98 books like The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America

By Francois Couplan,

Here are 98 books that The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America fans have personally recommended if you like The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Leda Meredith Author Of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

From my list on foraging free wild edible plants and mushrooms.

Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."

Leda's book list on foraging free wild edible plants and mushrooms

Leda Meredith Why did Leda love this book?

Like all of Sam’s books, this one is a gold mine of detailed, in-depth information about the plants he features in it. His information is beyond trustworthy: he is so familiar with his subject that it is as if he is inviting you to get to know some of his best friends (the plants). My copy is dog-eared and field-stained from all the use I have put it to.

By Samuel Thayer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Forager's Harvest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide to 32 of the best and most common edible wild plants in North America, with detailed information on how to identify them, where they are found, how and when they are harvested, which parts are used, how they are prepared, as well as their culinary use, ecology, conservation, and cultural history.


Book cover of Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate

Thomas J. Elpel Author Of Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat

From my list on gourmet wild food foraging.

Who am I?

Growing up, I spent summers and weekends with my grandmother, who introduced me to wild food foraging. Grandma Josie and I harvested purslane and lambs quarters weeds from her garden, dandelions and meadow mushrooms from the pasture, and watercress from a nearby spring. On daily walks we gathered peppermint, yarrow, and other wild herbs for tea. She cooked on a wood stove and kept a pot of tea warm at all times. Grandma nurtured my interest in wild plants, wilderness survival, and self-sufficiency. Inspired by her, I built my own stone and log house, teach survival skills and botany, and I still cook on a wood stove just like she did. 

Thomas' book list on gourmet wild food foraging

Thomas J. Elpel Why did Thomas love this book?

John Kallas has rebranded foraging from 'alternative roughage' to 'five-star dining.' No other wild foods book has this kind of in-depth text, mouth-watering recipes, or eye-popping pictures of culinary delights, such as wild spinach pizza, pickled purslane, and homemade marshmallows.


Edible Wild Plants is rich with photographs, giving the reader the tools to be successful early and often at identifying, gathering, and dining on these plants. Based on the experiences of John Kallas, a lifelong, full-time wild food researcher, teacher, and author, it catapults a novice into many early triumphs, provides plenty of new useful and practical information for the seasoned professional, and offers naturalists a resource from which to teach wild food concepts. In no time, readers go beyond just tasting to incorporating these foods into regular meals.

By John Kallas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Edible Wild Plants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Wild spinach about 7 feet tall and fully mature. Well-fed wild spinach is well-branched and produces a huge quantity of seeds when mature. The leaves are still edible at this stage but are reduced in quality, taking on a somewhat off-flavor. According to research on other mature plants, the leaves on these older plants retain most of their nutrients and phytochemicals as long as they are still green."

Imagine what you could do with eighteen delicious new greens in your dining arsenal including purslane, chickweed, curly dock, wild spinach, sorrel, and wild mustard. John Kallas makes it fun and easy…


Book cover of The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide

Thomas J. Elpel Author Of Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat

From my list on gourmet wild food foraging.

Who am I?

Growing up, I spent summers and weekends with my grandmother, who introduced me to wild food foraging. Grandma Josie and I harvested purslane and lambs quarters weeds from her garden, dandelions and meadow mushrooms from the pasture, and watercress from a nearby spring. On daily walks we gathered peppermint, yarrow, and other wild herbs for tea. She cooked on a wood stove and kept a pot of tea warm at all times. Grandma nurtured my interest in wild plants, wilderness survival, and self-sufficiency. Inspired by her, I built my own stone and log house, teach survival skills and botany, and I still cook on a wood stove just like she did. 

Thomas' book list on gourmet wild food foraging

Thomas J. Elpel Why did Thomas love this book?

The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide is full of surprises. Author Linda Runyon lived semi-primitively without plumbing or electricity for thirteen years and foraged for the majority of her food. As a vegetarian she was truly dependent on wild edible plants for survival and sustenance. I was taught that real survival required plants rich in carbohydrates, oils, and calories, but Runyon showed that it is possible to survive and thrive by turning salad plants into real food, such as drying and grinding wild clovers and grasses into flour. There is protein in these plants, like beans and grains, and Runyon proved that you can really live off of them. One hour spent reading Runyon's book changed my view of what's edible and how to truly live off wild edible plants. 

