma are escaped peaches who have adapted to living wild. They are small and the pits are large, however they have a different taste when compared to those in orchards. They will require a little more sugar than those grown commercially. Good for jelly , pies and about anything you would use peaches for. You can spot them in the spring as they have pink flowers. They are some of the first fruit trees to bloom in the spring.
Description: Leaves are narrow and lanced shape with small toothing on the edges. I find them in the wild and they usually are a small tree up to about 20 ft. tall. The spring is when it is easiest to identify them by their pink blooms. The fruit is small than commercial peaches, with less flesh and a tougher skin.
I make jelly and wine with these wild plums. A good time to ID this tree is in the spring as when they are flowering you can't miss them. If you wait until the fruit is ripe they can eaisly be missed as the fruit is so small. Many of Oklahoma Native Americans used this fruit.
Description:The tree is wide at the crown. The branches have thorns and can be seen protruding from the branches up to about a inch and a half long. When young it looks like a bush to me. The leaves are oval and alternate. You can see the five petal flower to the left. The fruit which you can see to the left is small.
This plant and fruit seems to crowd the fence lines along Oklahoma's back roads. The drought of 2012 took toll on it's growth and development, more so than other plants. The fruit can be used for jelly, wine, deserts and a great mock honey.
Description: The stems are mostly smooth and very long trailing along the ground or climbing fences. The leaves are alternate and 3-lobed and about 3 to 5 inches long. Flowers have five white petals. They have a purple corona, however I have found them white a couple of times. They are found between the petals and stamens. The flower is in a ring above the petals and sepals. You will find young fruit and flowers together on the vines and they are long fruiting.
The fruit is filled with many seeds in a gelatinous substance. They look somewhat like green eggs hanging on the vine. They will turn a creamy yellow color from green when ripe. These two dried fruits were found in December full of dried seeds which I will plant in my garden.
This tree grows along the Eastern edge of Oklahoma, north to South. I have only seen this once in the wild on a trip to SE Oklahoma. The fruit is creamy and many times they are called custard apples. They are used much like bananas.
Description: I am going to start with the huge leaves of the Paw Paw tree. They are easy to see among the growth in forests. The leaves are alternate and about ten inches long.
In the fall they turn a yellow color and this also makes these trees easy to find.
You can see the green color of the fruit to the left. It has those dark spots. When ripe it turns a more yellowish color. The seed inside the fruit is large and brown running down the length of the fruit. The flower and it's color make this tree stand out also.
This tree is sometimes called a Juneberry. Often used by the Creek. It is good for jam, jelly and wine. Those in the Tulsa area and south find this native tree. It has been planted in many other areas of Oklahoma.
Description: This tree can grow to over thirty feet tall in Oklahoma. It has oval leaves that are toothed. The bloom is what stands out to me, five petals that are long and wispy. The green berries will turn a dark purplish color when ripe.