Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

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Triceratops
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:10 am
Location: GB

Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by Triceratops »

Greeeeetings! Looking for a compact army trouser side leg pocket sized A6 field handbook showing pictures of all edible wild plants and flowers in all parts of Great Britain. Ideally waterproof or contained in a breathable waterproof case. No excessive editorial just basic information in scannable format. Lots of pictures. How to harvest, wash, prepare and cook. Want to buy it on amazon.co.uk or amazon.com. Thank you!

P.s. I have read SAS Survival Guide by Lofty https://www.harpercollins.com/products/ ... ty-wiseman. It's good but it doesn't hit the nail on the head for what I am looking for.

P.p.s. I can also A6 print a decent Pdf if you have any good recommendations, laminate the pages and buy an A6 waterproof folder from Smiths or Rymans and slot in a Rite in the Rain https://www.riteintherain.com notebook and pencil.

...but a standard book would be ideal.
Grow food, not lawns
pseudonym
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:11 am
Location: East Midlands

Re: Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by pseudonym »

Collins Gem - Food For Free by Richard Mabey,
GillyBee
Posts: 436
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:46 am

Re: Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by GillyBee »

There is no substitute for actually learning the plants and knowledge weighs nothing. Start with a small patch of local land and identify as many plants as you can in it - including the poisonous ones. Then repeat in a month's time when different ones wil be in flower and easier to identify. Repeat until you rarely need to look any of them up
A local park or even your back garden weesd are good to start with - any many weeds are edible.
Once you can recognise the common plants reliably it gets easier as you can say "Well it definitely is NOT xxxx so it must be yyyy".
Likewise, recognising the poisonous plants is a good first step to avoiding them!
Frnc
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2022 1:54 pm

Re: Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by Frnc »

Triceratops wrote: Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:31 am Greeeeetings! Looking for a compact army trouser side leg pocket sized A6 field handbook showing pictures of all edible wild plants and flowers in all parts of Great Britain. Ideally waterproof or contained in a breathable waterproof case. No excessive editorial just basic information in scannable format. Lots of pictures. How to harvest, wash, prepare and cook. Want to buy it on amazon.co.uk or amazon.com. Thank you!

P.s. I have read SAS Survival Guide by Lofty https://www.harpercollins.com/products/ ... ty-wiseman. It's good but it doesn't hit the nail on the head for what I am looking for.

P.p.s. I can also A6 print a decent Pdf if you have any good recommendations, laminate the pages and buy an A6 waterproof folder from Smiths or Rymans and slot in a Rite in the Rain https://www.riteintherain.com notebook and pencil.

...but a standard book would be ideal.
Books seem to fall into 2 camps
1. Foraging books with a bit of detail. The book by WildFoodUK is probably the best overall.
Foraging Pocket Guide: Food for all seasons from Britain's woods, meadows and riversides Paperback – 2020 by Wild Food UK: Marlow Renton & Eric Biggane £15 Obviously concentrates on edibles, plus ones you don't want to eat that could be confused. They also have a good website and youtube videos for a lot of edibles and toxic plants. This book is small enough to take into the field. Lots of nice photos including smaller shots of key details.

2. Proper ID keys by biologists. A key is a series of questions that lead you to identification. These books won't talk about edibility but might mention if a plant is poisonous. Most of these books have 'Flower' in the title. The best is probabably The Wild Flower Key (Revised Edition 2006) - How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland by Francis Rose. Fairly thick, covers 1600 wild flowering plants including trees and shrubs, but not too big to take into the field, plastic dust cover. Lot of good colour drawings, almost every other page including scale. Paperback version is about £17. No digital version. Very well regarded book, first edition was published in 1981.

Then there are keys and books for plants that aren't in flower, and non-flowering plants.
eg:
The Vegetative Key to the British Flora: A new approach to plant identification [naming British & Irish vascular plants based on vegetative characters] Paperback 2020
by John Poland £21.49. This unique book is an identification key you can use when the plant is not in flower. The Field Studies Council runs 1 day courses based on this book. Drawings mostly in b/w. Average sized paperback designed to be taken into the field.

A couple of important edibles are the Common Reed and Reedmace/Cattail. I think one of the two key books has a bit on one of these, and WFUK probably doesn't, so these are worth reading up on the internet on.

The Gem book Food For Free is good for it's size (tiny), but not exactly a replacement for all of the above.

ID is crucial because some plants are poisonous.

With reed/rush rhizomes you need to have it attached to the upper part you can identify, ortherwise it could be off something toxic! Also beware if the plant might have absorbed toxins from polluted water.
Frnc
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2022 1:54 pm

Re: Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by Frnc »

Poland by the way also did a book called Winter Twigs for when there's no leaves!

The Field Key to Winter Twigs: A Guide to Native and Planted Deciduous Trees, Shrubs and Woody Climbers (Xylophytes) Found in the British Isles Paperback – 30 Nov. 2018
by John Poland about £20. I don't have this one.

Hey, and did you know you can eat a layer from under the outer bark on some trees?!
Frnc
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2022 1:54 pm

Re: Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by Frnc »

And here's a legal free wetlands vegitative key from a trial

https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/wp-co ... Sept19.pdf

This has both the rushes/reeds I mentioned, reedmace/cat-tail is under Typha latifolia, Common Reed is Common Reed (Phragmites communis/australis), note that the English names vary and the Latin can vary or get changed.

Article about this key trial it here

https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/veget ... nd-plants/
Frnc
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2022 1:54 pm

Re: Field Handbook for GB Wild Plants

Post by Frnc »

Got a new book on plant identification. The Vegetative Key is too hard for me at the moment, so I got this one which uses fewer technical terms and groups plants by appearance:

Plants and Habitats: An Introduction to Common Plants and Their Habitats in Britain and Ireland Paperback – 1 May 2013
by Ben Averis
£22
396 pages
Average size paperback (A5 about 2cm thick)

The book is a key, so you can use it to identify. 705 species are included. It starts off with basic appearance eg 1. Woody, 1a broadleaved trees and shrubs, mostly deciduous -> pages 9-45. Page 9 starts off with buds in opposite pairs -> page 15, buds alternating to each side of twig ->page 23, buds spiralling, page 29.

Pages 10-15 are a summary of identification of broadleaved trees and shrubs.
On page 10 is a table of the 3 bud types split into different leaf shapes, eg Opposite Buds, Leaf divided into many leaflets, leaflets spread out in radiating pattern: Horse Chestnut. P 11 is a table of species by bark colour and texture. Pages 12 and 13 are on winter twigs and leaf shape with drawings for typical species, the twigs are divided into the 3 bud arrangements. P 14 is autumn fallen leaves.

So you can get a quick lead off these initial pages, then come the species, one or two per page. First 11 are opposite buds and so on.

Section 2 is anything 'grassy' and section 3 is 'Other' including herbs and ferns. Other starts with 5 basic leaf appearances. Also there is a section on mosses.

The book covers habitats a bit, putting the species in context.

The keys are all done on appearance obviously, and ID is done with or without flowers. Plants are grouped by appearance. So it's a good book for beginners. It's very well thought out and laid out. Lots of good colour photos showing the detail to ID, eg Silver Birch you get a pic of the tree plus closeup of leaf and bark. Impotant details in the text are highlighted in red, green and blue. Green is ID, blue is habitat and red is human related.