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by Francois, Ph.D. Couplan, James A. Duke Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours
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unbelievable, June 6, 2002
|Reviewer: Phil Ashman from Hamilton, Ohio United States|
The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America, February 28, 2001
|Reviewer: sismith (see more about me) from Yuma, AZ|
Couplan provides information for approximately 4000 varieties of wild plants, much of it based on his personal experience.
An ethnobotanist, Couplan began writing his Encyclopedia 25 years ago. During that time he traveled extensively, spending "a lot of time in the woods with very little in my backpack, finding my food in the plants I gathered." He took copious notes and presented "wild gastronomy" workshops, while also continuing his academic research and studies.
Plants are listed by their Latin names, however the index includes the common names.
Information for each plant includes a rating of how edible it is, how abundant it is, and where it grows. Etymology of most names are provided also; thus readers learn that dandelion comes from the French words for lion's tooth, because of the shape of the leaves.
Couplan describes how to prepare edible parts of the plant, and how they taste. He also discusses the nutritive values and medicinal properties of each plant. Where relevant, he provides information on other uses, such as dyes, soaps, and basketry. Endangered species are noted. The book does not include illustrations and is not intended for use as an identification manual.
Anyone who has ever wondered if a particular plant could be eaten, or how to harvest and prepare it, will find The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America informative and interesting. People wishing to add a little variety to their diet will find lots of suggestions, and those who use plants for healing will appreciate the medicinal details.