The 5 Most Common Edible Weeds In Your State

Giurgi C.
By Giurgi C. September 10, 2018 06:18

The 5 Most Common Edible Weeds In Your State

This is a field guide to the most common plants found throughout the United States. When traveling outside of the southwest I often found myself lost when it came to what plants I could seek to use in a given territory.  This list is based on my research documenting where useful plants are found in the United States, based on the USDA Flora Database.

Once the five most common plants per state were identified I studied many sources, both native and academic, to document how people can use these plants.  Sources often refer to plant edibility or medicinal values, yet neglect to specify what parts of the plant to use and recommended preparation methods. Find out here exactly how you can use them. 

Click below on the letter corresponding to your state.

A C D F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W

#1. Alabama

  • Blackberry
  • Wild Carrot
  • Oxalis
  • Muscadine
  • Persimmon

#2. Alaska

  • Beach Greens
  • Beach Lovage
  • Chickweed
  • Dandelion
  • Fiddlehead Fern

#3. Arizona

  • Hedgehog Cactus
  • Saguaro
  • Cholla
  • Prickly Pear
  • Barrel Cactus

#4. Arkansas

  • ­­Cattail
  • Chicory
  • Curled Dock
  • Asparagus
  • Amaranth

#5. California

  • Fireweed
  • Wood Sorrel
  • Dandelion
  • Bull Thistle
  • Curly Dock

#6.Colorado

  • Wild Onion
  • Stonecrop
  • Candytuft
  • Bistort
  • Yucca buds

#7.Connecticut

  • Violets
  • Lesser Celandine
  • Primrose
  • Field Garlic
  • Lungwort

#8. Delaware

  • Wild Mustards
  • Cicely Root
  • Bittercress
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Fiddleheads

#9.Florida

  • Sea Grape
  • Dewberry
  • Purslane
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Dogwood

#10. Georgia

  • Eastern Persimmon
  • Chinquapin
  • White Bergamot
  • Pecan
  • Maypop

#11. Hawaii

  • Kukui
  • Breadfruit
  • Seagrape
  • Chinese Hibiscus
  • Noni

#12. Idaho

  • Thimbleberries
  • Serviceberries
  • Camas
  • Fireweed Jelly
  • Stinging Nettle

#13. Illinois

  • Acorn
  • Plantains
  • Poke
  • Morels
  • Chantarelles

#14. Indiana

  • Kudzu
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Pine
  • Prickly Pear
  • Cactus

#15. Iowa

  • Coltsfoot
  • Clovers
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Daylily

#16. Kansas

  • Wood Sorrel
  • Wild Mustard
  • Sheep Sorrel
  • Purslane
  • Yellow Rocket

#17. Kentucky

  • Wild Grape Vine
  • Common Mullein
  • Prickly Pear Cactus
  • Milk Thistle
  • Pineapple Weed

#18. Louisiana

  • Mallow
  • Wild Bee Balm
  • Sweet Rocket
  • Field Pennycress
  • Miner’s Lettuce

#19. Maine

  • Common Mallow
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Self-Heal
  • Monkey Flower
  • Fireweed

#20. Maryland

  • Pigweed
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Goosetongue
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Watercress

#21. Massachusetts

  • Wild Garlic
  • Plantain
  • Herb Robert
  • Hop Clover
  • Chickweed

#22. Michigan

  • Garlic Mustard
  • Cattail
  • Coltsfoot
  • Clovers
  • Hazelnuts

#23. Minnesota

  • Pecans
  • Daylily
  • Fireweed
  • Dandelion
  • Chickweed

#24. Mississippi

  • Curly Dock
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory
  • Wood Sorrel
  • Bull Thistle

#25. Missouri

  • Alfalfa
  • Broadleaf Plantain
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Forget Me Not
  • Garlic Mustard

#26. Montana

  • Wild Black Cherry
  • Harebell
  • Elderberry
  • Field Pennycress
  • Coneflower

#27. Nebraska

  • Kudzu
  • Meadowsweet
  • Mallow
  • Peppergrass
  • Pineapple Weed

#28. Nevada

  • Pickerelweed
  • Mullein
  • Red Clover
  • Partridgeberry
  • Sheep Sorrel

#29. New Hampshire

  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Sunflower
  • Spring Beauty
  • Tea Plant
  • Toothwort

#30. New Jersey

  • Teasel
  • Wild Grape Vine
  • Wild Bee Balm
  • Vervain Mallow
  • Prickly Pear Cactus

#31. New Mexico

  • Herb Robert
  • Mayapple
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Knapweed
  • Wild Leek

#32. New York

  • Cleavers
  • Cattail
  • Blue Vervain
  • Common Yarrow
  • Common Sow Thistle

#33. North Carolina

  • Coltsfoot
  • Fern Leaf Yarrow
  • Henbit
  • Crimson Clover
  • Evening Primrose

