Fall is truly a season for the senses. For some gardeners, it’s time to harvest the last of the tomatoes, squash and peppers before the season’s end. For others, fall signals the time of year for gathering and preparing edible wild plants from fields and prairies and along Nebraska’s roadsides and wooded bluffs. Not only are certain wild plants nutritious and tasty, but gathering them offers a chance for exploration and discovery.
It’s a great way to get more connected with the natural world. Make plans to visit some wild places to collect nature’s bounty. Better yet, try growing some edible wild plants in your home landscape.
Below are plants native to the Great Plains that offer a delicious bounty that perhaps will inspire you to convert some of your landscape plantings into edible plantings.
Leadplant, Amorpha canescens. Among settlers, leadplant was known as “prairie tea.” The leaflets, harvested in late summer to early autumn, can be dried and brewed into a tea with a pleasant, mellow flavor.
Leadplant is a small native shrub found in scattered, high-quality prairie remnants throughout much of Nebraska. The small leaflets are covered with fine hairs, giving them a silvery or lead-like appearance. Blue-purple flower spikes bloom on the tips of branches in early summer.