Edible Species

We’ve found the following wild and feral edible plants in the East Bay urban ecosystem. “Spp.” after a genus name means we found more than one species. Species in bold font are particularly abundant.

Species with edible parts are highlighted in green.

Not all parts of nominally “edible” plants are edible: Parts of some edible plants are toxic.

Edible parts of some nominally “edible” plants require special preparation to be edible. For instance, coast live oak acorns (Quercus agrifolia), California bay laurel nuts (Umbellularia californica), California buckeye nuts (Aesculus californica), bamboo shoots (Bambusa spp., Chimonobambusa spp., Phyllostachys spp.), and pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) range from inedible to toxic unless they are prepared properly. Edible parts of some “edible” plants are edible only at particular stages of their development.

Do not rely on the “common name” to identify a plant: There are different plants with the same common name, some of which are edible and some of which are toxic. For instance, in some parts of the country, Queen Anne’s Lace refers to an edible wild carrot Daucus carota, and in others it refers to poison hemlock, Conium maculatum. Mistakes can be fatal.

Do not consume any part of any plant listed here unless you are quite sure you know what you are doing, even if you are certain that you identified the species correctly.

  1. Achillea millefolium in Asteraceae, yarrow
  2. Aesculus californica in Sapindaceae, California buckeye, California horse-chestnut
  3. Allium spp. in Amaryllidaceae, wild onion
  4. Allium cernuum in Amaryllidaceae, nodding onion
  5. Allium lacunosum in Amaryllidaceae, pitted onion
  6. Arbutus unedo in Ericaeae, strawberry Tree
  7. Artemisia douglasiana in Asteraceae, California mugwort, Douglas’s sagewort
  8. Artemisia dracunculus in Asteraceae, tarragon
  9. Artemisia vulgaris in Asteraceae, mugwort
  10. Bambusa spp. in Bambusoideae, bamboo
  11. Bellis perennis in Asteracea, English daisy, lawn daisy
  12. Borago officinalis in Boraginaceae, borage
  13. Brassica rapa in Brassicaceae, field mustard
  14. Brassica nigra in Brassicaceae, field mustard
  15. Brassica oleracea in Brassicaceae, wild cabbage
  16. Cardamine californica in Brassicaceae, California milkmaids, California toothwort, bitter cress
  17. Cardamine hirsuta in Brassicaceae, hairy bittercress
  18. Carduus pycnocephalus in Asteracea, Italian thistle
  19. Castilleja spp. in Orobanchaceae, Indian paintbrush (flowers only; greens inedible)
  20. Cercis occidentalis in Fabaceae, western redbud
  21. Chenopodium album in Chenopodiaceae, lamb’s quarters, fat-hen
  22. Chlorogalum pomeridianum in Asparagaceae, wavy-leafed soap plant, California soaproot, Amole (root only)
  23. Cichorium intybus in Asteraceae, chicory
  24. Cirsium vulgare in Asteracea, spear thistle, common thistle, bull thistle
  25. Citrus x sinensis in Rutaceae, orange
  26. Citrus x limon in Rutaceae, lemon
  27. Citrus x paradisi in Rutaceae, grapefruit
  28. Citrus spp. in Rutaceae, lime
  29. Claytonia perfoliata in Portulacaceae, miner’s lettuce
  30. Convolvulus arvensis in Colvolvulacea, field bindweed
  31. Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus in Asteraceae, globe artichoke
  32. Dichelostemma capitatum in Brodiaeoideae, blue dicks
  33. Equisetum arvense in Equisetacea, field horsetail
  34. Eriobotrya japonica in Rosaceae, loquat
  35. Erodium cicutarium in Geraniaceae, redstem filaree, common stork’s-bill, pinweed
  36. Eschscholzia californica in Papaveraceae, California poppy
  37. Foeniculum vulgare in Apiaceae, Fennel
  38. Fragaria spp. in Rosaceae, wild strawberries
  39. Galium aparine in Rubiaceae, cleavers
  40. Helminthotheca echioides in Asteracea, bristly ox tongue
  41. Heracleum maximum in Apiaceae, cow parsnip
  42. Hirschfeldia incana in Brassicacae, shortpod mustard, hoary mustard, Mediterranean mustard
  43. Hypochaeris radicata in Asteraceae, Cat’s ear
