June: Wild edibles

This is a list of wild foods that can be foraged in the UK during June.

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Disclaimer: There are wild plants and fungi in the UK that are poisonous. Do not eat any wild edible that has not been positively identified. All edible mushrooms must be cooked. Do not use this site as your only source of information. Check the law before picking any wild plant. Nothing on this site is meant to encourage you to break any laws.

Elderflower
Sambucus nigra

Photo by Martin Röll

Elder is a common plant throughout the UK. It has been used historically for medicinal purposes in eye lotions and skin ointments. It is believed to have been tied to the mane of horses in order to keep flies away.

Where to find it:

  • Woods
  • Commons
  • Hedges
  • Wasteland

Appearance:

  • Up to 10m tall
  • Small black-reddish berries
  • Dark green leaves

To eat:

The flowers should be snipped off in clusters. These flowers can be consumed raw. These flowers can also be used to make sparkling wine.

When a cluster of berries are ripe, it will begin to turn upside down. These berries can then be added to pies or jams.

Wild rose
Rosa canina

Photo by Roberta F.

‘Rosa caninina’ means ‘dog rose’. It has many medicinal uses and was used frequently in heraldry.

Where to find it:

  • Hedges
  • Scrub land

Appearance:

  • Hooked thorns
  • Toothed leaves
  • Large white/pink five petaled flowers

To eat:

The flowers can be picked and used in salads. They can also be used to make wine, jelly and jam.

Wild strawberry
Fragaria vesca

Photo by Ivar Leidus

Wild strawberries have been enjoyed by our ancestors for thousands of years. They have a stronger flavour than the garden variety but are smaller in size.

Where to find it:

  • Trails
  • Woodland
  • Hedgerows
  • Grassy banks
  • Among bracken

Appearance:

  • White five petaled flowers
  • Red berries with seeds visible

To eat:

Ripe when red, strawberries can be washed and eaten raw. Can be added to a fruit salad or sugared.

Fairy-Ring Champignon
Marasmius oreades

Photo by Strobilomyces

Fairy-Ring Champignon gets its name from the ‘fairy rings’ it grows in. It is very common and often found growing on lawns. Its culinary use is popular due to its sweet taste. Caution must be taken to distinguish Fairy-Ring Champignon from the poisonous Clitocybe species. Clitocybes are distinguishable by their lack of an ‘umbo’, which is a raised point in the middle of the cap.

Where to find it:

  • Lawns
  • Grassland

Appearance:

  • 2-5cm cap
  • Bump in centre of cap
  • Pale tan colour
  • Wide gills

To eat:

Add to stews or casseroles. Caps can be preserved by drying them out, then soaked in water to reconstitute them.

Stinging nettle
Urtica dioica

by Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven 2003

Stinging nettles have historically been used as food, medicine and used to make fibre. Its high in protein and iron and its taste is similar to spinach. ‘Urtica’ is derived from the Latin word for sting, whilst ‘Dioica’ is derived from Greek, meaning ‘of two homes’.

Where to find it:

  • Hedge banks
  • Field edges
  • Woodland
  • Wasteland

Appearance:

  • Heart shaped leaves
  • Covered in stinging hairs

To eat:

During and after its flowering stage, nettles can form crystalline particles called cystoliths. These cystoliths can taste bitter, and can also irritate the urinary tract. For this reason it’s best to harvest nettles when young, particularly during late February to early June. Nettles can be wilted over a fire and consumed like marshmallows. They can be added to soups or its leaves can be dried and strained to make tea.

Sea beet
Beta vulgaris

Photo by Maneerke Bloem

Sea beet is a plant found around the coastline of most of the UK. It is an ancestor of beetroot, and can be used in the same way. Its leaves can be eaten raw and are said to taste and have a texture similar to spinach.

Where to find it:

  • Coastlines
  • Shingle
  • Cliffs

Appearance:

  • Large fleshy leaves
  • Green spiky flowers along the stem
  • Up to 1m tall

To eat:

Smaller leaves can be used in salads. Larger leaves should be boiled until they turn dark green.