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Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places Paperback – May 20, 1994


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Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places + The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants + A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Series: And Not So Wild Places
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 edition (May 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688114253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688114251
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Naturalist-Author "Wildman" Steve Brill has been leading public foraging tours in parks throughout the greater New York area since 1982. He works with schools, day camps, environmental organizations, museums, parks departments, nature centers, scouts, garden clubs, and educational farms, from March to December.

His Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not-So-Wild) Places (HarperCollins Publishers, 1994) is considered a classic on the subject.His innovative Wild Vegan Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, 2002) is changing the way people think of preparing gourmet food. His Shoots and Greens of Early Spring in Northeastern North America (self-published, 1986 and 2008) teaches people how the foraging season begins, and his Foraging With the Wildman DVD series, along with the website he created, is showing people how it's all done. But he's still best known for having been handcuffed and arrested by undercover New York City park rangers for eating a dandelion in Central Park!


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Customer Reviews

Very Interesting and Informative!
"johansyd"
The plant drawings are fantastic and much easier to use than color photos.
Tanya
Waiting for Spring so i can put it to good use.
andra hough

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

255 of 264 people found the following review helpful By DigitalSorceress on October 16, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the whole, this book is interesting and informative, but I was slightly disappointed with the logical layout. The information in the book is fairly detailed and interesting, but is presented in a narrative manner. The book takes a season/habitat based approach... I guess I was expecting a more trait-based heirarchical listing system. Something that would facilitate taking an unknown plant and quickly looking up the answers to "what is it? is it edible? is it medicinal? if so, what are the details"
The approach also tends to give details on a few interesting / especially good flavored or nutricious plants and then gives a names-only grocery list of "Edible and medicinal plants" and then one of "For Observation only"
So, in summary, if you know a bit about general plant identification and your focus is on what's available for the season and habitat, this book is a valuable resource, but if you're looking for a field identification and classification tool, this is probably not the best choice.
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153 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Charles Garcia on June 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a professional herbalist and herbal teacher I have over two hundred herbals and field guides at my disposal. Steve "Wildman" Brill leads the field in combining an herbal and edible plant field guide, which is readable, comprehensive, and most important ACCURATE. His final chapter of recipes will make most readers want to head into the backcountry just to find the proper edibles. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for the beginner or the professional herbalist.
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Damosurfer on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although a little on the introductory side, I really enjoyed this book. I am a researcher in botany areas and I can say that the author does a great job at describing and aiding to identify and separate useful plants from obnoxious look-alikes. Somebody here suggested that the book could be organized in some hierarchical form. That is equivalent of a botanical taxonomy key. It would be great but there are keys for the purpose of organizing the info and helping to pick plants apart. I don't think it is essential here.

Somebody else said that the pretty drawings are only on the cover... is there a more literal analog of "judging the book by its cover"? While the drawings inside are black and white they serve the purpose. They are very well drawn and they are useful in identifying the plant in question. Tha author is also very conscientious and will not hesitate to say he doesn't know something and advices caution when pertinent. Excellent job.

The bottom line: it is very interesting, well organized and it sparks your curiosity. And if you wish to have a deeper treaty on any particular topic or plant you can always refer to a more specialized publication. $15? You can't go wrong.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I bought it about four years ago and it inspired an interest in plants that has led me to pursue a bachelors in botany. It is an incredibly informative resource about plants but it also contains enough of the author's personal experiences and pearls of wisdom to make it a lovely book to curl up with. Maybe I have an odd sense of humor but this book elicits a chuckle every time I open it. The pictures are black and white line drawings but they are very detailed, much more helpful than the often out of focus color photos in a lot of other plant id books. Plant identification requires patience and attention to detail and this book provides the details needed for accuracy. It is important to keep in mind that if you are identifying plants in order to harvest them you should always always always check more than one reference before eating them. This book is not only worth the cost, it is the best edible wild plant resource available.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By M. Fulton on January 11, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book on edible plants I have yet encountered, and I own 7. The information is really carefully researched, both by library work and extensive personal experience; lots of books propagate the errors of other references, or ignore documented risks. I'm personally a bit reserved about medicinal uses of plants (not because plant medicines are ineffective, but because they can be quite powerful) but Brill has me at least more intrigued than I have been for a while. The writing is engaging and often humorous, without obscuring a thorough coverage of each plant - where and when it is found, what parts to use and how to collect them, and finally how to prepare for eating. While I'm at it, I'll cast my vote in favor of the excellent drawings instead of photos; colors are a lot less helpful for plant identification than many people realize.

In addition to all of these merits the book teaches what I think is the ideal attitude for foraging, both directly by exposition and indirectly through organization. The attitude may be summarized as thoughtful involvement, with both the plants and the places they grow. I've seen reviews of plant foraging books that are written as though the reviewer wishes to wander outside, grab a plant, look it up to see if it is edible, eat it or not, and then go on to something else. This is a recipe for a couple kinds of trouble. First, it is risky to collect plants without taking the time to learn about them; you can't just dive in and start eating stuff without learning both the plants you want to eat and something about the plants you don't want to eat. Spend some time with a plant guide or two just learning your way around plant in general. Second, careless harvesting can damage the plant populations and the plant habitats. Slow down a bit, let the caffeine wear off, and think about what you're doing. It makes a nice change. This book is a great guide.
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