#34. North Dakota

  • Downy Yellow Violet
  • Daisy Fleabane
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Milk Thistle
  • Lambs Quarters

#35. Ohio

  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Purple Deadnettle
  • New England Aster
  • Supplejack Vine
  • Amaranth

#36. Oklahoma

  • American Black Currant
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Apple Mint
  • Bee Balm
  • Blackberry

#37. Oregon

  • Black Raspberry
  • Blueberry Highbush
  • Breadseed Poppy
  • Broad Leaf Dock
  • Burdock

#38. Pennsylvania

  • Chickweed
  • Comfrey
  • Dame’s Rocket
  • Dandelion
  • Dayflower

#39. Rhode Island

  • Day Lily
  • Egyptian Onion
  • Elderberry
  • European Black Currant
  • Field Garlic

#40. South Carolina

  • Garlic Mustard
  • Gill-Over-The-Ground
  • Gooseberry
  • Hollyhock Mallow
  • Jerusalem Artichoke

#41. South Dakota

  • Lamb’s Quarter
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mallow
  • Musk Mallow
  • Nettle

#42. Tennessee

  • Peppermint
  • Purple Dead Nettle
  • Purslane
  • Red Clover
  • Red Currant

#43. Texas

  • Red Raspberry
  • Rose
  • Schizandra
  • Sheep Sorrel
  • Shirley Poppy

#44. Utah

  • Star Chickweed
  • Sweet Cicely
  • Violet
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Wild Grape

#45. Vermont

  • Wild Lettuce
  • Wood Sorrel
  • Yellow Dock
  • Spearmint
  • Chicory

#46. Virginia

  • Curly Dock
  • Daylily
  • Elderberry
  • Fireweed
  • Japanese Knotweed

#47. Washington

  • Meadowsweet
  • Milkweed
  • Mullein
  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Yarrow

#48. West Virginia

  • Balsam Fir
  • Blue Aster
  • Bracken Fern
  • Oak (Acorns)
  • Pine
  • White Birch

#49. Wisconsin

  • Wood Sorrel
  • Arrowhead/Wapato
  • Bullrushes
  • Bur-Reed
  • Cattail

#50. Wyoming

  • False Solomn’s Seal
  • Weeping Willow
  • Wild Rice
  • Amaranth
  • Blackberries

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Giurgi C.
By Giurgi C. September 10, 2018 06:18
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17 Comments

  1. Stephanie September 10, 14:32

    I think youve got something wrong. Its too cold for pecans tongrow in Minnesota! Maybe if you are really lucky you coukd grow then in the southern tip. But thats the smallest area of MN. Why would you talk about that area? I agree with the rest of them for sure though.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Tapman September 10, 15:27

    For Wisconsin:

    Bullrushes (Bulrushes) and Cat Tail are the same plant.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Primitivo Rodríguez September 10, 15:33

    YOU FORGOT AN ISLAND CALLED PUERTO RICO THAT BELONGS TO USA AS A TERRITORY NON INCORPORATED.

    Reply to this comment
    • palaciosle September 10, 15:44

      Primitivo, por favor comunicate conmigo. Respondiendo aqui. Vivo en San Juan.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck September 10, 16:02

      No need to shout, Primo. I notice they also didn’t include Guam, nor the Virgin Islands either.

      I can well understand why there might be a bunch of new readers from Puerto Rico, given how that island has suffered from the effects of a devastating hurricane and federal neglect.

      Certainly an object lesson in what any area that has suffered widespread damage from any source can expect from the federal government.

      But then, that raises the question of why we should expect the federal government to step in in those situations? Why shouldn’t we locally be prepared to fend for ourselves? This business of looking to the federales for everything is recent.

      I can assure readers that the New Madrid earthquake would certainly qualify on the 6:00 pm news as a national disaster but the federal government didn’t rush in with food supplies from other areas and send in troops to maintain order. If troops were necessary the states sent in the national guard — oops I forgot, the nation guard is just that now that they have all been federalized.

      That’s what happens when you start taking money from Big Daddy. He wants to tell you how to spend it and how to live your life on the money he is giving you. And of course we all know Big Daddy is capricious. Hot this minute; cold the next.

      Sorry to diverge from the main topic into a political rant. My apologies.

      Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck September 10, 15:50

    I looked at the USDA link provided. Haven’t figured out how to navigate it yet with the cursory look I gave it.

    However, while not perusing the USDA website nor having conducted a detailed survey of local flora in the PDRK, I can state that casual observation by the traveler would show that wild mustard is far more common than cattail in the PDRK. There are vast, and I emphasize vast, fields of wild mustard that extend along all of the major freeways in the state as far as the eye can see. Cattails need standing water and standing water is in scarce supply in the PDRK.

    In addition, while not actually looking for it, I know that there are also large tracts of buckwheat in the state and according to the naturalist who conducts classes in medicinal and edible wild plants in California, buckwheat grows in all climes in this state.

