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Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
BEARBERRY

Evergreen

sun needs:full sun, part sun/part shade

water needs:dry, average

height:6"-1'

plant spacing:1/sq ft

bloom time:April, May, June

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Antennaria plantaginifolia
PLANTAIN PUSSYTOES

sun needs: full sun, part sun/part shade

water needs:Dry to average soil

height:12"

plant spacing:9 per sq ft

bloom time:

April, May, June

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Aralia racemosa

American spikenard

Use: The berries are edible raw or cooked. These have a sweet and citrusy taste.

Berries

Use: Edible fruit. The berries are good raw, tasting a little like blueberries although sometimes a little on the dry side. They are also great used as a replacement for any other berries in baked goods.

Image by Micheile Henderson

Use: Edible fruit. The berries are are astringent tasting when raw but delicious when cooked, baked, or added to purees. A great source of antioxidants.

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Carya ovata

Shagbark hickory

Use: The shagbark hickory nut is buttery and sweet, although the flavor is improved through toasting or roasting. Use as you would any other tree nut.

Image by Manki Kim

Ceanothus americanus

New Jersey Tea

Use: Collect leaves when the plant is in full boom. Dry them throughly in the shade and then steep like a black tea.  It does not have caffeine.

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Claytonia virginica

Springbeauty

Use: The entire plant is edible, root to blossoms. The roots are not tasty unless cooked and can be used like (very small) new potatoes. All the parts above the ground can be eaten raw or cooked.

Image by CHI CHEN

Use: The young fruits can be eaten fresh. The catkins (flowers) can infuse alcohol with a unique flavor. In late spring, the leaves are tender and edible. Although there are recipes for sweet fern tea, it is described as "palatable".

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Fragaria virginiana

Wild Strawberry

Use: Consume like the domesticated strawberry we all know. These are smaller and tastier but don't last long after picked. So eat them up!

Image by Darío Méndez

Lindera benzoin

Northern spicebush

Use: Berries can be eaten fresh but improve in flavor when dehydrated. Dried and ground berries can be used as a spice with a unique flavor described as floral and peppery, a little like allspice.

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Use: Must be cooked to be edible. The flavor is similar to asparagus. Pick the unfurled part of the fern (crozier) before they fully unroll. Be sure the curl is tight. About 1" of the stem with the crozier can be eaten as well.

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Morella caroliniensis

Small bayberry

Use: Dried leaves can be used as a substitute for bayleaf for cooking soups and stews.
ADD LINK

Image by Olia Gozha

Use: Fruit is edible raw or cooked. A bit sour, but great in preserves.

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Opuntia humifusa

Eastern Prickly Pear

Use: The ripe fruit is edible raw or in jelly. Tender young leaf pads can be cut up and used similar to: string beans, or like okra to thicken soups, or raw in salads.  Spines (glochids) need to be removed first! Read more to the right...

Image by Yulia Khlebnikova

Prunus maritima

Beach plum

Use: Eat fresh like other plums, although the taste is very variable from plant to plant. The fruit is spectacular in jellies and jams. But you'll have to beat the birds to the fruit first.

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Pycnanthemum muticum

Clustered mountain mint

Use: Use as a culinary mint substitute. Mojitos?!

Image by Blake Wisz

Quercus alba

White Oak

Use: The most edible acorns for us humans. The acorn can be ground into meal and used as a flour and is rich in protein and fat. The tannins should be removed from the acorns first. See "learn more" to the right...

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Rubus odoratus

Flowering raspberry

Use: A delicious raspberry, cousin to the raspberries we find at the supermarket. A little drier and slightly less sweet but according to one Blue Stem owner...the best raspberry ever.

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Sambucus canadensis/nigra

American black elderberry

Use: The cooked fruit is edible and can be used in pancakes, baked goods, and jam. Well know for elderberry syrup, recipe to the right.

Image by Dessy Dimcheva

Vaccinium angustifollium and corymbosum

Lowbush and highbush blueberry

Use: Just your average super delicious blueberry!

Image by Frame Harirak

Use: The fruit is edible and tastes a like a raisin or date. Both species' fruit have large flat seeds inside, so plan to remove those. Great in a jam or as a sauce where you can sieve out the seeds.

Image by Toa Heftiba

Viola pedata

Bird's Foot violet

Use: Young leaves and flowers are edible - raw or cooked. Lovely in a salad or used to decorate a cake.

Wooden Surface

The following species are native...and also delicious. Because there are so many edible native plants, we only include plants that we currently sell at Blue Stem and that are generally straightforward in their usage. However, we wholeheartedly support using native plants as food for humans. At the bottom of this page you can find links for further reading and research. Click on any image below to take you to each plant's product page.

GROUNDCOVERS