A quick update: Wineberries, Milkweed, and Evening Primrose.

It has been a while since I posted anything, so here is a quick update on some of the foraging and related activities that I have been doing.

Close up photo of me picking wineberries.
Wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius)

After a disappointing harvest last year, I managed to gather 4 or 5 quarts of wineberries this year. While I don’t like their flavor quite as well as red or black raspberries, they taste pretty good (especially when almost over ripe) and they make great deserts.

Close up photo of me picking a common milkweed pod.
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) pod.

Common milkweed has numerous edible parts available throughout the growing season. This is my first year trying them, and I have to say they are equal to any commercial vegetable. I plan on growing a large patch of them when I have a piece of land. Samuel Thayer covers them in his book and his DVD, both titled The Forager’s Harvest. The DVD shows a lot of useful tips on harvest and preparation, while the book goes into more detail about inedible plants that could be confused with it and why there is no need to boil it in multiple changes of water as is often stated.

Photo from March of evening primrose (Oenothera species), staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina).
Photo from early March of evening primrose (Oenothera species) rosette on left, staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) on right.

Above is a photo from my post from March 2nd about planting a minimal forage garden in a pot. Well the staghorn sumac tree didn’t survive the transplant, but the evening primrose is doing well. It is now taller than I am, and has started flowering.

Close up of me holding evening primrose flowers and flower buds.
Evening primrose (Oenothera Biennis) flowers and flower buds.

This is the tip of one of the lower branches on the evening primrose stalk. The flowers and flower buds are my favorite part of the plant. Evening primrose is another wild edible covered in The Forager’s Harvest that produces multiple edible products throughout the year.

Thanks for reading, I hope to have some more book reviews up soon.

Nate

* any pictures or descriptions of plants (or fungi) or information about them is provided for your information and inspiration. I highly recommend foraging, but buy yourself a reliable guide like either of Samuel Thayer’s books from Forager’s Harvest Press.

** I rely heavily on Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer, and to a lesser extent Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by Steve Brill, as well as Abundantly Wild by Theresa Marrone. All of these books are quite good, however I find Thayer’s work to be the most reliable and detailed.

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5 thoughts on “A quick update: Wineberries, Milkweed, and Evening Primrose.

  1. Hey Nathan,
    I am a less experienced forager. I read your post on mayapples with great interest (I have some growing in my shade garden and only recently learned they are edible). What you call wineberries I thought were an invasive known as beautyberries. Are they the ones that almost pop right off the stem and leave a hole in the middle, much like a raspberry? I was pulling them out of my yard (they are everywhere), but now I think I might reconsider. I really liked the taste. Anyway, I really enjoy your foraging posts.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post on mayapples, one of my favorite plants (even if I personally can eat the fruit).

      I am not familiar with beautyberries, but a quick internet search turned up a different plant with purple berries. What I am calling wineberries are Rubus phoenicolasius. They have arching canes with straight thorns, and red hairs on them. The fruit has an annoying waxy coating on the outside and pulls off leaving a yellow or orange cone and a hole in the fruit.

      Wineberries are a non-native invasive. I gather mine from several places, but mostly from a public park, so I don’t control what grows there. When my family owns some land we will have to decide how to manage it. I wouldn’t plant it, but if it was already there, it probably wouldn’t be first on my list of plants to attempt to remove. When I would remove it I would make sure to replace it with a (or better yet several) native species that also provide food for people and wildlife.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment,
      Nate

    1. Nice. I tried my first dewberry this year, it wasn’t very goof, but I think it was too early in the season. Maybe next year. I was expecting a big harvest from the blackberries this year, but I think the heat got to them.

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