- Use promo code GIFTBOOK18 to save $5.00 when you spend $20.00 or more on Books shipped and sold by Amazon.com. Enter code GIFTBOOK18 at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants Paperback – April 1, 2014
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
“If you’re lost in the woods, the book could save your life; if you’re interested in plant life and botany, the book is fascinating reading.” —Booklist
“Unlike so many books on herbs and wild foods that simply repeat information the author read elsewhere, this guide is thoroughly tested and full of firsthand experience. It’s also packed with the kind of information that makes identifying food plants fun.” —Los Angeles Times
“I would not want to depend on feeding myself without this excellent book as a guide.” —GreenConduct
“Well written and easily understood, this title will make a great addition where outdoor activities are popular.” —Library Journal
“Pick it up and you will be off on a wild currant and gooseberry chase, amazing your friends with the knowledge that gooseberries have thorns while currants do not, that both make good trail snacks and that currant shoots make ideal arrow shafts...There is something supremely life-affirming about reading this book. It makes you want to give the heave-ho to the petty, pointless consumerism that so infects us. Its straightforward prose is an antidote to irony and political cant.” —Pasadena Star News
“Nyerges’ book was originally intended as a survival guide. But it offers more than that. By identifying plants that may have no name, place or purpose in today’s society and revealing a world of history, uses and lore, the book wisely and matter-of-factly encourages a deeper relationship with nature. The message is also empowering.” —Civil Eats
“Thoughtfully written and thoroughly tested, Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants is the most authoritative and comprehensive book on foraging for nature’s provisions and preserving our ancient relationship with the Earth itself.” —Backwoodsman Magazine
About the Author
Christopher Nyerges is the director of the School of Self-Reliance, where he has taught classes on wild foods and survival skills since 1974. He is an associate editor of Wilderness Way and West Coast editor of Wild Food Forum. He has published hundreds of articles on wild foods, gardening, self-reliance, and survival skills in American Survival Guide, Whole Life Times, Mother Earth News, Herbalist, and many other magazines.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-8 of 17 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Prior to any of the chapters on specific plant species, there is a very useful "Pictoral Key to Leaf Shapes" followed by a "Pictoral Key to Fruits and Seeds". These contain drawings of shapes and list the names of plants associated with those shapes. This helps the user to locate the chapter(s) to find more detailed information. I especially liked this.
The plant chapters are in alphabetical order by the author's preferred choice of common names.
It covers 66 non-poisonous plants and 5 poisonous plants. Each chapter fairly consistently contains the following section & subsection headers (parentheses mean that it is present only when applicable):
1. Most Prominent Characteristics
o Overall Shape snd Size
o Stalks and Stems
2. Beneficial Properties
o Edible Properties
o Medicinal Uses
o Other Uses -- (I especially liked this part)
3. Detrimental Properties
4. Where Found
5. Growing Cycle
6. (Lore and Signature)
When no information is known, that section will contain, "We'd appreciate authenticated reports from readers."
There is at least 1 photo for every plant chapter. Chapters having multiple photos were few and often did not take advantage of an opportunity to provide a close-up to emphasize a point being brought up in the text. Some of the plant photos also include a person standing or crouching next to the plant. This helps to give a size context to the overall plant (this is goodness), but when it is the only photo then 3/4 of the photo is of a person and maybe just 10% is the plant, so not much detail of the plant's leaves, flowers, or other parts are discernible to the reader.
In the majority of the cases, there is not a useful close-up photo of a part that could be helpful for identification. In some cases, the selected photo seems to contradict the text that describes a part of the plant, so one is left wondering if the text was wrong, if the photo was of the wrong plant, or if the photo just wasn't showing what the text was describing. For example the text may talk about the teeth along the leaf margins, but teeth aren't visible in the photo. Additional close-up photos would have been useful.
There are plenty of places where it's clear that the author is writing from personal experience. Yet there are also plenty of places where it reads as if he's copying the information from some other technical source. His choice of words in describing the plant is a case in point.
Although there is a useful glossary in the back of the book, the author frequently uses terms that are uncommon to the ordinary reader for which an everyday term could have been used instead. I found it annoying having to flip back and forth between the main sections and the glossary. Towards the end of the book, the author started adding the common terms in parentheses after first using the technical term, increasing the verbiage unnecessarily when the common term would have sufficed. (Why use "glabrous" instead of "hairless", "pubescent" instead of "hairy", "incised" instead of toothed", or "entire" instead of "toothless" ?) It made me wonder if he was writing the book to score points with botanists rather than for the common person.
In the "Medicinal Uses" sections, there were occasionally no entries for technical terms in the glossary. A book's value in a backpack is considerably reduced when technical terms are used without giving their definitions. I hope the next printing will include glossary entries for anodyne, catarrh, depurative, hepatic, lignin, narcosis, pectin, and piles.
I was amused when the "Edible Properties" subsection under the "Beneficial Properties" section for poisonous plants like Jimsonweed and Poison Hemlock contained the word "Poisonous!" in red letters. But then the author continued with a long paragraph or more of text about its detrimental qualities -- these are not "Beneficial Properties". Why not just say, "Poisonous! Do not eat. See Detrimental Properties for further details." ?
I disagree with the author's comment on page 136 that "All parts of the milkweed must be boiled in water (usually at least twice with a rinsing between boilings) before they are rendered palatable." I've eaten milkweed's raw flower buds and the tender raw top 2 or 4 leaves and found them delicious without the slightest trace of bitterness.