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