Above: Puff balls and wild ginger. Below: Wild morels and Fiddleheads
A taste of Ontario’s natural edible eats: elderberries, puffballs, juniper berries, maple syrup, fiddleheads, chokecherries, wild morels, cattails, honey, ox-eye daisies, wild leeks, wild ginger, mayapple fruit, Queen Anne’s Lace, stinging nettles and wild ginger.
Tips for Happy Foraging
1. Do not over-pick wild plants. As a rule, take no more than one in 20.
2. Never pick rare species like the White fringed orchid, Ram’s-Head Lady’s-Slipper or White Trout Lily.
3. Don’t eat any plant you can’t positively identify.
4. Learn to recognize common poisonous plants.
5. Don’t assume that plants related to an edible plant are edible.
6. Realize that some plant parts are edible while others are toxic,e.g., only the fruit of the mayapple is edible.
7. Do not expect wild edibles to substitute for common foods. Judge the taste on its own merits.
8. Pick in the appropriate season, e.g., milkweed and wild rhubarb are edible in the spring, but not later.
9. Some plants, like marsh marigolds, are only edible if cooked.
Source: Stephen G. Saupe, St. John’s University biology department, Collegeville, Minnesota