By 9780936699103,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Author Linda Runyon lived off of the land in the wilderness of Upstate NY for years, feeding her family with wild edible plants. She has paid her dues and learned the hard way so you don't have to. With this book, you will learn how to see and use the abundance that surrounds us everywhere plants grow. You won't look at the world the same way again, and you will never fear hunger. The book is 320 jam-packed pages, profusely illustrated by the author. You will learn how to identify, gather, prepare, store and enjoy an endlessly nutritious and renewable…


Book cover of Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants

Thomas J. Elpel Author Of Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat

From my list on gourmet wild food foraging.

Who am I?

Growing up, I spent summers and weekends with my grandmother, who introduced me to wild food foraging. Grandma Josie and I harvested purslane and lambs quarters weeds from her garden, dandelions and meadow mushrooms from the pasture, and watercress from a nearby spring. On daily walks we gathered peppermint, yarrow, and other wild herbs for tea. She cooked on a wood stove and kept a pot of tea warm at all times. Grandma nurtured my interest in wild plants, wilderness survival, and self-sufficiency. Inspired by her, I built my own stone and log house, teach survival skills and botany, and I still cook on a wood stove just like she did. 

Thomas' book list on gourmet wild food foraging

Thomas J. Elpel Why did Thomas love this book?

Christopher Nyerges has been leading Wild Food Outings since 1974, and his Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants is packed full of stories and advice based on personal experiences. For example, he is one of a growing number of people who eat poison oak/poison ivy to build and maintain immunity to it. (Eating poison ivy requires caution, since an adverse reaction could cause your throat to swell shut. Read this book first!) Nyerges describes his own positive experience with eating poison oak, and he offers tips for those without immunity to treat their symptoms. Nyerges lives and teaches in Los Angeles, and the book covers the key edible and poisonous plants of the southwest. 

By Christopher Nyerges,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An array of abundant wild foods is available to hikers, campers, foragers, or anyone interested in living closer to the earth. Written by a leading expert on wild foods and a well-known teacher of survival skills, Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants is more than a listing of plant types—it teaches how to recognize edible plants and where to find them, their medicinal and nutritional properties, and their growing cycles. This new edition features more than 70 plants found all around the United States along with more than 100 full color photos plus handy leaf, fruit, and seed keys…


Book cover of Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat

Leda Meredith Author Of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

From my list on foraging free wild edible plants and mushrooms.

Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."

Leda's book list on foraging free wild edible plants and mushrooms

Leda Meredith Why did Leda love this book?

Every forager I know (myself included) doesn’t just gather truly wild plants. We also harvest neglected fallen fruits and cultivated plants that were planted as ornamentals but are also great food. In this book Ellen focuses on the latter, introducing us to the tastiness of hostas, daylilies, and many other garden plants that most people think are just eye candy.

By Ellen Zachos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Backyard Foraging as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Foraged food is surprising in its flavour, unusual texture, fresh colour and nutritional value. As more people become familiar with the idea of finding food in the woods, lakeside, or on their favorite hiking trail, they begin to notice the world around them in a new way. Now it's time to discover the many surprisingly edible plants found in backyards, lawns and parks. Foraging doesn't have to be hard or scary. Backyard Foraging brings foraging home to the neighbourhood. There's the lawn full of sheep sorrel, chickweed, dandelion and pineapple weed. Vacant lots host edibles like sumac, purslane, or Japanese…


Book cover of Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide

Mark Warren Author Of Wild Plants and Survival Lore

From my list on nature education and survival skills.

Who am I?

As a child I was drawn to the forest by its aesthetics. I felt as if I were wandering through a masterpiece painting. As I grew older, I wanted to know more about the many working parts of nature. I quickly learned this: If I wanted to know nature intimately, I needed to know what the Native Americans knew. After years of study and honing skills, I undertook seasonal, self-imposed “survival trips” in remote areas of the National Forest. As an adult I served as a naturalist for the Georgia Conservancy, wilderness director for High Meadows Camp, and as director of my own wilderness school – Medicine Bow – in the Appalachian Mountains.


Mark's book list on nature education and survival skills

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

Putting a wild plant into one’s mouth must be preceded by positive identification. This book’s text and photos offer guidance and recipes. It doesn’t try to cover a huge number of plant species, but the plants that are included are covered in more detail than in most plant books. The introduction alone, in my opinion, is worth the price of this book.