    It has been my experience that a fair amount of federally generated data is quite old. I wonder about the status of the USDA generated data regarding native plants, especially since we are in a period of global warming as the government constantly assures us.

    I am currently reading a book whose subject matter is the effect the Medieval Warming Period and the subsequent cooling period had on crops and availability of food. I have just finished reading “The Fourth Horseman” which is another book that deals with the global cooling period that immediately followed the Medieval Warming Period and its effect on Europe. The MWP lasted approximately 4 centuries and the cooling period that followed lasted from about the fourteenth century to the nineteenth century.

    Each of those swings in world wide temperature had significant world wide impact on flora. Hence if the USDA data is from the 50s or 60s as I suspect it might be, it is probably considerably out of date.

    Someone who is far more interested in the accuracy of this data than I might want to check the USDA website and ascertain the time frame when the data was collected. It could well have an important bearing on its validity.

    Otherwise, like any information from any source, especially from Washington DC, use your judgment in evaluating its accuracy and how you might utilize it.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Catmandoo September 10, 15:52

    I think you have no idea what you are talking about in this article. I live in Wyoming and you are way off base on the edibles except for the Willow which should be in the medicine plants.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Roro September 10, 20:48

    Not trying to be over critical here but prickly pear cactus in kentucky & new jersy nut not in texas ….. seems to be a bit off i do not recall ever seeing it in either state in the wild & texas they are all over …… just say n ….. may wanna redo this article ……… om now for the issue of not listing the territories …. the article did say states just to be fair n all ….. not that a list of territories & even canadian provences & mexicain states would not hurt …. after all if there is no ruling govt borders will not be official …… but hey what do i know

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck September 10, 23:46

      I realize my data is way out of date as I haven’t lived on the east coast since 1955, but I grew up in southeastern PA and going to the New Jersey shore was a popular summer pastime. I am quite sure I was not very much interested in the flora of south Jersey at that time, but I am quite sure if prickly pear had been so abundant, I would have noticed. I didn’t see prickly pear until I got to SoCal in the late fall of ’55 and there it is abundant and is indeed a food plant. You can buy nopales even in the 99¢ store or maybe I should say especially in the 99¢ store. Nopales are the pads from the prickly pear plant and are a staple in Mexican cooking. You can even make candy out of it. There is a knack to cooking it, otherwise it is slimy and unappealing but still nutritious.

      I would agree with Roro, while I can’t comment on Kentucky, I seriously doubt that prickly pear is a major wild plant in New Jersey. My wife has a friend who lives in Princeton who is quite interested in horticulture. I will have her query her friend about the ubiquity of prickly pear in Northern Joisey as my uncle used to call it.

      Reply to this comment
      • how-to-eat-a-pricly-pear September 11, 21:07

        Prickly pear is a dry land plant, I wouldn’t expect to see it east of the Mississippi. It’s a Mexican vegetable and fruit–the flesh is the vegetable and the seed pod is the fruit. You must wear rubber gloves to work with it, there are little tufts of hairs that are very irritating to your skin and I wouldn’t want them inside me, so you must carefully cut them out of the plant. Properly prepared, the fruit is delicious/

        Reply to this comment
  7. Random5499 September 10, 23:08

    If you have the ability to read this site you also have the ability to explore the topic further online. Years ago internet info on plants was limited, but now there are endless websites on plants with great info, marvelous pics, easy to use. Askaprepper is a great website for ideas, it has started me on some great Google searches looking for all kinds of info like rocket stoves, how to prepare acorns, and the ever popular EMP.

    Reply to this comment
  8. R September 11, 17:06

    Re: ARIZONA,
    FYI, it is illegal to cut or damage any cactus in any way. Don’t try experimenting with food products prior to SHTF. One can, however, harvest the fruit or the flower buds off of everything EXCEPT the saguaro and many make jam, etc, from the prickly pear fruit.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Hank September 13, 01:53

    for many states, a common lweed, Purslane, is very plentiful. I don’t even need to plant it, as it grows everywhere around my house. For my vegetable-fruit shake every morning, I just walk out my front door and pick a couple of ounces.
    Purslane has the most omega 3’s of any plant, so if you get tired of salmon, try some. It is very nutritous, and is grown and sold in markets in many countries.
    I would recommend everyone to become familiar with this plant.

    Reply to this comment
  10. eric the red September 15, 13:52

    Is this a list of uncommon plants for the regions. For example Ohio, we have wild grape, rasberries coming out of our buts, cattail, tiger lilly, fiddleheads, maple trees, pine trees, all manner of nut trees, acorn, stinging nettle, pawpaw, apples, poke weed, dandelion, mayapple, and this is just off the top of my head.

    *some of these must be prepared properly or can make you sick, like poke weed, or only certain parts of the plant are edible, like may apple.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Tom September 17, 06:52

    Never heard of those except peppermint in Tennessee. I’d have blackberries, plantain, ramps, watercress, and dandelions.

    Reply to this comment
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