Plant Database

Please enjoy educating your taste buds,
but please do not take any unnecessary risks if you are unsure about a plant.

Welcome to our ever-growing database for edible, medicinal and useful plants found in Isla Vista! Enjoy educating your taste buds, but please do not take any unnecessary risks if you are unsure about a plant. When collecting edible plants be sure to use your own common sense and always check the listed information to ensure correct location and identification of edible plants. These plants are fed with reclaimed water, so be sure to wash what you collect before consumption! This page is constantly being added to, so keep an eye out for new additions!

Table of Contents:

  1. Blackberry
  2. Fig
  3. Firethorn
  4. Iceplant
  5. Kumquat
  6. Lavender
  7. Lemonadeberry
  8. Lemon
  9. Loquat
  10. Mallow
  11. Mugwort
  12. Nastertium
  13. Natal Plum
  14. Oregon Grape
  15. Pickleweed
  16. Pindo Palm
  17. Pineapple Guava
  18. Plantain
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Sourgrass
  22. Strawberry Guava
  23. Strawberry Tree

Blackberry

Common Names: Blackberry ~ Latin name: Rubus sp. Spanish name: La Zaramora

Gorgeous collection of unripe green and red berries, and ripe blackberries Blackberries, some ripe some red  Blackberry flower

There are 11 different species of wild blackberry in the state of California. Himalayan Blackberry (R. discolor), one of the more common and fruitful in California, exhibits five leaflets that are oval shaped and toothed. Thimbleberry blackberry (R. parviflorus) is the only one of the four weedy blackberries that is non-thorny and non-vining and has a simple leaf as opposed to multiple leaflets.  Cutleaf blackberry (R. laciniatus) has five leaflets that are rounder and lobed. California blackberry (R. ursinus) has three leaflets. These brambles grow as vines and produce a sweet blackberry. Himalayan blackberry and Cutleaf blackberry are non-native weeds, whereas California blackberry and Thimbleberry are native, but are considered weeds in certain conditions. The best time of year to collect wild blackberries is in July and August, but plants will differ in the times that they are ripe1. To harvest, simply pick the ripe blackberries off the plant, while being cautious of thorns. The plants can live upwards of 25 years, and the spread of their seeds is facilitated by the many animals that eat them2.

WARNINGS: Thorny Stems; Poison Oak can look similar to Wild Blackberry: it has three leaflets that are ovular and have lobed margins, and are shiny green in summer, turning shiny red in fall. To tell them apart, blackberry usually has thorns on the vines and fuzzy leaves, poison oak should have neither3, 4.

Location in IV/Campus: Various locations in open spaces; massive bush by the FT side of Santa Ynez housing; in the Camino Corto Open Space by the little bridge and spread through the trees

Recipes: Pie, Jam, Cobbler, Ice Cream

Fig

Common Names: Common Fig ~ Latin name: Ficus carica ~ Spanish name: El Higo

Small purple fig Small green fig distinctive 3 lobed fig leaf Hand holding a split open fig, red inside Large fig leaf, white trunk Gnarled white branches of  fig tree

Common fig can be easily identified by its large dark green leaves, spanning 10 inches long and 5 inches wide, identified by its greenish, brownish or purplish pear shaped fruit of size 2-4 inches. Each leaf has a deeply lobed shape with between three and five lobes per leaf and are thick and leathery with smooth sides1. The Common fig tree can grow up to thirty feet with smooth white bark and droop often as they grow2. This tree is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean region. Interestingly, the Fig tree has it's very own symbiotic relationship with the Fig wasp (Agaonidae) who does most of the tree's pollination. Figs are highly nutritious fruits, containing vitamins such as A, E and K all of which aid with vision, skin and blood pressure, respectively3. Figs are also high in fiber, which aid digestion and control blood sugar4. Figs are great for snacking raw, smoothie bowls, and toppings for yogurt! 
 