By Thomas S. Elias, Peter A. Dykeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Edible Wild Plants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Already a huge success in previous editions, this must-have field guide now features a fresh new cover, as well as nearly 400 color photos and detailed information on more than 200 species of edible plants all across North America. With all the plants conveniently organized by season, enthusiasts will find it very simple to locate and identify their desired ingredients. Each entry includes images, plus facts on the plant’s habitat, physical properties, harvesting, preparation, and poisonous look-alikes. The introduction contains tempting recipes and there’s a quick-reference seasonal key for each plant.

“Season-by-season guide to identification, harvest, and preparation of more…


Book cover of It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It: Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter-Gatherer

Veronica Kirin

From my list on incredible real life stories.

Who am I?

I am an anthropologist and former owner of a tech company. I saw firsthand how technology was changing society in the early twenty-teens, and knew that we were experiencing a compounding paradigm shift. I have a passion for telling stories and preserving the past for future generations — the stories that our grandchildren will ask about, just as we asked our grandparents about the great wars and depression.

Veronica's book list on incredible real life stories

Veronica Kirin Why did Veronica love this book?

This book cracked me up. Bill Heavey met with people all over the United States and went on crazy foodie adventures with them in order to better understand pockets of unique eats and subsistence. This is not a restaurant visits book. This is a go fishing, backwoods, hunt-or-be-hunted book.

I have two favorite stories in this book. The first is of a woman who forages along the Potomac for Paw Paw fruit. Her attitude toward finding wild food is hilarious and matter-of-fact. The second is of a man who fishes the Bayous of the south and takes Heavey for a wild ride.

By Bill Heavey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Mr. Heavey takes us back to the joys--and occasional pitfalls--of the humble edibles around us, and his conclusions ring true."--Wall Street Journal Longtime Field & Stream contributor Bill Heavey has become the magazine's most popular voice by writing for sportsmen with more enthusiasm than skill. In his first full-length book, Heavey chronicles his attempts to "eat wild," seeing how much of his own food he can hunt, fish, grow, and forage. But Heavey is not your typical hunter-gatherer. Living inside the D.C. Beltway, and a single dad to a twelve-year-old daughter with an aversion to "nature food," he's almost completely…


Book cover of The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping: Home Landscaping with Food-Bearing Plants and Resource-Saving Techniques

Amy Goldman Fowler Author Of The Melon

From my list on food gardening written by women.

Who am I?

Amy Goldman is a gardener, author, artist, philanthropist, and well-known advocate for seed saving, plant breeding, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Her mission is to celebrate and catalogue the magnificent diversity of standard, open-pollinated varieties, and to promote their conservation. Amy gave up a career as a clinical psychologist to follow her first love which was kitchen gardening. In her own words from Heirloom Harvest: “I have romantic leanings and tend to follow my heart… In hindsight, I know my heart steered me straight, and toward a future I could never have imagined…My passion for the fruits of the earth has deep roots….”

Amy's book list on food gardening written by women

Amy Goldman Fowler Why did Amy love this book?

Rosalind Creasy is one of my heroes. It was she who first turned me on to heirloom fruits and vegetables over 30 years ago, when I read her newly published Cooking from the Garden. That seminal tome celebrates the food garden’s bounty and uses in cookery. 

Creasy is best known as a pioneer in the field of edible landscaping aka foodscaping: the practice of integrating edible plants into the landscape for beauty and sustenance. Think yummy delicious arbors, allées, groundcovers, borders, hedges, espaliers, foundation plantings, and potted plants. She spells out all the how-to’s, wheres, and whyfors in her first book, The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping; and updates it all in the second edition, Edible Landscaping. If you’re looking for practical advice, detailed instructions, design schemes, and recommended plants to feed body and soul, then allow me to point you in Ros’s direction.

By Rosalind Creasy, Marcia Kier-Hawthorne (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This comprehensive, feature-packed book shows how you can create more beauty around your home, grow delicious healthful produce, and save money and natural resources all at the same time—by landscaping with edible plants.
Author Rosalind Creasy, a landscape designer and leading authority on edible landscaping, provides all the information necessary to plan, plant, and maintain ornamental edible landscapes, with specific designs for all geographic and climatic regions of the country. Drawing on years of research into the most decorative and flavorful species—from the exotic water chestnut to the ever-popular apple—Creasy shows how edibles can form the basis for a beautiful…


Book cover of The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

Susan Reigler Author Of Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon?: Setting the Table for Tastings, Food Pairings, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties

From my list on cocktail books from a bourbon/whiskey expert.

