A Field Guide to

Edible Plants on the

Brandeis Campus


A note from the authors:

Welcome to the online Field Guide to Edible Plants on the Brandeis Campus. In what Roger Tory Peterson calls the "era of the supermarket," dinner usually comes from one of the few chains of massive stores spread throughout our country. If not from there, then it almost certainly comes from a restaurant, a local shop, or maybe a farmer's market. Regardless, agriculture is the way of the world, and the art of gathering food on one's own is becoming a rare talent. We feel that this rarely used talent is not only useful and healthy, but also quite enjoyable.

The purpose of this guide is to put some of the knowledge of food identification and preparation back in the hands of those that need it most: Brandeis students.

Actually, while the scope of this guide is limited to the campus of Brandeis University, located in Eastern Massachussets, its application is much wider. The only resource in this guide that is mostly limited to Brandeis is the map tool in the location section. Even so, there is information in that section about the habitats in which certain plants most commonly grow that may help in finding them beyond Brandeis campus.

Most of the plants in this guide can be found across the Northeast, some are common as far West as the Mississippi River and as far South as Northern Florida.

Before sending users on their way, we would like to make a point of saying that one should never eat or drink any part of a plant that cannot be identified with 100% certainty. If this necessitates using another field guide in addition to this one, then the authors encourage you to do so, as the risks involved in the ingestion of any part of an unknown plant are extremely high. Please don't allow this warning to discourage your foraging, just be mindful of checking and double checking all unfamiliar plants with as many resources as you have at hand.

Good luck hunting,

Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni


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.