The State of New Hampshire has a variety of edible wild plants, free for the picking. Some of these, such as the common dandelion, are well known but others, such as one species of cattail, may not be popularly recognized as edible. Discerning edible from non-edible plants can be difficult so the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (along with other experts) offers much guidance on the various plant species found within the state.
New Hampshire has a wide diversity of small edible plants. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services they include the broad leaf cattail and the fiddlehead fern, as well as the common dandelion. Mr. Chris Martin of the New Hampshire Public Radio notes that a variety of wild berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, are also plentiful in the state.
Many trees that produce edible fruit are found in New Hampshire. Varieties include the American Beech, which produces sweet beechnuts, and the white oak that produces edible acorns. Another tree with edible fruit that's often found in New Hampshire is the wild black cherry. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension points out that it's important to abide by all laws of the state when harvesting wild fruit and it may be illegal to collect from a native species if it's considered endangered.
Various edible mushrooms are native in New Hampshire and include the morel, the horse mushroom, and the chanterelle. Each mushroom grows in a different habitat, for example chanterelles often grow in cracks in between rocks. Mr. Devin Starlanyl of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission cautions that although many species are edible others are highly poisonous. Before consuming an unknown mushroom seek the expert guidance of a botanist or mycologist.
Many edible plants found in New Hampshire are native to the entire New England region, and not just exclusive to the state. Birds eat fruit and seeds, and winds carry seeds, sometimes for great distances. If you live in New Hampshire but are close to a state line bear in mind that some of the same edible plant species may be found in neighboring states, such as Vermont or Connecticut. Be conscious of state lines and if you forage in a neighboring area familiarize yourself with the laws of that state before removing plants.
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services: A Field Guide to Common Aquatic and Riparian Plants of New Hampshire
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Signs of Spring
- New Hampshire Public Radio: Wild Berries Abound
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Good Forestry in the Granite State
- Brandeis University: Taste of the Wild: A Guide to Edible Plants and Fungi of New England
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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