Who am I?

I’m a spirits writer, educator, and judge specializing in bourbon and other American whiskeys based in Louisville, Kentucky. I have authored or co-authored six books on bourbon (including two bourbon cocktail books) and among the publications for which I am a regular contributor are Bourbon+ (where I focus on the biology and chemistry of whiskey making) and American Whiskey Magazine, for which I write whiskey tasting notes and ratings. I am also the past president of The Bourbon Women Association. When I am not writing or conducting private, customized bourbon tastings, I present seminars at bourbon festivals and other bourbon events around the United States.  

Susan's book list on cocktail books from a bourbon/whiskey expert

Susan Reigler Why did Susan love this book?

Quick, name a beverage that has not been derived from or flavored by a plant? Not surprisingly, only water and milk leap to mind. Bestselling author Stewart delves into the natural history and cultivation of scores of plant species with witty and authoritative accounts of how they have been used in coffee, tea, all manner of spirits, wine, and beer. Cocktail recipes are included throughout as well as invaluable cultural context. I loved the bit about sorghum-based baijiu which figured in Nixon’s famous China trip. – “Alexander Haig had sampled the beverage during an advance visit and cabled…’Under no repeat no circumstances should the President actually drink from his glass in response to the banquet toasts.’” 


Nixon drank it anyway. Impressive since Dan Rather said it tasted “like liquid razor blades.” 

By Amy Stewart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Drunken Botanist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This quirky guide explains the chemistry and botanical history of over 150 plants, trees, flowers and fruits, showing how they form the bases of our favourite cocktails. Amy Stewart offers gardeners growing tips and provides cocktail enthusiasts with 50 drink recipes, as well as a rounded knowledge of the processes and plants which go into popular concoctions.


Book cover of The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit Author Of How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out

From my list on designing your dream garden.

Who are we?

We’re Chantal Gordon and Ryan Benoit — the cofounders of gardening/design/DIY blog The Horticult. Our site shows you how to create handsome yet effective habitats for your plants. That includes a collection of mounted staghorn ferns under our citrus trees, a vertical garden for your herbs, and a sleek bog for carnivorous pitcher plants. One of our most popular DIYs is how to build an outdoor theater behind your rosemary hedge. We show people how to create outdoor spaces they can deeply enjoy — whether it’s a patio, balcony, or yard. A key to welcoming someone is good design. The more you like hanging out outside, the better care you’ll take of your plants.

Chantal and Ryan's book list on designing your dream garden

Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit Why did Chantal and Ryan love this book?

As primarily ornamental gardeners, we’ve fallen back on the old excuse about tomato plants being ugly as the reason why we don’t do edible gardening. It’s a lazy excuse! The Beautiful Edible Garden shows that its titular premise is so not an oxymoron. And it hits the two things we look for most in a garden design book, which are: (1) hyperspecific plant recommendations and (2) solid design principles we can learn from and put into action. Through lucid, inviting instructions and scrumptious photos, The Beautiful Edible Garden offers gold like how to select “anchor plants” to establish structure in a landscape, blueberries and culinary sweet bay being top picks. And the transformational effect of planting a “focal point” plant — which has us hankering to bring in a persimmon tree. 

By Leslie Bennett, Stefani Bittner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beautiful Edible Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn how to artfully incorporate organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs into an attractive garden design with this stylish, beautifully photographed guide.

We’ve all seen the vegetable garden overflowing with corn, tomatoes, and zucchini that looks good for a short time, but then quickly turns straggly and unattractive (usually right before friends show up for a backyard barbecue). If you want to grow food but you don’t want your yard to look like a farm, what can you do? The Beautiful Edible Garden shares how to not only grow organic fruits and vegetables, but also make your garden a place of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in edible wild plants, foraging, and North America?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about edible wild plants, foraging, and North America.

Edible Wild Plants Explore 10 books about edible wild plants
Foraging Explore 10 books about foraging
North America Explore 61 books about North America