Edible Wild Plants in New Hampshire

By Tony Oldhand
A species of cattail that grows in New Hampshire is edible.

The State of New Hampshire has a variety of edible wild plants, free for the picking. Some of these, such as the common dandelion, are well known but others, such as one species of cattail, may not be popularly recognized as edible. Discerning edible from non-edible plants can be difficult so the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (along with other experts) offers much guidance on the various plant species found within the state.



Small Plants

New Hampshire has a wide diversity of small edible plants. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services they include the broad leaf cattail and the fiddlehead fern, as well as the common dandelion. Mr. Chris Martin of the New Hampshire Public Radio notes that a variety of wild berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, are also plentiful in the state.

Trees

Many trees that produce edible fruit are found in New Hampshire. Varieties include the American Beech, which produces sweet beechnuts, and the white oak that produces edible acorns. Another tree with edible fruit that's often found in New Hampshire is the wild black cherry. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension points out that it's important to abide by all laws of the state when harvesting wild fruit and it may be illegal to collect from a native species if it's considered endangered.

Mushrooms

Various edible mushrooms are native in New Hampshire and include the morel, the horse mushroom, and the chanterelle. Each mushroom grows in a different habitat, for example chanterelles often grow in cracks in between rocks. Mr. Devin Starlanyl of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission cautions that although many species are edible others are highly poisonous. Before consuming an unknown mushroom seek the expert guidance of a botanist or mycologist.

Regionwide Plants

Many edible plants found in New Hampshire are native to the entire New England region, and not just exclusive to the state. Birds eat fruit and seeds, and winds carry seeds, sometimes for great distances. If you live in New Hampshire but are close to a state line bear in mind that some of the same edible plant species may be found in neighboring states, such as Vermont or Connecticut. Be conscious of state lines and if you forage in a neighboring area familiarize yourself with the laws of that state before removing plants.

About the Author

Tony Oldhand has been technical writing since 1995. He has worked in the skilled trades and diversified into Human Services in 1998, working with the developmentally disabled. He is also heavily involved in auto restoration and in the do-it-yourself sector of craftsman trades. Oldhand has an associate degree in electronics and has studied management at the State University of New York.