DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — With the weather warming up plants are blooming all over Iowa and many of those wild plants are edible. For Iowans who like to forage, it’s a perfect time.
Foraging is also easy for people to start, whether it’s a backyard or state park there are tons of plants that can be picked.
Anne Riordan, a Training Specialist at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said that there are some important rules to keep in mind when starting out foraging.
“The most important thing you need to know is you need to be able to identify what plants you’re seeing with absolutely no doubt if you can’t identify them with no doubt or your plants or your mushrooms don’t eat them,” Riordan said.
The city of Des Moines has many resources available to help Iowans learn how to forage and how to identify safe-to-eat plants and fungi.
Riordan said that it’s best to start with easily identifiable plants to forage, which is partly why morel mushroom hunting is so popular.
“Morel mushrooms are pretty easy to identify. I would say stick with ones that are super easy to identify like morels in the beginning and Chicken of the Woods which is a big orange scallop thing that grows around the base of a tree stump.”
At state parks, it is only legal to forage berries, mushrooms, and nuts.