30 Edible Weeds and Plants | Some May Surprise You!

August 11, 2023

Edible Weeds and Plants When it comes to eating plants, there’s an unspoken rule: stick to well-known fruits and vegetables. However, very few grow naturally in Vancouver’s climate. Sure, they can be purchased, planted, cultivated, and farmed around here, but what about ornamental plants? Berries from trees? And even – dare we say – weeds?

There’s an abundance of edible food growing all around us – if you know what to look for.


Urban Foraging

Gone are the days when you could only forage through forests, valleys, and mountains for fungi and berries. Urban foraging – the practice of collecting wild food growing around your city (such as nuts, berries, mushrooms, and flowers) – is becoming a passive hobby for many. For others, it’s become a lifestyle.

And why shouldn’t it be? If edible weeds and plants grow freely around us, shouldn’t we enjoy it?


Using Caution

Before we jump in, it’s extremely important that you use absolute caution when foraging for edible weeds and plants.

  • This blog is simply a guide – do your own extensive research and consult professionals before eating anything from this list.
  • Only eat things that you have identified as “safe” with 100% confidence. There are certain signs you can look for in plants, such as milky sap, bitterness, and fine hairs that usually indicate that something is unsafe for consumption.
  • Beware of imitators – plants and weeds that look similar, but are actually toxic.
  • Only eat things that you’ve fully washed and cleaned.
  • Remember not to trespass!

Now that that’s out of the way – here are some plants to look for that can be collected, eaten, and enjoyed. You may even have some of these growing in your backyard already.


Edible Weeds


• Edible leaves and stems
• Can be steamed or added to salads
• Even healthier alternative to spinach




• Leaves can be added to salads or harvested for tea
• Roots can be sauteed
• Flowers can be made into wine



Broadleaf plantains

• Leaves can be sauteed with olive oil
• Tastes like asparagus
• Full of iron and minerals




• Edible leaves and stems
• Good in salads
• High in vitamins A, B, C




• Edible flowers and leaves
• Can be added to salads
• Blossoms can be used to make tea




• Edible leaves and stems
• Edible raw or cooked
• Has a peppery taste



Stinging Nettle

• Must be cooked or dried before eating so stingers lose their sting
• High in iron
• Good in soups
• Renowned for medicinal properties; said to help with high blood pressure and UTI’s


• Edible leaves, stalks, flowers
• Pepper taste
• Best in salads or as a garnish





• Young leaves can added to salads, roots can be mashed or fried
• Sweet taste
• Very nutritious

Japanese Knotweed

• An extremely invasive, noxious weed
• Tart taste; similar to rhubarb
• Red shoots can be steamed or sauteed
*Note: if you find Japanese knotweed growing somewhere it isn’t supposed to, report it to the proper authorities.



Edible Plants

Bulrushes (aka Cattails)

• Grows in shallow water and is very versatile
• Shoots and lower stalk are edible raw
• Can be used to make flour




• Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked
• Bitter flavour
• Good for salads
• Can be used as a preservative for beer






• Roots are edible raw; can also be steamed or boiled
• Sweet taste
• Best harvested in spring



Mountain sorrel

• Leaves are edible
• Can be eaten raw or cooked
• Leaves can be added to water and sugar for a refreshing drink






Stonecrop (sedum)

• Leaves are edible
• Best when sauteed; bitter flavour otherwise
Yellow sedum are mildly toxic



Sweet flag

• Edible rhizome
• Can be roasted or eaten raw
• Starchy and sweet





• Edible leaves and stems
• Good in teas and salads
• Mildly bitter, minty flavour




• Edible petals
• Sweet flavour
• Ideal in desserts and salads




• Edible petals and seeds
• Leaves can be cooked or added to salads
• Leaves are also good for teas




• Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked
• Good in salads
• Chicory root can be boiled and eaten like a vegetable



Unusual Edible Berries

Dogwood berry

• Grow in late summer
• Contain calcium and antioxidants
• Can be added to desserts, jams/jellies, and baking




• Can be eaten raw
• Sweet tasting
• Resemble raspberries




• Red sumac berries are edible; white sumac berries are poisonous!
• Tart, sour taste when eaten raw
• Can be used to make teas or cold drinks




• Berries can be eaten raw
• Can be added to desserts, jams/jellies, and baking
• Often added to beverages, including tea and spirits



Strawberry arbutus

• Berries can be eaten raw
• Soft, sweet, textured
• Contains vitamins and antioxidants
• Good in desserts and teas




• Unripe berries may be toxic!
• High in fibre, pectin, and antioxidants
• Can be added to teas and alcohol



Salal berries

• Native to BC; extremely common
• Often added to beverages and spirits
• Subtly sweet; good in baking and desserts




• Sweet when fully ripe
• Good in baking or with cereal and yogurt
• High in iron, calcium, and vitamin C




• Resembles an orange raspberry
• Rare; hard to find
• Good in fancy desserts or as garnishes




• Raw berries are edible, but an acquired taste
• Generally used for jams and wines
• Sweet, spicy flavour



How Can We Help?

Looking to add edible plants to your garden? Our knowledgeable, accredited Landscape Services team can help you design an effective, safe, edible ornamental garden that fits your space.

Get in touch for a free consultation!

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