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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Edible & Medicinal Plants of West
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$17.19+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on January 31, 2017
Overview: though simply listed as "the West" this book is specifically focused on the northern West, Rocky mountains and Mid West, from Alaska down to Northern California and east to the Great Lakes. This is not the author's fault, he makes that clear on the back of the book, but Amazon doesn't show an image of the back cover. The book is organized alphabetically by common name. The pictures are a good size, and there are a fair number of them. The printing, paper and binding are all good quality, and should last a long time.

I was very disappointed in this book. I'm a fairly experienced forager from the northeast, but I recently moved across country and wanted to learn about some plants new to me. I started with the plants that I know, so I could get a feel for how accurate the writer's content was going to be. I found that his facts and level of research seem very mixed. Some entries are excellent, and some are very poor. This leads me to believe that he may not be personally foraging many of these plants, rather cutting and pasting the information from other sources.

One thing that deeply concerns me is that there are SOME sections for "look-a-like" plants, on SOME entries. This may make a beginner or novice think that there are no look a likes where he doesn't mention them, except that there are. In other sections, he references look-a-likes, but not enough of them. For example, for chickweed, he mentions Cerastium as a look a like, which is edible. But he neglects to mention scarlet pimpernel, which is also a look-a-like and poisonous. Yet again, some of his other entries are very good and comprehensive.

Anther example is burdock, which has an edible root eaten BEFORE the seeds form. Tilford mentions that it looks kind of like poisonous cocklebur, but says you can tell them apart by the shape of the seeds. This is dangerous for ID as you will be gathering the root before you can check the seed shape for ID. He SHOULD have talked about the leaf shape, which is very different and you can use the leaves to tell the plants apart before they go to seed.

Also annoying, his "medicinal" uses for plants are often presented with out references, or context. It seems almost as though he has scraped the web for every mentioned use of any plant and thrown it in there. This results on most every plant being good for most every thing.

He also leaves out any plant that may be controversial, even if it's an important wild edible. Wild carrot, aka queen anne's lace, is an important wild edible with medicinal properties (if used correctly), yet it's completely neglected. Probably because it can be confused with hemlock, yet other foraging guides still describe it, and take the time to show you how to confirm your ID. Tilford just omits it.

On the plus side, there are a lot of plants covered here. There are a fair number of pictures, and they are of fair size. This is a good book for piquing your interest in wild plants, and providing an introduction. But for positive identification before you use anything in this book, I suggest you confirm everything with other, more reliable, sources.

I also like his poisonous and advanced medicine section. With very few discrepancies, I think that this points out many of the most dangerous plants.
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on April 5, 2012
This book is really well done. It gives really good pictures and descriptions to help identify edible plants. Most other books I have seen do not give good enough of descriptions to be willing to bet my health on the plant being edible. In most cases the pictures in this book are high enough quality to settle the issue. If there are similar appearing poisonous plants it does a good job describing them.

Unfortunately I did not see several of my favorite plants in Southern California. The wild radishes, yellow sorrel, and purslane which are so common here are absent from the book. Also absent is one of the more common plants for people to poison themselves on, oleander. Still, the book can't list all plants and most of the choices of what to include seem fairly well thought out.
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on June 30, 2013
Another of my must have books. When surviving by living off the wilderness you need to know what you can and cannot eat. Most aboriginal peoples ate what they could harvest, and actually ate much less meat than we do today. This book helps you identify the edibles that we walk over every day because we are blind to them. Learn to fend for yourself, and when there is no salad at the store you can still have a nice salad from wild sources. High nutrients and low fat is the solution to starving in the wild. Get this book and stay alive.
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on February 23, 2016
Best field guide I've ever used. Tilford doesn't just give the typical explanations, he also gives subjective, personal observations that help him confidently identify in the field (like, textures, smells, unique characteristics, etc). The pictures and historical background are great too. I quickly added 10 new plants to my wildcrafting habits, and continue to add more with the help of this book!
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on April 29, 2013
very clear pictures with good descriptions. reasonably small size so that you can take it into the field. all the information you would want to identify a plant in the field.

i only wish that they had a smal list in it that had the names of the all the plants you would encounter in a particular area compiled as a list. it would have been helpful for a novice like me when i am walking thru an open field for example, so that i would know whch plants to be keeping an eye out for.
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on October 25, 2016
This is one of the best books I have read on the subject. Very clear descriptions and wonderful photos. This book will definitely be coming with me on my next camping trip.
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on February 19, 2016
Very easy to use so that I have felt comfortable eating wild plants. The color photos are great at positive identification of plant and avoiding toxic lookalikes.
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on November 11, 2016
Good book with picture of the plants to help ID them, nice size to fit okay in pack for outtings.
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on August 21, 2012
This book is replacing another that I had in my backcountry bag. Pictures are with the plant descriptions, the descriptions are practical, and it is organized alphabetically.
Lots of good info, as well.
In terms of Western N America, this is the best that I have found.
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on December 23, 2016
best field guide for foraging the pacific northwest
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