WARNINGS: Fig fruit is safely edible, but fig leaves are not in high doses. Fig leaves are also generally advised to not rub on skin due its high latex content and milky sap. For this reason it is advised to rinse the fruit before ingesting. Not all figs are edible, weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), for instance; always make sure to ID the plant before ingesting5
 
Location: CCBER gardens, Sueno Rd, Campus Green near Physical Sciences Building and Chemistry Building, North Hall courtyard  
 
 
   

Firethorn

Common Names: Firethorn ~ Latin name: Pyracantha coccinea

Firethorn is a shrub that belongs to the family Rosaceae. It can group up to 10-15ft  It is native to the area the covers Southwest Europe to Southeast Asia. When mature, the fruits are small, spherical, and red. The flowers on the Firethorn bloom from late spring to early summer.1 2 Berries are edible with an apple-like flavor, and best collected in late autumn. The berries are NOT edible without some processing. In Britain, Firethorn is an important source of nectar for bees during times when other plants are not blooming.4

WARNINGS: The fruit on the Firethorn is only edible after it has been crushed and washed under running water. If eaten in large quantities, Firethorn fruit can cause stomach pain due to the fact that it is mildly poisonous. No other part of the Firethorn plant than the processed fruit should be eaten.3

Location on campus: Firethorn is located just inside the Western entrance to South Hall, and on the South side of Kerr Hall.

RecipesFirethorn JellyFirethorn Sauce 

Ice Plant

Common Names: Ice Plant  ~ Latin name: Carpobrotus edulis

  Gorgeous pink iceplant flower

Iceplant is a robust perennial succulent shrub that is native to coastal South Africa. The plant is abundant and considered an invasive species on California’s mediterranean coast in which it thrives. The plant grows in a thick and dense mat-like way. Its thick succulent stems grow horizontally and curve upwards. Flowers generally appear in late winter to spring and can be yellow, pink, and  purple. The ice plant’s fruit appears once the flower dies back and is edible. The fruit is yellow and fleshy when ripe and resembles a fig or spinning top. Hypothetically,  the flavor is salty and sour, mildly sweet when riper; a taste test showed us that the flavor is very bitter and an unpleasant aftertaste persists for some time. Early spring in California regions is the best time for collection. Simply pick the fleshy fruit (resembles a spinning top), it will be yellow in color when ripe and can be eaten fresh. The outer layer is astringent and is ideally removed before eating the more jelly-like interior, where the seeds are located. Ice plant was introduced in California during the early 1900s for coastal erosion mitigation; the plant still outcompetes many native coastal plants to this day.2 Ice plant can inhibit the natural movement processes of sand dune environments.3 In South Africa the ice plant’s fruit is sometimes referred to as a sour fig.4

WARNINGS: Ice plant grows along bluffs and steep coastal cliffs, as well as all throughout IV. DO NOT harvest ice plant close to cliffs.

Location on campus: Campus point bluffs

Recipes: Fruit can be eaten fresh, Ice plant jam AKA Sour Fig Jam 1

Kumquat

Common Names: Kumquat, Gold Orange  ~ Latin name: Fortunella

Orange Kumquat fruit Ripe kumquat in someones hand Shrub-like Kumquat tree

The kumquat tree is shrubby and compact, standing between 8-15 ft all. The branches are light green while the leaves are thin, dark green and glossy. Flowers can be white. The tree bears fruit, edible raw, that are oval-oblong or round that are about 1-1.5 inches wide.1 The peel is golden-yellow to red orange. The flesh can be " extremely mouth-puckeringly" sour, while the skin is not bitter and the seeds are also edible.2 The kumquat tree are believed to be native to China, since they were first mentioned in Chinese literature dating back to 1178 A.D. Overall, they are perfect for toppings on cereals, oatmeal, and they makes a great zest for salads, and have been used traditionally by Chinese and Vietnamese cultures to help colds and the flu.

WARNINGS: Just make sure to rinse fruit before ingesting whole!

Locations: Sueno Orchard and Phelps rd off of Stroke Rd next to the Stroke Ranch ranch apartments

RecipesFor colds and flu, Candying and Marmalade

Lavender

Common Names: Lavender  ~ Latin name: Lavandula

 Lavender flowers lavender flower with bumble bee

Purple flower bush with small leaves and circular shape. Small circular shaped/pruned plant with individual stems that have both small purple flowers and small green leaves. The purple flowers taste distinctly floral are used as flavor, garnish, baking ingredient, perfume, house/drawer/clothing fragrance,  etc. Collect the flowers by the stem, if for consumption remove the small purple flowers from the stem after harvesting. Thought to help cure insomnia when used in essential oil form for smelling purposes. Lavender is also used for other aroma therapeutic purposes. Lavender oil is also thought to increase hair growth when applied to the scalp. You can collect lavender and dry it for around two weeks for storage, use, or scent. Historically, lavender was used for bathing and scents.1 It is from the mint family.2

WARNINGS: Consumption of lavender oil is toxic. Some individuals may be allergic to lavender. Can cause skin irritation in some individuals.

