Mar 27

Tips For Ethical Wildcrafting


Edited: Mar 27

Definition of Wildcrafting:  

The practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or "wild" habitat, for food or medicinal purposes; the growing and gathering of herbs and other wild plants.


Simple Guide:

Always leave an area better than you found it.

Leave the area as undisturbed as possible.

Do not damage other plants or disrupt the earth if possible.


Only take what you need - take jar with you and fill as you gather so you don’t over harvest.


Aerial parts:  Take from middle size growth, leaving the largest and smallest plants of the community; never more than ⅓ of patch. If there are only a few plants in the area, take nothing.


Collect the plant in a way that lets it propagate:

If it grows from seed, leave some  flowers that can go to seed.

Rhizome growers benefit from just thinning out the plant intermittently.  


Bark:  Do not ring a tree! “Prune” the tree for its benefit (cutting at a junction stimulates immune system). If there are suckers, use those.


Roots:  Dig or gently pull up the plant, shake off any excess dirt, and cut off part of the root, leaving enough to support the plant’s continued growth; then put the plant back into the ground.  Or just dig some roots from perimeter. Take only what you need.


Do not wildcraft plants that are considered to be “Species At Risk”. In our area they are:  

American Ginseng


Black Cohosh

Blue CohoshEchinacea



Lady's Slipper



Virginia Snakeroot

Wild Yam


"Species to Watch" in our area are:

Butterfly Weed



Lobelia inflata

Maidenhair Fern


Partridge Berry



Squirrel Corn

Wild Indigo


For a complete list of plants, see


Tip - many of these plants are easily grown in your yard. Ready access and you can be a part of increasing their numbers!

New Posts
  • I mentioned in my blog that the plant walk scheduled for tomorrow, May 4, has been cancelled due to needing to let the plantain grow a bit more yet. I found out from a friend that signing up for this forum does not mean you automatically get notice of blog updates too, so I just wanted to make sure everyone got the information. And if you haven't signed up for the blog updates yet on the blog page, I encourage you to do so. That is likely where I will post changes in classes, as well as the classes section. See the classes section for more information .
  • Avoid highly trafficked areas, such as along highways, industrial areas, along railroad tracks as they often control weeds by spraying. Be careful not to gather where pesticides or chemical contaminants are used such as along railroad tracks or close to fields or yards that are sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. I tend to avoid along sidewalks or walking paths where dogs are commonly walked. You can guess why. Some favorite places include - Waste areas along the Cannon River - Along the edges of the compost site - lots of weed seeds sprout there! - Sechler Park - no one seems to mind someone gathering stinging nettles there for some reason! Lots of nice plantain there, too. - Edges of city parks where there isn't much foot traffic. Do you have some location tips to share here, too?
  • Does anyone have a tip for where Prickly Ash trees or shrubs are growing in the area. They are often found along property lines or other areas that are not actively controlled. The bark of prickly ash can be quite effective for helping pain of all sorts.

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