A new crop of foraging apps give users the ability to identify edible plants, log their locations, find recipes, learn about dangerous lookalikes and more.
These apps help you identify edible wild greens, berries, nuts, mushrooms, fruits and even medicinal plants that you can safely harvest in the wild or sometimes in your own back yard.
Click through the list to see five great foraging apps, with details and links for each one.
Stay tuned for more great foraging and ID apps soon.
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Wild Edibles by Steve Brill
"Wildman" Steve Brill's Wild Edibles apps provide easy to use tools for identifying and using wild edible plants.
+ Identify wild edibles using up to 8 images for each plant.
+ Search and filter plants by habitat, edible part, type, and season's available.
+ Detailed descriptions, similar plants, poisonous lookalikes, and medicinal information improve your knowledge of useful plants.
+ Harvesting methods, preparation instructions, and recipes help you prepare free foraged foods.
+ Drill down for identifying relevant plants
+ Custom note taking per plant.
+ Includes botanical glossary and general foraging information.
The app is available in the following versions:
- Wild Edibles FULL ($7.99) for iPhone, iPod and iPad
- Wild Edibles Lite (free) for iPhone, iPod, iPad
- Wild Edibles Plus ($9.99) for iPad
Wild Plant Survival Guide
Wild Plant Survival Guide by Double Dog Studios features edible, medicinal and useful plants by climate (temperate, desert, etc.).
The developer says:
Wild Plant Survival Guide describes the physical characteristics, habitat and distribution of edible, medicinal and poisonous wild plants. Over 130 plants and 250 color photos simplify the identification of poisonous and edible plants. The U.S. Army gather (sic) this content and now it is available to you.
This is a useful app for survival situations but it is not a complete app in terms of all of the edible plants in most areas and how to best prepare them. For instance, some of the common foods we forage here in Minnesota that are not listed for our area are mulberries, acorns, elderberries, wild grapes, wild plums, walnuts, sumac (which it only lists as the poisonous swamp variety), milkweed and ramps. The medicinal section is also fairly light.
The app is available for the iPod, iPhone or iPad for $1.99.
Forager Diary is quite a handy little app if you want to log where you find wild edibles, especially if you find them off season and want to be able to locate them again later.
The developer says:
With Forager Diary, keeping track of your finds of wild edibles is a snap.
• Easily document every wild edible you find with lovely photos, field notes, the date you found it, and its exact location, all presented in a gorgeous interface.
• Visualize them all on a big, beautiful map.
• Easily return to the locations of your most precious finds at a later date with by getting directions to their exact coordinates.
• Share finds with friends through email.
• Because we know there's a good chance you won't have data access on your foray, you can create sightings offline.
Whether you're a wild mushroom fanatic who wants to make sure you never forget the location of a bolete patch or a berry picker who just wants to document your finds, this is the app you've been waiting for.
We use this app a lot to keep track of where to find wild edibles in our area. For instance, it's a great way to log all the places to find wild asparagus in our area. In the spring when the asparagus is perfect for harvesting, the spears are low to the ground and nearly impossible to spot from a distance. In the summer we look for the telltale tall fronds of wild asparagus that are easy to spot from a distance, and then log them in the app to know exactly where to find them the next spring.
We also use the app to make note of ripening berry patches, nuts and many other wild edible foods in our area to revisit later. We can even take multiple pictures of each plant and area, to really help find things later.
Forager Diary has a large database of plants by latin names and a search feature, but if you want to enter a plant that is not in the database it will easily add new ones.
The app does have a glitch or two in the map for us. Apparently, we have logged 6 sightings (elderberries, black walnuts and such) off the African coast of Cameroon.
Still, for $1.99 this is a handy little app.
Wild Mushrooms of North America and Europe
Wild Mushrooms of North America and Europe seems to be the best mushroom foraging app currently available, though it's important to note that you should never gather mushrooms for eating if you are not very familiar with edible and poisonous mushrooms or with an expert who is.
One look at the extensive database in this app and you can see how similar many poisonous mushrooms look to edible mushrooms.
The developer says:
This application features the most complete series of some 2,660 photographs of over 1,560 Wild Mushrooms and other fungi. It includes edible, hallucinogenic, poisonous mushrooms, truffles and brackets... Apart from the detailed photographs that show each mushroom from many different angles. A lot of other helpful information is included to help with identification; descriptive keys, details of size, shape, color, habitat, there is a sign on each picture to quickly give you the idea of danger or edibility. Many different sorts and groups of mushrooms are included; cup fungi, puffballs, tree brackets, truffles and other underground forms. The common names of the different mushrooms are also included together with French and German and other important names, the Latin names are all included.
Some of the features include:
* No internet connection needed
* Detailed texts on over 1,560 mushrooms including scientific names, synonyms (including European names)
* Texts include details of microscopic analysis of spores for greater accuracy of identification
* Over 2,660 photographs, all zoomable using both tap-to-zoom or standard pinch-zooming
* Full database list with facility to search texts to find strings (e.g. common names)
* Search by visual appearance (Visual Key)
* Search by over 50 individual mushroom attributes with numbers of exact and partial matches returned customisable (Easy Key)
* Color-coded indicator for at-a-glance check of edibility.
* User notes feature that allows you to add your own personal information for any mushroom. A search can be made that returns only those mushrooms with a user note attached.
One issue I have with the app is that I've been unable to find a way to search by common nicknames, such as morel or chicken of the woods. Indeed, morels (Morchella genus) are not listed as morels even as nicknames or synonyms. Morchella vulgaris, Morchella elata and Morchella esculenta are all listed but their common nicknames such as black morel are not.
That said, this is an incredibly thorough wild mushroom app with an impressive amount of information.
Wild Edibles by By Sergei-Boutenko looks like another great foraging app.
The developer says:
Don’t be caught in the wild without this little green app. Arm yourself with expert foraging advice!
Having this tool on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch is like having your own organic edible weed guru with you at all times. In addition to preparing you for a survival situation or apocalypse, this app will help expand your diet by helping you find new and fun foods to eat. Wouldn’t you like to know how to safely harvest dandelion flowers, wild strawberries, lamb’s quarters, wild onion, and miner’s lettuce? How would you like to bring them home and turn them into delicious smoothies, salads, soups, and more?
• 60+ wild edible plants that are common in most parts of the world
• The most poisonous plants to clear of
• Detailed descriptions and vivid color photos of each plant
• USDA nutritional information for all of the wild edibles in the app
• Tasty recipes you’ll love
• Beautiful HD videos that further aid in plant identification
• Helpful tips regarding safety, identification, uses, and much, much more•
• The ability to save you $$$ on your grocery bill
• Free updates for life!
I have not personally tried this app, but it looks like a good one.
Wild Edibles sells for $4.99 and can be used on the iPod, iPhone or iPad.