This article is all about edible plants that can be found in Southwest British Columbia.
- It is best to buy a field guide that offers better descriptions of the plants and has pretty pictures to look at as well. Lone Pine publishes several good field guides for identifying plants and fauna, buy the coastal plant book for the Vancouver region.
- Black Huckleberries
- Black Huckleberries are easy to mistake for blueberries unless the two are present side by side. They tend to ripen earlier in the year the blueberries. Black huckleberries have a shiny surface whereas real blueberries are a more matte powdery blue colour.
- Wild blueberries are way better than anything you can get in the store. Usually they are a bit smaller, but look generally the same. High bush and low bush varieties exist, and all are edible. They like sunlight, and tend to be more abundant on south facing slopes. Wild blueberries ripen quite late in the year, and are usually best in and around September.
- Red Huckleberries
- Red Huckleberries are found in lower elevations on the Coast. They are ripe when fully red. They taste similar to Black Huckleberries.
- Salal berries
- The berries of the salal plant were a major food source for BC Natives. They are not as sweet as many other eddible berries.
- Salmon berries
- These berries look like an orange raspberry, but colours vary from yellow to dark red. They grow on tall thorny bushes that are similar in appearance to blackberry bushes. Salmon berries are usually among the first berries to ripen in the spring. At lower elevation, they start to come into season in June.
- Amelanchier alnifolia, Saskatoon berries
- Tall shrub with oval leaves that are tootheed halfway up, berries form drupes of red to dark purple fruits that look like mini apples.
- Thimble berries
- Thimble berries are similar to raspberries, but they are smaller and have a finer structure. They are very delicate and relatively rare on the Coast but often plentiful in the Interior.
- Five leaved bramble berry
- Short shrub that has 5 leaves and one small red berry per plant, abundant from low to mid elevations.
- Arctostophylos uva-ursi, Kinnikinnick
- Trailing shrub with dark green leathery leaves and red berries found from low to high elevations in dry areas.
- Viburnum edule, hig bush cranberry
- Tall shrub with 3-lobed leaves and red berries in drupes, found from mid to high elevations.
- Sambucus racemosa, red elderberry
- Tall shrub with opposite leaves, divided into 5-7 long leaflets, berries form large drupes of small, red berries. ONLY the berries are edible but they ABSOLUTELY must be COOKED. The cooked berries can be used to make things like wine and jam but the stems, bark, leaves and roots are toxic.
- Sorbus sitchensis, sitka mountain-ash
- Tall shrub with compound leaves that have 7-11 toothed leaflets and large drupes of red berries which are tart and bitter.
- Tall monocot, arising from a single stem, leaves long and broad arising from the base of the plant, flower is brown and encircle the stem at the top in a sausage type shape. The inside of the base of the stem is edible early spring and the pollen from the flower can also be used as a flower substitute. Found in wet areas.
There are many varieties of both edible and poisonous mushrooms that grow in BC. Make sure you know what you are eating! A great pocket guide for mushrooms is All the Rain Promises and More... by David Arora; Examples of edible mushrooms: Oyster mushrooms, Chantrelles, Chicken of the Woods