The yellow flower I’ve included here is actually coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) — a member of the sunflower family, and a species whose flowers precede its leaves. Dandelion, another member of the sunflower family, produces flowers after its leaves have already developed.
Pretty neat, huh?
As Earth would have it, coltsfoot is edible, and the flowers make a great trail-side nibble. You probably wouldn’t want to eat copious amounts of these flowers during any single hike, as the wild food chemists will tell you that coltsfoot contains certain chemicals known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids, and these hard-to-pronounce compounds may negatively impact the liver. Rats livers, for sure. And maybe yours too. Overall, then, this species is probably best treated as a medicinal plant (one that may be useful as an expectorant, by the way).
How did I learn some of this information?
That’s a great question, and it’s the reason I’m writing this article. You see, I’ve always felt that reading books (remember those?) on any one topic can seriously lead to profound results. Think about it. What better way to learn than to study from the masters? (Often for less than $15!)
Learning how to forage for wild food is no different. Reading various books and building your personal foraging library can exponentially increase your skills in this field. Not overnight, of course, but in time.
How do we get started? Where do we get started? With which books do we get started? Again, these are all great questions, and I’d like to answer them for you as best I can. In this brand new video, I briefly review 6 of the most influential foraging books I’ve ever read.