Category Archives: Roots

Foraging Wild Roots: Common Evening-primrose

Photo of Common Evening-primrose taproot

Because Common Evening-primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a biennial, in late summer it is possible to find first-year leafy rosettes growing near tall second-year flowering plants.  Just as with Wild Carrot, it's the first-year plants that provide a tasty taproot to knowledgeable foragers.  The taproots can be gathered from late summer through spring (so long as the ground is not frozen) -- they go out of season when the plant begins to produce an aerial shoot (which also happens to be edible).  Given the number of vegetables Common Evening-primrose provides (flowers, buds, taproots, shoots, etc.), she is well worth befriending.

Foraging Wild Roots: Wild Carrot

Over the years I've introduced several wild edibles into my yard. For example, last year, I scattered some Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) seeds in a few garden beds, covered them lightly with leaf mulch and walked away. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that the beds were looking lush with green growth and figured it was time to get my hands in the soil to check on the roots.

Photo of Wild Carrot Taproots

Compared with shovel-dug Wild Carrots that I've unearthed from more compacted ground, these decently-sized, pale yellow taproots came up with a steady tool-free tug.  Freshly dug Wild Carrots may lack the crunch and orange-color of typical cultivated carrots, but their flavor and aroma is similarly pleasant. I chopped up the roots and added them to soups and stews with much satisfaction.

Note: In Foraging Wild Shoots: Wild Carrot, I point out that Wild Carrot is closely related to some seriously poisonous plants. Please read that post, and be sure you are 100% confident in your identification skills before gathering and eating any part of this plant.