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