Location on campus: Right side of Student Resource Building in the direction of pardall tunnel but farther behind the building.

RecipesLavender-Honey ice creamVanilla-lavender cake,  Lavendar smoothie                                                                                                                                                                                 

Lemonade berry

Common Names: Lemonade Berry ~ Latin name: Rhus integrifolia

  lemonade berries, ripe

Small red/purple clusters of berries on large green-leaved bushes.Large green bushes with clusters of small purple/red berries and small pink/red flowers that have five petals. Berries are edible and taste like the tartest lemonade you never wanted to drink (think warheads level of citric acid). Their texture is strangely sticky. In spring, pick berries from cluster by hand and cleaned before consumption. Pick berries when dark red/orange.1  Both the berries and leaves can be used for thirst avoidance. Berries can be soaked in water to create a drink. The leaves and branches can be used to dye cloth. 2 3 Relieves coughs and fevers. Tea from the leaves used to treat coughs. Ground seeds drink used to treat fever.5 The Chumash used to make a drink from the berries, hence the name.

WARNINGS: The bark produces sap that can be irritating to some individuals’ skin, similar to poison oak.6 7

Location on campus: Near/around the lagoon

RecipesLemonadeberry juice, dried Lemonadeberries, Lemonadeberry syrup, Lemonadeberry jelly, Lemonadeberry jell candySumac Lemonade 4

Lemon

Common Names: Meyer Lemon ~ Latin name: Citrus x meyeri ~ Spanish name: Limón

Plump yellow lemon Orange tinged meyer lemon Two lemon slices Lemon tree Lemon leaves Lemon flower buds

There exist many different varieties of lemons that are edible.1 Thought to be a cross between the lemon (Citrus limon) and mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), the Meyer lemon is a popular variety and has some unusual features.2 While light orange in color, the fruit has the distinct oblong shape of a lemon and is about 3 inches in length. Meyer lemons have a slightly sweeter taste than most lemons, but still more closely resemble lemons than oranges in taste. The tree can grow up to ten feet tall and produces fragrant white flowers. The leaves are shiny and dark green colored.3 The best time of year for lemons is generally in the fall and winter, but older trees may flower and produce fruit at almost all times of the year.3 Lemons can be used in a variety of foods and drinks for flavor, and the peel can be used as “lemon zest” for flavoring.5 Healthwise, lemons are a good source of vitamin C.4

WARNINGS: THORNS; Lemon trees can have branches with thorns of various sizes. Use caution in order to avoid punctures and scratches.

Location in IV/Campus: The Urban Orchard in Storke Plaza, Sueno Orchard,

Recipes: Lemon Desserts, Plethora of recipes of all types, Meyer lemon specific recipes, Meyer Lemonade, Meyer Lemon Bars

Loquat

Common Names: Loquat, Bronze Loquat ~ Latin name: Eriobotrya japonica, Eriobotrya deflexa ~ Spanish name: NísperoLoquat fruit in tree Loquats in a blue handkerchief Bronze Loquats in a tree Jagged loquat leaves Loquat Tree, white bark A large, well established loquat tree

The loquat tree is native to China and is widely planted as an ornamental plant in Caifornia.1 Loquats have been cultivated in Japan for over 1,000 years, and the country still produces the largest loquat crop in the world, annually producing around 17,000 tons of fruit!2 The leaves of the tree are large, leathery, and dark green. The loquat fruits grow in bunches in the tree. When mature, the fruit is velvety, oval-shaped, and yellow in color, and can be eaten raw.3 Fruit can range in size from marble to hacky-sack sized. To collect the Loquat, simply pick the fruit off of the tree. Flowers on the Loquat tree bloom in the fall and the tree generally fruits in early spring.4 Loquat fruits are high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin a, vitamin c, potassium, and other beneficial minerals.5 The loquat leaf likewise has a range of health benefits, including blood sugar regulation and anti-inflammatory effects.6 Another variety of loquat is the Bronze Loquat; this tree produces smaller, darker colored fruit in fall, and is also edible.8

WARNINGS: Seeds in the loquat fruit are poisonous and very large.7 When consuming the fruit raw, spit out or eat around the seeds. 

Location in IV/Campus: South side of Broida Hall. Various locations in Isla Vista. Sueño dog park. Across the street from 7/11.

