Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Edible Northwest Native Plants

Please use caution when preparing or eating any parts of a plant. Identification of the species and knowledge of a plantís toxicity are both essential before using any plant species medicinally or otherwise. Please consult with a heath professional before attempting to treat any ailment.

At right is Northwest Native Vaccinium Parvifolium (Red Huckleberry).

Botanical name

Common name


Part used


Aesculus californica Buckeye Flour Seeds Must be leached! Use ripe seeds. Roast, crush and leach for 10 days. Or bury in swampy cold ground over winter and boil in the spring. Cook as pudding.
Amelanchier alnifolia Serviceberry Pie, pudding, flavoring, pemmican Berries Leave seeds in when cooking as they add to flavor. Also dry berries and make into cakes, add to soup or vegetables for flavoring. Pound berries, mix with dried meat and animal fat, form into pemmican cakes.
Arctostaphylos Columbiana Hairy manzanita Fruit, beverage Berries Eat raw, cooked or ground into meal. Rank next to acorns in food value. A fine cider is made by crushing berries and scalding with enough water to cover. Allow to settle and pour off liquid.
Asarum caudatum Wild Ginger


Recent findings by the FDA recommend this plant is for external use only!

Camassia quamash Common camas Flavoring, vegetable or pies Bulbs Cover with water and boil until it most of liquid is evaporated. Makes natural sweetener sort of like molasses. After seeds are ripe in spring, dig roots. Cook in fire pit for 24 hours. Cooked bulbs can be flattened into a cake and dried. Early settlers made these into pies but if too much is eaten it will act as purgative and emetic.
Ceanothus sanguineus, c. thrysiflorus, c. velutinous Blueblossom, Wild lilac, Sweet bush, Buck brush Meal Seeds Dry and grind. 
Cercus occidentalis Western redbud Vegetable Buds Nice in salads or made into pickles
Cornus unalaschkensis Bunchberry Fruit Berries Eat fresh or cooked instead of blackberries.
Cornus sericea Red osier dogwood Tea Flower Can be dried and stored.
Corylus cornuta Western Hazelnut Nuts Nuts  Cure. Delicious!
Fragaria chiloensa, f. vesca, f. virginiana Coastal, Wood's and Wild strawberries Fresh fruit, jam, jelly, wine, tea Fruit and leaves Use fresh or dried. Very high in vitamin C.
Gaultheria shallon Salal Fruit Berries
Heracleum lanatum Cow parsnip Flavoring, vegetable Lower part of plant, tender leaves and flower stalks, roots Lower part of plant is used as salt substitute. Tender leaves and flower stalks can be eaten as vegetable, have a sweet flavor. Roots can be cooked like rutabaga.
Ledum glandulosum Laborador tea Tea Leaves Steep crushed green leaves. Contains vitamins, minerals and farreine.
Mahonia aquifolia, m. nervosa, m. repens Tall, Cascade and Creeping Oregon grapes Wine, jelly Berries Said to be excellent
Malus fusca Western crabapple Jam, jelly, wine Fruit Fresh or dried.
Mimulus guttatus Monkeyflower Salad Young stems and leaves
Oxalis Wood sorrel Beverage, salad Leaves Steep, drink cold. Good fresh in salad.
Pinus Pines Nuts or vegetable Nuts inside of cones, young inner bark Young inner bark can be used as survival food--pound thoroughly before eating to break up fibers.
Pinus contorta Lodgepole pine Flour Inner bark Mash into pulp. Original People put cakes between skunk cabbage leaves, made fire of wet material and bake for an hour or more, then smoke, pressed firm and used on trips.
Polygonum glycyrrhiza Licorice fern Vegetable Roots, leaves Roast or boil young roots. Use old roots same as rhubarb. Cook young leaves in soups, eat raw as salad.
Prunus subcordata Klamath plum Jam, jelly, wine Berries Fresh but don't crush seeds, they contain cyanide
Prunus virginana Chokecherry Jam, jelly, wine, flour, vegetable Berries, young shoots Use berries fresh but don't crush seeds, they contain cyanide. To make flour, leach out acid by pouring water through berries in basket, grind, dry, then boil. Young shoots can be eaten as vegetable.
Quercus Oaks Flour Acorns Shell, dry, grind. Original Peoples put this meal into a sand hollow, cover with twigs of Douglas Fir, Cedar or White Fir to break force of water poured over to leach the meal. A sieve could be used instead. This was done about 10 times. To remove meal, a hand was pressed into it and the adhering meal put in a basket. Any sand in the meal was washed out by pouring water through basket. Leaching through Cedar gives good flavor. Meal used for soup, bread and pudding. One kind of bread made by wrapping dough in fern leaves and baking in hot ashes.
Rhus glabra Smooth sumac Beverage Berries Can be dried to preserve. Gather before rain washes off downy covering.
Ribes aureum, Ribes cereum Golden currant, Red currant Jam, jelly, wine Fruit Do not store in metal container! Will create deadly poison! Very nice fruit when cooked or fermented.
Rosa gymnocarpa, r. nutkana, r. pisocarpa, r. woodsii Bald-hip, nootka, pea-fruit, wood's roses Jam, jelly, wine, sweet, tea, vitamin supplement, vegetable Hips, petals To make a sweet using fresh petals, paint each petal with egg white/water mixture and dust with superfine sugar. Dry. Use for garnish in desserts, especially cakes. Dried hips are extremely high in vitamin C, good source of beta carotene (vitamin A) bioflavinoids, pectin. Use them wherever you'd like a sweetener. Dried hips are tasty as tea--boil, covered, about 10 minutes until hips burst using 2 tablespoons per pint of water. Save hips after making tea to enjoy as vegetable with butter and salt.
Rubus leucodermis, r. parviflorus, r. spectabilia, r. vitifolius Blackcap, thimbleberry, salmonberry, blackberry Fruit Berries Sweet and delicious, best fresh but can be canned or frozen
Sambucus mexicana Blue Elderberry Desserts Flowers, fully ripe berries
WARNING! Leaves, stems, twigs and roots of these plants are poisonous!
Wonderful dessert for special occasions: remove fresh flowers from big stems, keeping little ones to hold clusters together. Dip into batter and fry. Good with orange juice squeezed over top and sprinkled with sugar. Fresh berries are acquired taste. Dried berries are good, use as raisins, higher in vitamin C than oranges, good calcium and potassium. Dried flowers are good tea--pick in bunches and dry in shade for 2 weeks, brush petals off stems and continue drying until first frost. Pour 1 qt hot water over 1 cup dried flowers.
Umbellularia californica Oregon myrtle, California bay Flavoring, vegetable Leaves, fruit Leaves are good flavoring in stews, roasted meats. Fruits are nice roasted and eaten as vegetable.
Vaccinium caespitosum, v. membranaceum, v. ovalifolium, v. ovatum, v. parvifolium Huckleberries: Dwarf, Mountain, Oval Leaf, Evergreen, Red Fruit, pies, puddings, tea, wine Berries Some think huckleberries are better than any other berry! Use fresh or dried.
Vitis californica Wild grape Tea, wine, vinegar Fruit, cut vines Fruit is delicious fresh or dried, in tea or wine or vinegar, jellies, jams. Vines can be cut and liquid sucked out for survival.

Thank you to the following references for their invaluable information:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The University of Texas at Austin, http://www.wildflower.org

Contact:  star@chillirose.com ~ Copyright 2012 © Wallace W. Hansen ~ All rights reserved