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
  • ash
  • Beech
  • blackberry
  • clover
  • Daisy
  • Dandelion
  • Douglas fir
  • edible
  • fir
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Hairy Bitter Cress
  • Hawthorn
  • Herb Robert
  • nettle
  • pine
  • sea kale
  • spring
  • spruce
  • Sticky Weed
  • summer
  • wild garlic
  • Willowherb
  • yew

1 Dandelion Identification (Taraxacum officinale )

Dandelion Botanical Name Taraxacum officinale Known Hazards Dandelion root tea is sometimes taken to increase people’s appetite, what it also does is release sugar into the blood, so as a diabetic it is worth keeping this in mind if you’re planning to drink dandelion root tea. Those with very sensitive…

1. Identify Sea Kale

 Sea Kale / Edible / Spring / Summer / Autumn Scientific Name: Crambe Maritima Family: BrassicaceaeAlso known as: Crambe.Habitat: Some coastal regions of the Black and Baltic Seas and North western Europe, but absent in the Mediteranean.  It grows above the tide line, preferring sandy or shingle beaches Description: Crambe maritima…

1. Wild Garlic Identification (Allium Ursinum)

How to Identify Wild Garlic Edible Botanical Name Allium Ursinum Known Hazards Reports of toxicity if eating sacks full, but such outcomes no doubt apply to many foods eaten to excess. Could be confused with The leaves could potentially be confused with both the poisonous leaves of Lilly of the…

10 Things to Forage in your Garden

Foraging doesn’t only take place in the wildest places you can imagine – there’s a wilderness in everyone’s gardens, balconies or even on your lunch break walk.  Go out into your garden and have a look around, even if you’ve got a concrete heaven for a garden, I can guarantee…

Blackberry Identification (Rubus Fruticosus)

How to Identify Blackberries and Brambles 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 rip clothing when around brambles. Range and Distribution A type or hybrid of blackberry can be found…

Clovers – Trifolium repens

Clovers / Edible / Spring / Summer   Common Name:Clover Latin Name:trefoil spp Season:March – August (Spring/Summer) Could be Confused with:Could be confused with Wood Sorrel or other Clovers, i.e. white confused for red clover when not in flower, the only thing to be mainly wary of that grows in…

How to tell the difference between Douglas Fir, Spruce and Pine Trees

HOW TO IDENTIFY FIR, SPRUCE, AND PINE TREES Fir, Spruce, and Pine make fine wild edibles if you know how to identify them. Edible parts include the spring growth of green tips and young cones as well as the tree pollen. From pine you can also get pine nuts but…

Identify Alexanders

Alexanders (Smyrnium Olusatrum ) How to Identify Alexanders Edible 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 the Latin ater, atrum, adjective atro, meaning…

Identify Ash

COMMON NAMESAsh, Common Ash, European Ash. BOTANICAL NAMEFraxinus excelsior. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS               Stems – Light grey bark, that fissures with age, the stems are smooth with distinctive black buds, which are arranged in opposite pairs.    Leaves -Large compound leaves, up to 40 cm long,…

Identify Beech

BEECH / SPRING / SUMMER / AUTUMN / EDIBLE COMMON NAMES Common Beech, European Beech BOTANICAL NAME Fagus sylvatica PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Root –  Unknown. Stems/Bark – They have smooth silver/grey bark.     Leaves – The leaves are lime green, with wavy edges. They are around 5-10 cm long, grow…

  • All
  • Amanita
  • amethyst deceiver
  • bay bolete
  • beefsteak fungus
  • birch polypore
  • boletus
  • chicken of the woods
  • Daisy
  • Dandelion
  • death cap
  • destroying angel
  • Garlic Mustard
  • giant polypore
  • Hairy Bitter Cress
  • Hawthorn
  • Herb Robert
  • Morels
  • mushroom
  • nettle
  • silver birch
  • Sticky Weed
  • Willowherb

10 Things to Forage in your Garden

Foraging doesn’t only take place in the wildest places you can imagine – there’s a wilderness in everyone’s gardens, balconies or even on your lunch break walk.  Go out into your garden and have a look around, even if you’ve got a concrete heaven for a garden, I can guarantee…

Giant Polypore Mushroom

Giant / Blackening Polypore / Summer/ Autumn / Edible   Botanical NameMeripilus giganteus Also Known asBlackening Polypore, Black-staining Polypore Range and DistributionThis fungus is common across Europe, Scandinavia and Russia and is also recorded in Turkey and Iran. A similar species, Meripilus Sumstinei, grows in North America.  HabitatThis fungus grows…

Identify Amethyst Deceiver Mushrooms

Amethyst Deceiver/Summer/Autumn/Edible Scientific NameLaccaria amethystina FamilyHydnangiaceae HabitatThis 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. DescriptionThis is quite a changeable mushroom and can appear different depending…

Identify Bay Boletes

Bay Bolete/Mushroom/Autumn/Edible Scientific NameImleria badia  FamilyBoletaceae HabitatFairly common in the UK and Europe, also found in the USA. We find this mushroom mostly growing with spruce and pine but it also sometimes grows with beech and oak. DescriptionThe common name refers to the colour of the cap which is a…

Identify Beefsteak Fungus Mushroom

Beef Steak Fungus/ Autumn/ Winter/ Edible Common namesBeef Steak, Ox Tongue Botanical nameFistulina Hepatica Meaning of botanical nameFistulina, refers to the underside of this mushroom and its separate small tubes or pores. Hepatica means it’s liver like.  Known hazardsNone know  Could be confused with..Inonotus hispidus, the Shaggy Bracket ( which…

Identify Birch Polypore

 Birch Polypore /All Year/ Medicinal/ Edible     Scientific NameFomitopsis betulina FamilyFomitopsidaceae Also known asRazor Strop Fungus. HabitatBirch polypore grows primarily on birch trees, and has no look-alikes.  DescriptionA large bracket develops from a small white spherical swelling on the side of dead or living birch trees. Very common in…

Identify Black Morels

Black Morels/Spring/ Edible   Scientific NameMorchella elata FamilyMorchellaceae HabitatEurope, including Britain, temperate regions of Asia, North Africa, North America. They grow in varied habitat –  Fields, hedgerows, open woodland, clearings and waste ground and burnt ground. They often turn up in fresh wood chippings put down as mulch in gardens,…

Identify Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

Chicken Of The Woods/Summer/Autumn/Edible Common NamesChicken of the woods, sulphur polypore, giant canary fan Botanical NameLaetiporus sulphureus Meaning of Botanical NameLatiporus is derived from the Latin words Laet, meaning bright or pleasing and Por meaning pores. Sulphureus relates to the bright sulphur colour. Translating to bright and pleasing pores of…

Identify Death Cap

Death cap / Summer/ Winter/ Deadly Common Name Death Cap None Edible Deadly Toxic!! Botanical Name Amanita Phalloides Meaning of Botanical Name Phalloides referes to the shape of the young mushroom emerging from its egg sack. Family Amanitaceae Known Hazards DEADLY, this mushroom contains amotoxin, which in the first 6-12…

Identify Destroying Angel

Destroying Angel/ Summer/ Autumn/ Deadly poisonous Common NameDestroying Angel Botanical NameAmanita virosa Meaning of Botanical NameVirosa referring to its strongly sweet sickly unpleasant smell FamilyAmanitaceae Known HazardsDEADLY, this mushroom contains amotoxin, which in the first 6-12 hours after eating cause severe gastric upsets, those symptoms pass and the consumer is…