  44. Juglans regia in Juglandaceae, walnut
  45. Lactuca in Asteraceae, lettuce family
  46. Lactuca canadensis in Asteraceae, wild lettuce
  47. Lactuca ludoviciana in Asteraceae, western wild lettuce
  48. Lactuca serriola in Asteraceae, prickly lettuce
  49. Lactuca virosa in Asteraceae, wild lettuce, bitter lettuce, opium lettuce
  50. Lapsana communis in Asteraceae, nipplewort
  51. Lavandula angustifolia in Lamiaceae, lavender
  52. Maianthemum racemosum in Ruscacea, false lily of the valley, false Solomon’s seal
  53. Malus domestica in Rosaceae, apple
  54. Malva neglecta in Malvaceae, mallow
  55. Malva sylvestris in Malvaceae, mallow
  56. Marrubium vulgare in Lamiaceae, horehound
  57. Matricaria discoidea in Asteraceae, chamomile, pineapple weed
  58. Matricaria recutita in Asteraceae, chamomile
  59. Medicago polymorpha in Faboideae, burr clover
  60. Melissa officinalis in Lamiaceae, lemon balm
  61. Mentha x piperita in Lamiaceae, peppermint
  62. Mentha spicata in Lamiaceae, spearmint
  63. Monardella villosa in Lamiaceae, coyote mint
  64. Nepeta cataria in Lamiaceae, catnip
  65. Opuntia spp. in Cactaceae, Nopale, prickly pear cactus
  66. Origanum vulgare in Lamiaceae, oregana
  67. Oxalis articulata in Oxalidaceae, wood sorrel
  68. Oxalis californica in Oxalidaceae, wood sorrel
  69. Oxalis oregano in Oxalidaceae, redwood sorrel
  70. Oxalis pes-caprae in Oxalidaceae, sourgrass, wood sorrel, Bermuda buttercup
  71. Passiflora edulis in Passifloraceae, passion fruit
  72. Plantago lanceolata in Plantaginaceae, plantago or plantain
  73. Plantago major in Plantaginaceae, plantago or plantain
  74. Portulaca oleracea in Portulacaceae, purslane or pigweed
  75. Prunus domestica in Rosaceae, plum
  76. Prunus persica in Rosaceae, peach
  77. Prunus armeniaca in Rosaceae, apricot
  78. Prunus avium in Rosaceae, cherry
  79. Pyrus communis in Rosaceae, European pear
  80. Quercus agrifolia in Fagaceae, coast live oak
  81. Raphanus raphanistrum in Brassicaceae, wild radish or jointed charlock
  82. Raphanus sativum in Brassicaceae, wild radish or jointed charlock
  83. Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Brassicaceae, watercress
  84. Rosmarinus officinalis in Lamiaceae, rosemary
  85. Ribes californicum in Saxifragaceae, gooseberry
  86. Rubus armeniacus in Rosaceae, blackberries
  87. Rumex acetosella in Polygonaceae, Sheep sorrel
  88. Rumex crispus in Polygonaceae, curly dock
  89. Rumex obtusifolius in Polygonaceae, broad-leafed dock
  90. Salicornia virginica in Chenapodiaceae, pickelweed, sea beans
  91. Salvia leucophylla in Lamiaceae, purple sage
  92. Sambucus melanocarpa in Adoxaceae, black elderberry
  93. Sambucus callicarpa in Adoxaceae, red elderberry
  94. Satureja montana in Lamiaceae, winter savory
  95. Silybum marianum in Asteracea, milk thistle
  96. Sinapis arvensis in Brassicaceae, wild mustard
  97. Solanum nigrum, black nightshade
  98. Sonchus asper in Asteraceae, sow thistle, spiny sow thistle, prickly sow thistle
  99. Sonchus oleraceus in Asteraceae, sow thistle, common sow thistle
  100. Stellaria media in Caryophyllaceae, chickweed
  101. Syzygium paniculatum in Myrtaceae, magenta cherry, magenta lilly pilly
  102. Taraxacum officinale in Asteraceae, dandelion
  103. Teucrium chamaedrys in Lamiaceae, wall germander
  104. Thymus vulgaris in Lamiaceae, thyme
  105. Trifolium repens in Fabaceae, clover, white clover
  106. Trillium chloropetalum in Melanthiaceae, giant trillium
  107. Triteleia laxa in Asparagaceae, Ithuriel’s spear
  108. Tropaeolum majus in Tropaeolaceae, nasturtium
  109. Umbellularia californica in Lauraceae, California Bay Laurel
  110. Urtica dioica in Urticaceae, nettles
  111. Vaccinium ovatum in Ericaceae, huckleberry
  112. Vicia americana in Faboideae, purple vetch
  113. Vicia sativa in Faboideae, common vetch
  114. Vicia villosa in Faboideae, winter vetch, hairy vetch
  115. Wisteria floribunda in Fabacea, Japanese wisteria
  116. Wisteria sinensis in Fabacea, Chinese wisteria