Foraging is becoming a pasttime of increasing interest for many of us. As the opportunity to use what nature has provided, and to encourage more plants in our own back gradens that can be used for a range of purposes – rather than purely to look nice – foraging has become cool! Alongside a growing want to try and use natural, rather than synthetic, methods to provide medicinal remedies and a general desire from a lot of us to get back to mature this book has come along at a great time.
Robin Harford gives a different perspective on how to get the most from wild plants. With just under 50 of the most common wild plants listed and covered in his book, each plant is covered in turn, in alphabeticl order of their common name, to outline its history, food and medicinal uses.
Each plant description tells us which parts of the plant can be used for food as well as how to use those parts. A flavour profile of each plant lets us know what taste we should expect and a nutritional profile informs us of the nutrients each plant provides.
The medicinal uses share historical use as well as the applications of the plants today. Cautions for plants, where necessary are given and if the plant has any other interesting uses then these are also covered.
When I first opened this book, I found the lack of any pictures intruiging. Instead of providing a snapshot for each plant, Harford gives a link to a database of pictures which give a more indepth photography for each plant and a better resource for identification. Because of this conscious choice by the author, this isn’t a pocket ident guide but if you are looking to learn about plants and then to go searching for them this is the book for you.
Reviewed by Drew Spellar – Chair and Trustee of The Herb Society
Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland