Foraging Identification Guides

We’ve put together quite a few identification guides to help you when foraging for plants, mushrooms & seaweeds.

These guides can be used to help you develop and are best used alongside some hands-on learning which we can help you with on one of our wild food and foraging courses.

The information provided below is made to act as a guide, when foraging for yourself you are ultimately in control of what you do and eat. Remember to only eat what you’re 100% certain of.

If there are any extra guides you’d like to see made or updated then please let us know by getting in touch here.

If you'd like to learn more why not join us on a Foraging Course

We Cover Plants, Trees, Mushrooms and Seaweeds and run throughout the UK

Use the search bar below to search for something very specific you’re looking for and it will display everything we have linked to that. For example I’m looking for information of Douglas Fir – if I type it in below I’ll get identification guides, recipes and any other posts linked to it.

Or you can use the tabs below to see our entire catalogue of just identification guides. They are separated into: Plants & Trees, Mushrooms & Seaweeds. These are arranged in Alphabetical order and there are quick links at the top of the guides to look for something specific a bit more clearly. We truly hope that they’re useful to you 🙂

  • All
  • Alexanders
  • Arctium lappa
  • ash
  • Asteraceae
  • autumn
  • Beech
  • Black Mustard
  • blackberry
  • bluebell
  • borage
  • Boraginaceae
  • Borago Officinalis
  • Brassica nigra
  • Brassicaceae
  • Broad Leaved Plantain
  • burdock
  • Charlock Mustard
  • edible
  • edible flowers
  • Fagus sylvatica
  • Fraxinus excelsior
  • fruit
  • Hyacinthoides Nonscripta
  • Plantaginaceae
  • Plantago major
  • plantain
  • Plants
  • Rubus Fruticosus
  • Sinapis arvensis
  • Smyrnium Olusatrum
  • spring
  • summer
  • toxic
  • tree
  • winter

Alexanders (Smyrnium Olusatrum) Identification

Alexanders / spring / summer / autumn / winter / edible   How to Identify Alexanders Common Names: Alexanders, horse parsley, alisanders and smyrnium. Botanical Name: Smyrnium Olusatrum Meaning of Botanical Name: Smyrnuim indicates the plants distinct myrrh-like aromatics. While Olusatrum comes from Olus meaning garden herb and Atrum from…

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) Identification

Common Names Ash, Common Ash, European Ash. Botanical Name Fraxinus excelsior Scientific Classification Kingdom – Plantae Order – Lamiales Family – OleaceaeGenus – Fraxinus Known Hazards None known.  Could be Confused with… Rowan or elder but elder has fewer leaflets and rowan’s leaves are serrated. Habitat One of the most…

Beech (Fagus sylvatica) Identification

BEECH / SPRING / SUMMER / AUTUMN / EDIBLE COMMON NAMES Common Beech, European Beech BOTANICAL NAME Fagus sylvatica SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION Kingdom – Plantae Order – Fagales Family – Fagaceae Genus – Fagus KNOWN HAZARDS There is some evidence to suggest that they shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities as…

Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) Identification

Black Mustard / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Common and Latin Names: Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) Harvest Season: Late Spring to Summer these plants will be out in flower, leaf and seed, sometimes with a small revival in early Autumn. Habitat: They have been cultivated widely, and therefore…

Blackberry (Rubus Fruticosus) Identification

Blackberry / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible How to Identify Blackberries and Brambles Common Names Blackberry, Brambles Latin Name Rubus Fruticosus Known Hazards The stem of this plant contains many thorns and spikes, it’s almost impossible to walk through brambles and it’s fairly common to catch or even…

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides Nonscripta) Identification

Bluebells / Spring / Poisonous Common names Bluebell Botanical Name Hyacinthoides Nonscripta Known Hazards The whole plant is toxic Could be confused with Three cornered leek, Snow drops when young shoots are emerging Range and Distribution Fairly common throughout UK and Western Europe.  Habitat Woodland garden in dappled shade, shady…

Borage (Borago Officinalis) Identification

Borage / Spring / Summer / Edible Borage (Borago Officinalis) Identification A common annual, flowering plant. The leaves, stems  and flowers are all edible. Common Names Borage, Star Flower, Herb of Courage. Botanical Name Borago Officinalis Scientific Classification Kingdom – Plantae Order – Boraginales Family – Boraginaceae Physical Characteristics for…

Broad Leaved Plantain (Plantago major) Identification

Broadleaf Plantain / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Scientific Name Plantago major Family Plantaginaceae Also known as White man’s footprint  Habitat Found in Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, northern and central Asia. Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground,…

Burdock (Arctium lappa) Identification

Burdock / Autumn / Winter / Edible Scientific Name Arctium lappa Family Asteraceae Also known as Gobo root, Beggar’s Buttons, Thorny Burr, Happy Major. Habitat Native to the temperate regions, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, and from the British Isles through Russia, and the Middle East to India, China, Taiwan…

Charlock Mustard (Sinapis arvensis) Identification

Charlock Mustard/ Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Common and Latin Names: Charlock Mustard (Sinapis arvensis) Harvest Season: Late Spring to Summer these plants will be out in flower, leaf and seed, sometimes with a small revival in early Autumn. Habitat: They have been cultivated widely, and therefore have…

  • All
  • amethyst deceiver
  • angel wings
  • Aniseed Funnel
  • artist bracket
  • artist conk
  • autumn
  • beechwood
  • beefsteak
  • birch polypore
  • Bitter Bolete
  • Black Trompette
  • Boletales
  • bolete
  • boletus
  • Bovine Bolete
  • bracket
  • Cantharellaceae
  • Clitocybe Odora
  • Craterellus Cornucopioides
  • edible
  • fistulina hepatica
  • fungus
  • funnel
  • Ganoderma Applanatum
  • Ganodermataceae
  • grey oyster
  • horse mushroom
  • inedible
  • Marasmiaceae
  • medicinal
  • medicine
  • mushroom
  • mushrooms
  • olive oysterling
  • oyster
  • pine
  • Pleurocybella porrigens
  • russula
  • Russula Nobilis
  • sickener
  • silver birch
  • spring
  • Suillaceae
  • Suillus Bovinus
  • summer
  • Tricholomataceae
  • Tylopilus Felleus
  • winter

Amethyst Deceiver Mushrooms (Laccaria amethystina) Identification

Amethyst Deceiver/Summer/Autumn/Edible Scientific Name Laccaria amethystina Family Hydnangiaceae Habitat This mushroom, common in temperate areas of Europe, Asia and the Americas’ grows in deciduous as well as coniferous forests. I find them mostly with beech or oak. It appears in late summer through to early winter. Description This is quite a changeable mushroom and…

Angel Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens) Identification

Angel Wings / Spring / Summer / Autumn / None Edible How to Identify Angel Wings Common Names: Angel Wings Botanical Name: Pleurocybella porrigens Meaning of Botanical Name: Pleurocybella meaning side by side, porrigens meaning stretching out sideways Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Fungi, Division: Basidiomycota, Class: Agaricomycetes, Order: Agaricales, Family: Marasmiaceae…

Aniseed Funnel (Clitocybe Odora) Identification

Aniseed Funnel / Summer / Autumn / Edible   Scientific Name Clitocybe Odora Common Names Aniseed Funnel, Aniseed Toadstool Family Tricholomataceae Habitat They can be found amongst the leaf litter of broadleaved trees, most often beech, they are occasionally found with conifers too. Description  A fairly common mushroom in the…

Artist Bracket (Ganoderma Applanatum) Identification

Artist Bracket / All Year Round / Edible Scientific Name Ganoderma Applanatum Common Names Artist Bracket, Artist Conk, Bear Bread. Family Ganodermataceae Habitat Common on dead wood, logs and stumps, often in tiered groups. Most commonly found on hardwoods such as Oak and Beech but they do sometimes appear on…

Beechwood sickener( Russula Nobilis) – Identification

Beechwood Sickener/Summer/Autumn/Inedible Scientific Name Russula Nobilis Family Russulaceae Habitat Beech woodland Description A distinctive red capped Brittlegill mushroom growing in beech woodlands, as the name suggests its not edible and causes stomach upsets and vomiting. Identifying Features for The Beechwood Sickener: Cap: Convex to flattening sometimes slightly depressed in the…

Beefsteak Fungus (Fistulina Hepatica) – Identification

Beefsteak Fungus/Summer/Autumn/Edible Scientific Name Fistulina Hepatica Family Fistulinaceae Habitat Growing on dead or damaged oak often low down the trunk or stump Description A medium to large bracket fungus growing low down on dead oak and sweet chestnut that is red to pink on the top of the bracket with…

Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulina) Identification

 Birch Polypore /All Year/ Medicinal/ Edible Common Name Birch Polypore, Razor Strop Fungus.   Scientific Name Piptoporus Betulina Family Fomitopsidaceae Habitat & Lookalikes Birch polypore grows primarily on birch trees and has no look-alikes. You can sometimes find them in big clusters all over trees also. Description A large bracket…

Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus Felleus) Identification

Bitter Bolete / Summer / Autumn / In-Edible   Scientific Name Tylopilus Felleus Common Names Bitter Bolete Family Boletales Habitat In any type of woodland but most often found in and around deciduous trees particularly Beech and Oak. Description  A non-toxic member of the Bolete family, but one to avoid…

Black Trompette Aka Trumpet of death (Craterellus Cornucopioides) Identification

Black Trompette / Summer / Autumn / Edible Scientific name Craterellus Cornucopioides Family Cantharellaceae Habitat Grows mainly with Beech and oak trees, on calcareous soils, preferring mossy patches. It occurs from August to November, more often favouring the cooler late autumn months. Description These mushrooms are incredibly hard to spot…

Bovine Bolete (Suillus Bovinus) Identification

Bovine Bolete / Summer / Autumn / Edible Scientific Name Suillus Bovinus Common Names Bovine Bolete, Jersey Cow fungus. Family Suillaceae Habitat Mycorrhizal with coniferous trees most often growing with Pine. Description  Part of the wider Boletales order the Suillus species are mostly associated with Pines and other coniferous trees.…

  • All
  • Alexanders
  • autumn
  • Black Mustard
  • Brassica nigra
  • Brassicaceae
  • Carpobrotus edulis
  • Charlock Mustard
  • coastal
  • Crithmum maritimum
  • hotten tot fig
  • marsh samphire
  • rock samphire
  • sea arrowgrass
  • sea corriander
  • Sea Purslane
  • sea rosemary
  • sea spray
  • Sinapis arvensis
  • Smyrnium Olusatrum
  • spring
  • summer
  • winter

Alexanders (Smyrnium Olusatrum) Identification

Alexanders / spring / summer / autumn / winter / edible   How to Identify Alexanders Common Names: Alexanders, horse parsley, alisanders and smyrnium. Botanical Name: Smyrnium Olusatrum Meaning of Botanical Name: Smyrnuim indicates the plants distinct myrrh-like aromatics. While Olusatrum comes from Olus meaning garden herb and Atrum from…

Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) Identification

Black Mustard / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Common and Latin Names: Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) Harvest Season: Late Spring to Summer these plants will be out in flower, leaf and seed, sometimes with a small revival in early Autumn. Habitat: They have been cultivated widely, and therefore…

Charlock Mustard (Sinapis arvensis) Identification

Charlock Mustard/ Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Common and Latin Names: Charlock Mustard (Sinapis arvensis) Harvest Season: Late Spring to Summer these plants will be out in flower, leaf and seed, sometimes with a small revival in early Autumn. Habitat: They have been cultivated widely, and therefore have…

Hotten-tot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis) Identification

Hotten-Tot Fig / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter / Edible Common Names Sour Fig/Ice Plant (The name Hottentot Fig is also known, but foragers should be aware that this name has colonial and racist history in South Africa where the plant originated) Latin Name Carpobrotus edulis, Aizoaceae (Fig-Marigold…

Identify Marsh Samphire

Marsh Samphire (Salicornia europaea) How to Identify Marsh Samphire Edible Common Names Samphire, Sea beans, salt fingers, glasswort Botanical NameSalicornia europaea Could be confused withOther glasswort plants. Potential to pick Sea Spray whilst picking marsh samphire, not to worry – it’s edible too Range and DistributionWestern Europe’s coasts including England…

Identify Sea Arrowgrass

Sea Arrowgrass (Triglochin maritima) How to Identify Sea Arrowgrass Edible Botanical NameTriglochin maritima Known HazardsThe more green parts of the leaves store hydrocyanic acid which is practically cyanide, which can interfere with oxygen intake within the body, this is typically present during and after a draught. These amounts are typically…

Identify Sea Purslane

Sea Purslane (Halimione portulacoides ) How to Identify Sea Purslane Edible Botanical NameHalimione portulacoides Could be confused withHabitat and look make this plant near impossible to confuse with anything. Range and DistributionTemperate regions of Europe including the UK, Asia and Northern Africa HabitatCoastal areas, specifically salt marshes and sandy areas…

Identify Sea Spray

Sea Spray (Suaeda maritima) How to Identify Sea Blite  Edible Scientific NameSuaeda Maritima  FamilyAmaranthaceae Also known asSeepweed, Seaspray, Sea Rosemary (we’re trying to rename it Sea Samphire as its uses are so similar to that of Marsh Samphire) HabitatIt grows on salt marshes around the world, native to some places…

Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) Identification

Rock Samphire / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible How to Identify Rock Samphire Common Names Samphire, Stone Samphire, Rock Samphire, Sea Fennel Botanical Name Crithmum maritimum Could be confused with None, however, it is in the Umbelifer family so be sure to double-check identification Range and Distribution Coastal…

