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Top 150 Wild Foods in WNC

Western North Carolina is home to over 500 wild edibles, at least half of which are quite common. The 150 most common of these are listed below, with the thirty most common appearing in boldface; see images of those here. See also the 100 most common by month and the 75 most common by type.

Remember that “most common” does not mean the easiest to identify. Our area is also home to at least one common deadly mushroom and one common deadly plant. Always learn in person from an expert.


acorn, acorn grub
amaranth leaf, seed
amber jelly roll mushroom
angelica leaf and stem
ants, carpenter
artist’s conk
autumn olive
bamboo shoot
basswood (linden) leaf
bee balm (Monarda) leaf, flower
Berkeley’s polypore
black staining polypore
birch, black (sweet) twigs
black locust blossoms
black trumpet mushroom
black walnut
blewit mushroom
bolete mushrooms (most)
brick top mushroom
burdock young leaf, stem, root
carrot, wild (queen anne’s lace)
cattail pollen
cauliflower mushroom
chaga fungus
chanterelle mushroom
cherry, wild black
chestnut, chestnut grub
chicken of the woods
cotton roll (Lactarius deceptivus)
cracked cap polypore
crown-tipped coral mushroom
daisy (ox-eye), leaf, flower
dandelion leaf, flower, root
dayflower, Asiatic
day lily shoot, bud, flower, root
dead nettle (Lammium) leaf
dogwood (Kousa) berry
dryad saddle mushroom
elder flower, berry
evening primrose
fairy potato (cinnamon vine)
field mallow

garlic mustard
goldenrod tops
grape (fox, muscadine)
gray coral mushroom
greenbriar (sarsaparilla) tips
ground ivy (alehoof)
gypsy mushroom
hawkweed (cat’s ear)
hawthorne berry
heal all (self heal)
hedgehog mushroom
hemlock (tree) tips
hen of the woods (maitake)
hickory nut
honey locust pods
honeysuckle flower
honey mushroom
hosta shoot
hunters hearts (E. abortivum)
indigo milk cap
Japanese knotweed shoot
Jerusalem artichoke
juniper berry
kudzu leaf, flower
lambsquarter leaf, seed
leatherback milk cap
(L. corrugis/volemus)
lilac tooth polypore
lion’s mane
lobster mushroom
may apple ripe fruit
meadow mushroom
milkweed shoot, bud, flower, pod
money plant leaf, flower, pod
morel mushroom
mountain mint
mulberry fruit
nettle, stinging and wood
old man of the woods mushroom
onion grass (garlic grass)
Oregon grape berry, flower
oyster mushroom
parasol mushrooms (some)
parchment mushroom (Stereum)
paw paw

persimmon fruit, seed
pine needles, pollen
plantain leaf, seed
poke sprouts
prickly pear leaf, fruit
puffball (Lycoperdon, Calvatia)
quickweed (Galinsoga) leaf
quilt cap brittlegill
ramp (wild leek)
redbud flower, pod
red clover tops
reishi mushroom
resinous polypore
rose of Sharon
rose flower, hip
sassafras leaf, root
serviceberry (juneberry)
sheep sorrel
sochane leaf
solomon’s seal shoot
sourwood leaf
smartweed leaf, seed
spicebush (Lindera) leaf, twig, berry
spiderwort shoot, leaf
spring beauty leaf and flower
spruce tips
stone crop (sedum)
sumac berry
sweet cicely leaf
toothwort leaf, flower, root
turkey tail mushroom
violet flower, leaf
wild cucumber
wild lettuce
wild mustard
wintercress (creasy greens)
wisteria flower
wood ear
wood sorrel
wrinkled crumble cap
yellow dock
yucca flower