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
  • Angelica
  • Angelica sylvestris
  • Apiaceae
  • Arum maculatum
  • ash
  • Atropa belladonna
  • autumn
  • Beech
  • berries
  • berry
  • Black Bryony
  • Black Mustard
  • blackberry
  • Blackcurrant
  • bluebell
  • Brassica nigra
  • carrot family
  • Cassis
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Dioscorea communis
  • Dioscoreaceae
  • edible
  • Euonymous europaeus
  • Fagus sylvatica
  • Fraxinus excelsior
  • fruit
  • Grossulariaceae
  • Hyacinthoides Nonscripta
  • Lords and Ladies
  • plant
  • poison
  • Ribes nigrum
  • Rubus Fruticosus
  • Smyrnium Olusatrum
  • Spindle
  • spring
  • summer
  • Tamus communis
  • Taxus Baccata
  • toxic
  • tree
  • umbellifer
  • Wild Angelica
  • winter
  • yew

5 of the most toxic berries found in the UK

5 of the most toxic berries found in the UK In summer and autumn time the hedgerows and woods of the UK really come alive with colour, berries of almost every conceivable colour appear, but how do you know which ones are good to eat and which to avoid? As…

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…

Angelica (Angelica sylvestris) Foraging Guide

Angelica / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible A common, annual and edible member of the Carrot or Umbellifer family. It’s not the easiest plant to ID as its leaves look a little like Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) so care must be taken. Common Names Angelica, Wild Angelica…

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 Bryony (Dioscorea communis) Identification Guide

Black Bryony / Summer / Toxic A toxic member of the Yam family, it’s quite a common sight in summer and autumn, all parts are poisonous. It’s a climber and can grow up to 4m each year. Common Names Black Bryony, Lady’s-seal or Black bindweed Botanical Name Dioscorea communis or…

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…

Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) Identification Guide

Blackcurrant / Summer / Edible An easy to identify member of the Gooseberry family with edible fruits. It’s a medium-sized shrub, growing up to 1.5m tall. Common Names Blackcurrant, Cassis Botanical Name Ribes nigrum Scientific Classification Kingdom – Plantae Order – Saxifragales Family – Grossulariaceae Physical Characteristics for Blackcurrant Leaves…

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…

  • All
  • amethyst deceiver
  • angel wings
  • Aniseed Funnel
  • artist bracket
  • artist conk
  • autumn
  • Autumn Truffle
  • beechwood
  • beefsteak
  • birch polypore
  • Bitter Bolete
  • Black Truffle
  • Boletales
  • bolete
  • boletus
  • bracket
  • Burgundy truffle
  • Clitocybe Odora
  • edible
  • fistulina hepatica
  • fungi
  • fungus
  • funnel
  • Ganoderma Applanatum
  • Ganodermataceae
  • gourmet
  • grey oyster
  • horse mushroom
  • inedible
  • Marasmiaceae
  • medicinal
  • medicine
  • mushroom
  • mushrooms
  • olive oysterling
  • oyster
  • Pleurocybella porrigens
  • russula
  • Russula Nobilis
  • sickener
  • silver birch
  • spring
  • summer
  • Summer Truffle
  • Tricholomataceae
  • truffle
  • truffles
  • Tuber aestivum
  • Tuber borchii
  • Tuber magnatum
  • Tuber melanosporum
  • Tuber uncinatum
  • Tuberaceae
  • Tylopilus Felleus
  • White Truffle
  • Whitish Truffle
  • 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…

An Introduction to Truffles

Truffles, an introduction One of the most commonly asked questions when we are running courses is ‘Will we find any Truffles today?’ unfortunately my answer is almost always no, through this guide we’re going to look at An Introduction to Truffles incase you happen to be lucky enough to stumble…

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…

Autumn Truffle (Tuber uncinatum) Identification 

Autumn Truffle / Autumn / Winter / Edible Scientific Name Tuber uncinatum Common Names Autumn Truffle, Burgundy truffle Family Tuberaceae Habitat They are mycorrhizal and grow just beneath the surface near oaks, birch, beech and hazel. They are more common in the south but they have been found as far…

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…

  • All
  • Alexanders
  • autumn
  • Black Mustard
  • Brassica nigra
  • Brassicaceae
  • Buck's Horn Plantain
  • Carpobrotus edulis
  • Charlock Mustard
  • coastal
  • Crithmum maritimum
  • edible
  • foraging
  • hotten tot fig
  • leaves
  • marsh samphire
  • Plantaginaceae
  • plantain
  • rock samphire
  • Salicornia europaea
  • 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…

Buck’s Horn Plantain (Plantago coronopus) Identification

Buck’s Horn Plantain Other Common Names: Stagshorn plantain, Minutina Latin Name: Plantago coronopus Physical Characteristics:  The whole plant rarely grows more than 10cm tall. Leaves Hairy leaves growing in a basal rosette. Each individual leaf has teeth’ coming off the sides that look like a crow’s foot at the end,…

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 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…

Marsh Samphire (Salicornia europaea) Identification Guide

Marsh Samphire / Summer / Edible Marsh samphire is a really exciting coastal plant growing around estuary marshlands, it has a brilliant salty pop. Common Names Samphire, Sea beans, salt fingers, glasswort Botanical Name Salicornia europaea Could be confused with Other glasswort plants. Potential to pick Sea Spray whilst picking…

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…

  • All
  • autumn
  • bladderwrack seaweed
  • channel wrack seaweed
  • Chondrus crispus
  • coastal
  • dulse
  • edible
  • foraging
  • Fucus vesiculosus
  • Irish Moss seaweed
  • kelp
  • Laminaria digitata
  • Laminaria species
  • laver
  • Nori
  • Oarweed
  • Osmundea pinnatifida
  • palaria palmata
  • Pelvetia canaliculata
  • pepper dulse
  • Porphyra umbilicalis
  • Pyropia
  • Sea Lettuce Seaweed
  • 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…

Irish Moss Seaweed (Chondrus crispus) Identification

Irish Moss Seaweed /Autumn / Winter / Spring / Edible Irish Moss (the source of carrageenan) Note: You may have heard more about Carrageenan than about Irish Moss, and you may be surprised to find controversial material after googling carrageenan! Irish Moss is the seaweed from which the fibre/carbohydrate carrageenan…

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…

Nori Seaweed (Pyropia yezoensis) Identification

Nori / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter / Edible Other Common Names: sometimes called Laver (not strictly correct, but they are very similar) Latin Name: Pyropia yezoensis, californica, tenera and other species. Note that Laver is in the Porphyria genus, but the seaweeds in each are often reclassified.…

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…