Scurvy Grass (Cochlearia officinalis) identification

Scurvy Grass / spring / summer / autumn / winter / edible Common Name: Common Scurvy Grass, Danish Scurvy Grass, English Scurvy Grass Latin Name Cochlearia officinalis Family Brassicaceae. Growing on rock near a salt water body Season There is a scurvy grass for most of the growing season, and…

  • All
  • autumn
  • bladderwrack seaweed
  • channel wrack seaweed
  • dulse
  • edible
  • Fucus serratus
  • Fucus vesiculosus
  • Himanthalia elongata
  • kelp
  • Laminaria digitata
  • Laminaria species
  • laver
  • Oarweed
  • Osmundea pinnatifida
  • palaria palmata
  • Pelvetia canaliculata
  • pepper dulse
  • Porphyra umbilicalis
  • Sea Lettuce Seaweed
  • sea spaghetti
  • seaweed
  • Serrated Wrack Seaweed
  • spring
  • summer
  • Ulva Lactuca
  • winter

Bladderwrack Seaweed (Fucus vesiculosus) Identification

Bladderwrack / All Year / Edible Other Common Names: Rockweed, Seawrack Latin Name: Fucus vesiculosus Harvest Season and Technique Notes: You will probably see bladderwrack all year around. Make sure to cut what you gather away from the rest of the colony to avoid damaging its chances of reproducing but…

Channel Wrack Seaweed (Pelvetia canaliculata) Identification

Channel Wrack / All Year Round / Edible Latin Name: Pelvetia canaliculata Physical Characteristics: Brown seaweed with a dark, wiry stem opening out into a handful of fronds, each roughly 5-15cm long. The fronds form swollen V-shaped tips that are much lighter in colour, approaching yellow. The fronds each have…

Dulse Seaweed (Palmaria palmata) Identification

Dulse Seaweed / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Other Common Names: Red seaweed, Dillisk, Vegan’s Bacon, Creathnach Latin Name: Palmaria palmata – Palmariaceae Harvest Season: From April to November you should find plenty. Best to time your harvest for the two hours around the lowest tide, ideally at one…

Kelp Seaweed (Laminaria species) Identification

Kelp / All Seasons / Edible Other Common Names: Kelp refers to a group of brown seaweeds that have a very sturdy, handlike holdfast, a long stipe (stalk), long fronds and a tendency to grow in dense clumps that look like underground forests in the right conditions. Thus, there are…

Laver Seaweed (Porphyra spp) Identification

Laver / All Year Round / Edible Other Common Names: Nori (but not the varieties found in Britain) Latin Name: Porphyra spp, including umbilicalis, leucosticta, linearis. All these species are edible and functionally the same, and often professionals in science and foraging struggle to distinguish the precise species from each…

Oarweed Seaweed (Laminaria digitata) Identification

Oarweed / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Other Common Names: Tangle, Red Ware, Sea Girdle, Leath Latin Name: Laminaria digitata Harvest Season: April – October. As with all seaweeds, only take fronds that look healthy, fresh and free of infection, biofilm and other blemishes. Habitat: Kelps grow in…

Pepper Dulse (Osmundea pinnatifida) Identification

Pepper Dulse / spring / summer / autumn / winter / edible Other Common Names: Truffle of the Sea Latin Name: Osmundea pinnatifida Harvest Season and Technique Notes: This seaweed is one of the easiest to get mixed up with other red/brown seaweeds that also branch and share the same…

Sea Lettuce Seaweed (Ulva lactuca) Identification

Sea Lettuce / All Year Round / Edible Other Common Names: Sea Salad Latin Name: Ulva lactuca Harvest Season: Often to be found washed up in the rock pools, sometimes you will be lucky enough to come upon a garden of sea lettuce growing altogether. Late spring to late Autumn…

Sea Spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata) Identification

Sea Spaghetti / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible Other Common Names: Thongweed Latin Name: Himanthalia elongata Harvest Season and Notes: From April-October the long strands will be growing – harvest them before they have developed too many spots which is the site of gamete (reproductive cells) release. Habitat:…

Serrated Wrack (Fucus serratus) Identification

Serrated Wrack / All Year Round / Edible Other Common Names: Toothed wrack, Saw wrack Latin Name: Fucus serratus Physical Characteristics: A larger wrack that can grow to 60cm long. This is a brown seaweed with dark, wiry stems and slightly lighter, flat straplike fronds with distinctive serrations or teeth…