Recipes: Loquat Leaf TeaLoquat JellyLoquat PieLoquat Chicken

Mallow

Common Names: Mallow, Cheeseweed ~ Latin name: Malvaceae ~ Spanish name: La Malva

low lying mallow plant mallow leaf mallow seeds pale purple mallow flower

There are many different kinds of mallow growing wild in California, all considered weeds. Annual plants, they come up with the first rains of the season and begin to dig in a thick, woody taproot, allowing them to be seen year round1. The fruits, although green and often wrinkled, look akin to small wheels of cheese or flat pumpkins because of their 10-12 wedge shaped sections; each section contains a seed. Leaves are slightly fuzzy and have 5 to 7 lobes, veins radiating from a central point, wavy shallow-toothed edges, and a crinkled appearance, as though someone balled up a piece of paper; they can be very small to broader than a human hand. Grows in a spreading manner, often low to the ground, although some species can exceed 5 feet in height. Flowers are very small; white, purple or pink in color; have 5 notched petals that may appear as 10 petals; grow where the leaves meet the stems2,3,4. No poisonous look alikes5! Ground Ivy has similar leaves but flowers are very different. It is edible as well6. Begin growing after first rain, but can be seen year round. Flower in spring. All parts of plant are edible: Leaves, flowers, stems and fruits/seeds7 Soft and hairy at first touch, but a little slimy texture when chewed; very mild taste. The mucilaginous property (sliminess) of the plant makes them soothing for various types of inflammation. Can be used topically like aloe vera and cactus by putting on sunburns and inflamed skin13.Can also eat them as a remedy for coughs and colds14. Contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C15. Other plants in the same family are cotton, hibiscus and okra16. The original ingredient of marshmallow, Althaea officinalis, is in the same family16! Can accumulate nitrates at levels toxic to cattle17. Used as a survival food during war or crop failure18. Grows on 6 of the 7 continents19.

WARNINGS: None!

Location: Any open space, disturbed earth, open field, dirt patches, agricultural areas.

Recipes: Used as salad greens and potherbs8Marshmallow/whipped cream recipe9A bunch of quick recipe ideas10Mallow Fritters11Mallow Soup12

Mugwort

Common Names: Mugwort ~Latin name: Artemisia douglasiana ~Chumash name: Molush

Mugwort leaves from above The whole mugwort plant Dead, dry mugwort leaves still attached to stem

Mugwort grows to be 7 ft tall, but is usually about 4 ft tall. The stalks are erect with few branches. The leaves are about four inches long, oblong and divided into at 1-7 lobes. Above the leaves are dark green. Below, the leaves are white from many hairs. Flowers are very small and are hidden by dense leaves. The plant leaves have a very pungent sage smell and bitter taste. Mugwort is found from Baja California to Washington and Idaho and tend grow in riparian corridors and can be found in dry or moist shaded areas and on a variety of soil types.4 Mugwort is a cleansing herb and highly medicinal with many uses: the leaves can be chewed on but spit out to relieve tooth pain, the leaves can also be used as a hand sanitizer by simply rubbing the hands together with the leaves. Culturally, mugwort leaves and stems are placed under a sleeping pillow to keep evil spirits away and promote good dreams, and have been burned as smudge sticks for energy cleansing.3 Some indigenous groups would rub their bodies with mugwort after someone died so they would not be haunted. Because dried mugwort is an amazing source of tinder, this plant was used to start fires and even cauterize wounds.5 Mugwort is best used as a tea for premenstrual, menopausal syndrome, hot flashes, and dysmenorrhea. Use only one leaf, do not add any sugar and drink only one mug a day.1 Crushed leaves can be rubbed directly onto the skin or made into a wash to prevent and clear up poison oak rashes.2 

WARNINGS: Mugwort contains many active compounds such as cineole, camphor, linalool and thujone which can induce convulsions and renal damage if ingested in large doses. The recommendation is to use a single leaf to avoid any harmful effect.1 They tend to grow, albeit conveniently, near toxic plants like poison oak. Mugwort should NOT be consumed by pregnant woman. Be aware: Ragweed is a look-alike that causes extreme cases of hay fever.

Location: Camino Corto Open Space, the path from Commencement Lawn to Depressions Beach, Lagoon Island, campus restoration areas, grows wild often in wetter areas (look for creeks, ponds and seasonal washes/drainage)

RecipesPoison oak remediesLucid dreaming,

Nasturtium

Common Names: Nasturtium, Indian Cres ~ Latin name: Tropaeolaceae Majus

Low ground cover or climbing vine plant; many branches from vines. Orange or red or yellow flowers; 5 petals. Pale to deep green, rounded, undulating cloud shaped leaves; 8 prominent veins per leaf coming out from a center point on the leaf towards edges. Leaves and Flowers (especially of young plants) are edible. Pungent, peppery, sharp “plant” flavor of leaves and flowers. Can bloom all year long. Flowers fade during extremely hot summers or cold winters. Gently pick or cut flowers and leaves from the main stems of the vine. Expectorant: helps clear mucus from lungs (cough remedy). Diuretic: increases production of urine. Aperient: purgative or laxative. Disinfectant. Contains isobutyl isothiocyanate, glycotropeoline, spilanthol, oxalic acid, vitamin C. The seeds of the Nasturtium plant were used as a substitute for pepper during World War II. Nasturtium means “nose twister” in Latin.  This name refers to people’s reactions when they taste it.

WARNINGS: Nasturtium can cause skin irritation. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use this herb. People with kidney, stomach, or intestine problems should not use this herb. The medical community doesn’t recognize the benefits of this plant. Always consult a medicine practitioner before using herbs as medicine.

Location: Often in overgrown areas. Located on campus near Girvetz. Sueño Orchard. Seen in Isla Vista Neighborhood.

Recipes: Can be eaten straight off the plant or added to salad, Nasturtium Pesto, Juice: cough remedy. Dried: powdered ripe buds can be used as a mild laxative. Flowers can be eaten for vitamin C, to help overcome and prevent the cold and flu. Compress/Topically: can be used on small cuts to prevent bacterial infections. Infusion: used for internal infections

Natal Plum

Common Names: Natal Plum ~ Latin name: Carissa macrocarpa

The Natal Plum is a shrub that is a member of the family Apocynaceae.  It is native to South Africa. When mature, the Natal Plum is oval shaped, and red in color.  If the fruit is green, it means that it is not mature. The Natal Plum plant has white flowers. In coastal areas with moderate climates, the shrub that carries the Natal Plum produces fruit year round. 1 To collect the Natal Plum, one should gently pull the fruit directly off the shrub. The fruit is the only edible thing on the shrub that carries the Natal Plum; it is sweet and delicious if ripe, otherwise the after taste is quit unpleasant.  The Natal Plum is a great source of Vitamin C.  Vitamin C increases immunity, improves gum health, and provides many more general health benefits. To get the benefits of the Natal Plum, eat the fruit. Contains sufficient pectin and acid, facilitating the making of firm gels in jelly. The Natal Plum contains latex, which is used to make rubber. The Greek name for the Natal Plum translates to “keep away from the dog.”

WARNINGS: Make sure only to eat the fruit on the shrub; all other parts of the plant are poisonous except the fruit, including the stems and leaves. There are thorns on the shrub that carries the Natal Plum, so exercise caution when collecting the fruit. 2 The plant also contains latex in the form of a milky fluid, which is a fairly common allergy so please proceed with caution.

Location on campus: The Natal Plum is located on the East side of the Thunder Dome, and bordering the bike racks by De La Guerra Dining Commons.

Recipes: Natal Plum jelly and pie. Can also be incorporated into fruit smoothies and blended drinks. Natal Plum JamNatal Plum Jelly/Jam

Interesting article from a natal plum enthusisiest 

Oregon Grape

Common Names: Oregon Grape, Holly-Leaved Barberry, Mountain Grape  ~ Latin name: Mahonia aquifolium; Berberis aquifolium ~Spanish name : Uva de OregonOregon Grape berries Glossy green, holly-like oregon grap leaves fall reddish oregon grape leaf coloration Oregon Grape plant with berries

Holly-Leaved Barberry, also known as the Oregon Grape and Mountain Grape, is an evergreen shrub native to western North America. Its flower is the state flower for the state of Oregon. The plant has dark green, holly shaped leaves, which can sometimes turn red to purple during winter.1 Its leaves are leathery and glossy, with sharp points resembling small teeth.2 In early spring, the plant produces clusters of yellow flowers that turn into dark purple/blue, dusty berries that resemble grapes, although it is not actually related to grapes.1 These berries are quite tart and leaf a bad taste in the mouth, but edible regardless. The shrub generally grows to be about 3-6 feet tall. Native Americans used the bark of the shrub to make yellow colored dye.2

WARNINGS: Leaves resemble English holly leaves; English holly produces red berries that are toxic to humans.3

Location in IV/Campus: Planter box in parking lot west of Bren Hall. By bikeloop on the way to CCBER main offices.

Recipes: Jelly

Pickleweed

Common Names: Pickleweed, Sea asparagus, American glasswort ~ Latin name: Salicornia pacifica

Pickleweed is a low lying perennial that is located along both the west and east coasts of North America and parts of the Gulf of Mexico.1 It thrives in salty environments with little wave action, which includes shorelines, salt marshes, and tidal flats. Its green stems grow up to 1 meter and have a jointed and notably pickle-esque appearance. Flowering stems produce purple upright flowers.2 3 Can be picked year-round. More green during summer with some red hues in fall. The above ground parts of the plant are edible4 with a very salty taste. Simply pick the green stems off of the plant. The name glasswort comes from the plant’s use as soda ash for glass making in the 18th century.5

WARNINGS: This plant is located at restoration sites for salt-marshes and wetlands, so be considerate of the fragile and managed environment when collecting.  

Location on campus: Around Campus Lagoon

RecipesSauteed Pickleweed, Pickled Pickleweed, Various Salads 

Pindo Palm

Common Names: Pindo Palm ~ Latin name: Butia capitata Fallen Pindo Palm fruits up close  Pindo Palm fruits hanging from tree Pindo Palm Tree Red Pindo Palm fruits

The Pindo Palm is a slow growing palm tree native to Brazil1. It can reach heights of around twenty feet. It has a stout trunk leading up to a canopy of dull greyish to green fronds that curve towards the trunk. The fronds exhibit spikes on either side of the main stem structure. The fruit it produces is edible and grows in bunches in its canopy. The fruits are round and pebble-sized, can be yellow and orange-red, and fall to the ground when ripe. The flesh and skin surrounding the seed of the fruit is edible and has a sweet and tangy pineapple-tropical flavor; it is unique to most fruit you have probably tried2. The flesh is very fibrey and juicy. The fruits are a good source of β-carotene and can be used to make jams, jellies, and juices3.

WARNINGS: The fruit has a large seed inside; be careful not to bite down with too much force or swallow the whole fruit.

Location on campus: In front of the arts building on the gravel, grass, and bordering the bike racks.

Recipes: Jelly

Pineapple Guava

Common Names: Pineapple Guava ~ Latin name: Feijoa sellowiana Pineapple Guava fruit Pineapple Guava leaves Pineapple Guava tree

A flowering tropical evergreen shrub or multi-trunk tree with shiny foliage and white undersided ovular leaves. Stands between 18-25 feet tall and wide. The flower has a sweet pineapple, apple and minty fragrance and looks like a bright pink firework with pink hairs in the center of 4 white to purple-tinged, curled petals. The flowers and fruits are edible. The fruits are light to deep green, round to oblong with a 4-pronged obtrusion opposite the stem1. The fruit is safe to eat whole and raw; the skin is tough and bitter but the inside is sweet and almost goey with small edible seeds. It has been used in salads in South America, along with chutneys and deserts.The feijoa has no known medicinal properties, but it is sometimes used as a digestive aid and cosmetic exfoliant, and its skin has been studied for its antibacterial properties2. This tree is native to native to Southern Brazil3 and attracts bees, squirrels, and birds4The fragrant aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate compound in the fruit5.

WARNINGS: None.

Location on campus: All around IV and campus. Along sidewalks and parking lots.

Recipes: Quick Bread; Loaf, Curd, Jam, Salad, Bread, & Pie

 

Plantain (Narrow and Broadleaf)

Common Names: Narrow and Broadleaf Plantain ~ Latin Name: Plantago lanceolata, Plantago major plantain leaves Plantain Flowers Narrow Leaf Plantain flower Broad Leaf plantain leaves in basal rosette and flowers

There are two types of plantain found on campus, the broadleaf and narrowleaf.  The leaves are rounded with a point on the end and have slightly jagged or wavy edges. Leaves are usually arranged in a basal rosette, even more commonly with the stockier broad leaf plantain.  They have 5-7 parallel leaf veins with a rough texture on both sides and a fibrous root system.1 When flowering in late spring-fall, plantain grows a long, 8in stalk with tiny flowers. The ripe seeds from this stalk can be collected, ground and made into a flour.2 The leaves are edible and are best picked when they are young for salads.  Older leaves can be soaked in salt water for 4 minutes and cooked like spinach. Broadleaf plantain also has medicinal uses. It can be chewed and placed on stings, cuts or poison oak rashes to ease inflammation.3

WARNINGS: None.

Location on campus: All around IV and campus in lawns (broad leaf), weed patches, disturbed sites, lagoon island (narrow leaf). 

Recipes: Seseme and Wilted Plantain Saute, Plantain Soup, Plantain ChipsFirst Aid Ointment

 

Rosemary

Common Names: Rosemary ~ Latin name: Rosemarinus officinalis

Short bush with fragrant branch extensions and small flowers. Low-the-the-ground bushes with straight branches covered with small light purple flowers and fragrant branch extensions. Branch extensions, small purple flowers are edible and used as herbal topping, flavor, scent, or fragrance. Pick the rosemary by the branch and remove the pieces from the branch to add as seasoning/topping/ flavoring. It has a strong herbal aroma. Used as an essential oil/ topical. Rosemary essential oil is beneficial for hair growth. 

WARNINGS: None.

Location on campus: All around IV and campus. Along sidewalks and parking lots.

RecipesRosemary potatoes

Sage

Common Names: Sage (common sage/garden sage)  ~ Latin name: Salvia officinalis

Sage is native to the Mediterranean region and is a part of the mint family (Lamiaceae). It has purple flowers (other colors may include pink, white, and red) and ovular downy leaves which have a pungent smell and vary in color from green-white to green-gray. The plant generally grows to be 2-3ft high. 1 Sage is a perennial plant and can be collected year-round. Simply pick the leaves off of the plant. Used as an aroma therapeutic, spiritual cleansing, scent. The flavor is herbal and earthy with a rather strong scent. May alleviate indigestion, inflammation. May have mild antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. 3 4 Sage was believed to improve memory and increase mental capacity in medieval Europe.5 Burning dried sage is practiced and believed by some to promote protection in an area (such as a house or shelter).

WARNINGS: Thujone is present in some species and can cause kidney damage, seizures, and other ailments if taken in very large doses.

Location on campus: Near UCSB greenhouse. Near Manzanita residence halls.

RecipesEdible uses 2 Tea (soak the leaves in hot water)flavoring for meat, especially poultry recipes 

Sour Grass

Common Names: Sour Grass ~ Latin name: Oxalis stricta

This common perennial has yellow flowers with five parts and can grow up to 50-100cm in height. Leaves are alternate and form three heart shaped leaflets, much like a three leafed clover.1 We have observed the plant to bloom during the rainy season when it begins to warm up; it needs a lot of water. Pick leaves, flowers or stems to chew on. Tastes sour, but in a pleasant way, although can occasionally be extremely tart. Oxalic acid gives the plant its sour taste.3 A yellow-orange dye can be made of the plant by boiling it.4

WARNINGS: Oxalic acid is toxic in large doses

Location on campus: Found in newly disturbed, wet areas like fields and planters that have gone wild.

Recipes: Sour Apple Spritzer; We made a raspberry flavored tea by soaking chopped stems in boiling water.

Strawberry Guava 

ripe, purple strawberry guavas and unripe, green strawberry guavas

strawberry tree in front of Harold Frank Hall

Common Names: Strawberry Guava  ~ Latin name: Psidium cattleyanum 

The Strawberry Guava is a tree native to Brazil that belongs to the family Myrtaceae. The fruit of the Strawberry Guava is spherical, small (about 4 cm long), and red/purple in color when ripe. It has glossy, green, oval leaves and white flowers with five petals.1 The Strawberry Guava produces fruit year round. Trees on campus produce ripe fruit at different times depending on their location. To collect, simply pick the fruit off the tree. The fruit only lasts 1-2 days at room temperature. The Strawberry Guava is sweet, but also has a slight tang. The fruit tastes like its name, with flavors of strawberry and guava.  The fruit is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects.2 The Strawberry Guava helps with digestion because it contains a large amount of fiber.3 It helps prevent scurvy because it contains Vitamin C.4 The Strawberry Guava is also known as cherry guava, purple guava, and cattley guava.5 Strawberry Guava is an invasive species on the Hawaiian Islands. It has invaded hundreds of thousands of acres on the islands and threatens to spread even more. