Uncooked, leafy greens are extremely healthy, containing vitamins A, C, E, K, and B complex, and significant amounts of iron, copper, and magnesium. Try to gather the youngest leaves, avoiding those that are tough or in poor shape. Wash all gathered greens with cold water before eating them. If you are going to store any leafy greens, make sure that they are refigerated in a sealed container to keep out oxygen, which will wilt them and lower their nutrient richness.

Plants in this guide that can be used in salads

Compositae - The Aster Family

Bull Thistle

Both young leaves and stems can be added to salads, but be sure to remove the spines from leaves and skin from stems before use.


Use the underground, whitened part of the leaves in salads.

Common Burdock

Add young leaves to salads.

Common Dandelion

Young leaves, especially the whitened below-ground part of the leaf, can be added to salads.

Wild Lettuce

Young leaves can be added to salads, although they are somewhat bitter.

Cruciferae - The Mustard Family

Field Pennycress

Before the flowers appear, gather young leaves for addition to salads.

Leguminosae - The Legume Family

Red Clover

Soak young leaves and flowerheads in salt water for several hours before eating.

Oxalidaceae - The Wood-Sorrel Family

Yellow Wood-Sorrel

Fresh leaves have a sour flavor that goes well with other leafy greens.

Plantaginaceae - The Plantain Family

Common Plantain

Chop the youngest leaves and add them to salad.

Rosaceae - The Rose Family


Tender shoots* make a nice addition to salads.

Tiliaceae - The Linden Family

American Basswood

Young, unopened leaf buds* can be added to salads or eaten on their own.

Typhaceae - The Bulrush Family

Common Cattail

Young shoots* and stalks can be peeled and eaten raw. During Fall and Winter, sprouts at the tips of rootstalks can be added to salads.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.