This fall, around berry season, hiking the Bells Mountain Trail in SW Washington, I was introduced to some plants and berries that where new to me.
There were some other hikers on the trail, and I got into a conversation with one of the guys. He told me to try to eat some huckleberries, growing along the trail. But they didn’t look ripe. They were pinkish red color. I thought he was tricking me. He picked some himself and ate, to prove me they were okay to eat. So I figured if he can eat them, I can too. I went ahead and tried some, and the berries actually had a ripe and delicious taste.
He then went ahead and pointed at some heart shaped green foliage on the ground, and told me those are edible too. He didn’t know what they were called, but he said they are good to eat as long as you don’t eat too many of them. If you eat too much of those leaves, the stomach gets upset. He proceeded to pick some and eat, and I did the same. They actually tasted good!
I thanked him for the valuable education, and continued my hike.
Some days later I told one of my buddies, who is a skilled outdoors man, about the incident. This is what he told me about the berries:
“This is a Red Huckleberry aka Vaccinium parvifolium which grows throughout the Pacific Northwest. Usually lower elevations.
The red Huckleberries are a different type than the dark blue/black. When they are red like the one in the back of the picture they are ripe. They are generally not as sweet as the higher growing berries.”
To find out what the plant was, I did an Internet search and found out that it is called Wood Sorrel, and indeed is edible.
Now I got my first step taken into the edible plants world here in the Northwest. And I hope I will learn much more the days and years to come.
When you are out there in the nature, if you are not absolutely sure if something is safe to eat, don’t eat it!