Wild Arkansas

July 9, 2010

List of summer edibles – NW Arkansas

Filed under: collecting, Edible plants, foraging, herbs, summer — Tags: , , , , , — WildArkansas @ 12:36 am

A Short list of common edibles currently in season (summer) for Northwest Arkansas, though some can be found throughout the year. There are a few missing, but I’ll add to the list as I run across them.

Common name                   Binomial

American Elder             Sambucus canadensis

Asparagus                      Asparagus officianalis

Black Cherry                 Prunus serotina

Cattail                              Typha latifolia

Chicory                           Cichorium intybus

Chufa                               Cyperus esculentus

Dandelion                     Taraxacum officianale

Docks                            Rumex (acetosa,longifolia…)

(There are several varieties of dock/sorrel in the area; including curly, spinach, broad leaved and the dooryard. All are edible.)

Ground Cherry         Physalis pubescens

Ground Nut               Apios americana

Lambs quarters      Chenopodium album

May apple                Podophyllum peltatum

Mulberry (red/white) Morus rubra/alba

Oak (red/white)     Quercus rubra/alba

Passionflower        Passiflora incarnata

Pawpaw                   Asimina triloba

Peppermint            Mentha piperita

Pickeral weed       Pontederia cordata

Plantago                 Plantago major, asiatica…

Purslane                 Portulaca oleracea

Quickweed           Galinsoga parviflora

Smilax                    Smilax rotundifolia

Smooth Sumac   Rhus glabra

Spearmint            Mentha spicata

Sweet Flag           Acorus calamus


July 1, 2010

Forager’s herbarium

Though I’ve been around Lake Fayetteville several times, last night I participated in my first field class with a tracker and former Alaskan ethnobotany teacher, Patrick Monroney.

The lesson included learning how to build an herbarium.

This particular preservation method is not the same used by botanists who collect, label, dry and press the plant material before mounting.
[read Wikipedia article about how to build a formal herbarium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbarium]

It is meant to build identification and collecting skills in the field.

For newbies to plant identification techniques, the herbarium consists of collected samples placed on plain index or card stock and held in place with clear contact paper. Once mounted, the plant data is entered on the card.

Despite fading daylight, we managed to put a couple of hours into collecting.

Lake Fayetteville is one of the best botanical classrooms in the area, because of the diversity available. In the two hours collecting, I came away with ten mounted samples.

Following is a project on how to start your first herbarium for identification purposes.

If you are going to mount in the field, you may want to prepare your contact paper beforehand, cutting pieces down to size.

What you need:

Scissors or an exacto knife
5×8 index cards (preferably white, unless you collect white flowers. In that case, Patrick uses colored stock.)
Contact paper cut into 4×7 pieces. (Comes in rolls that can be found in the housewares section at Wal-Mart.)


1. Cut your collected sample/parts down to size. Make sure all parts are clean and dry. (If moist, pat with paper towel).

2. Peel contact paper from backing, place sticky side UP on an index card and center it.

3. Lay plant (parts) as flat as possible on contact paper. Some are impossible to flatten, just do your best to flatten enough to mount.

4. Place another index card, white side down (white side facing plant)

6. Turn it around to inspect. You may have to clip or cut, but now you can label the card. 


If you need additional help putting together your herbarium, shoot me an email. I can send photos. The photos I tried to use in the post didn’t work very well. 🙂

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