Foraging the UK in Spring

Foraging is great; connecting with your environment, connecting with your food, and really, who doesn’t like food for free? However, when foraging please remember to be safe and respectful. Here are a couple pointers:

  1. Be 100% sure.  This is for your own health & safety! Many plants have poisonous lookalikes, so start with plants you really know.  Use a good plant identification guide, or even better, a local person who can identify the plants with you the first few times, until you are confident that you can identify the plant from lookalikes.  If you’re still nervous – you can always grow your own plants from seed, so you are 100% sure of the origin!
  2. Consider the environment. Wild food is usually free of pesticides and fertilizers, but you need to watch out for other things such as pollution and animals.  Pick away from busy roads, “above dog height”, and avoid water plants near cattle.
  3. Allow for continuation.  Always leave more than you take.  Try to pick a little from several different locations rather than stripping one location. Pick a few leaves from each plant rather than all the leaves from one.
  4. Be aware of your rights. In England, you can forage for personal use, but not if you’re making products to sell.  Check your local laws for rules in your own area. Don’t pick on private property or in conservation areas.

Having said all that, on to the good stuff; we’ve been collecting a list of edible plants in the UK. Here’s what we have so far, starting with Spring plants, of course it is possible for these plants to be out earlier or later depending on the climate for the year. We’ll be following this post up with more seasonal lists. Each image links to an information page about the plant. If you know of any edible plants not included, or of better information about them, please do let us know in the comments.

Mushrooms and Fungi

Morel mushrooms
fairy ring champignons - scotch bonnet
Scotch bonnet
st georges mushroom
St George’s

Ground plants

burdock leaves
Burdock leaves
Corn poppy
Corn poppy


Common comfrey
Common comfrey
cow parsley
Cow parsley
dandelion flowers
fat hen
Fat hen
good king henry
Good king henry
goose grass
jack by the hedge
Jack by the hedge
milk thistle
Milk thistle


stinging nettles
Stinging nettles
Primrose (garden)
rock samphire
Rock samphire
sea beet
Sea beet
sea kale
Sea kale
sea purslane
Sea purslane


Sweet cicely
Sweet cicely
sweet violet
Sweet violet
tansey leaves
Tansey leaves
wild chicory
Wild chicory


Wild fennel
Wild fennel
Wild mint
Wild mint
wild rocket
Wild rocket

Shrubs, Hedges, and Vines

gorse flowers
Gorse flowers
hawthorn leaves
Hawthorn leaves
hop shoots
Hop shoots


birch sap
Birch Sap
lime leaves
Lime leaves

Water plants



3 thoughts on “Foraging the UK in Spring

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