Michigan is full of wild edible plants, flowers, mushrooms: What to know

Across Michigan, there are several varieties of nuts, berries, and mushrooms that are safe for consumption. Many are often found in the state throughout the summer and early fall. edible plants

Wild Violet

Wild violets, while edible, come in many varieties and some taste better than others. According to the University of Minnesota, the blue-violet is most often harvested for consumption. It is characterized by five petals, a butterfly shape, and shades of blue.

Violet leaves and flowers are edible. The leaves taste like lettuce or sweet peas, making them great additions to a salad. The flowers have a sweet and floral taste to them.

They can often be found in shaded areas with moist soils and typically start budding in mid-May.’

The blue violet.


Almost the entirety of a dandelion is safe for consumption, according to Michigan State University. The stem is the only inedible part due to the bitter substance within.

Dandelions contain many nutritional benefits such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The flowers can be fresh or dried and are good on salads or in pancakes.

The leaves can also be beneficial despite having a slightly bitter taste. They can be consumed while fresh on a salad or they can be cooked to reduce the bitter flavor, making a good addition to a baked potato. Dandelion leaves are also often sauteed with olive oil or garlic before being served.

The dandelion roots are also edible but have very little favor and are best cooked with other vegetables. Once out of the ground, they must be thoroughly cleaned and boiled before being added to dishes such as soups and stews.


Wild Asparagus

In Michigan, asparagus season typically starts in late April or early May and lasts until late June. They typically grow in full sun, or near it and they are often spotted near water sources.

Asparagus, classified as a perennial, is a vegetable packed with fiber, calcium, iron and other vitamins and minerals.


Wild Berries

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), various wild berries in the state are safe for consumption including:

  • Blueberries — Wild blueberries typically ripen in mid to late summer and contain antioxidants and vitamin C. They can often be found in short shrubs with pointed leaves and pinkish-white flowers.
  • Brambles — Berries in the bramble family include raspberries, blackberries, and thimbleberries. They are easily identifiable and often spotted in clusters.
  • Elderberries — Elderberry bushes are often found in shaded and moist environments near lakeshores or wetlands. The star-shaped flowers cluster together and change from a cream color to a dark purple as it ripens.
  • Juneberries — The purplish fruits can often be found throughout the month of June. They can often be found throughout Michigan forests near maple, oak, and pine trees. Juneberries have a flavor similar to the taste of blueberries.
  • Juniper — There are two types of juniper berries that can be harvested including the common juniper and eastern red cedar. Juniper berries grow on female plants about the size of a peppercorn and are known for their flavorful spice. They are usually used when dried to flavor meat and beverages.
Blueberries edible plant

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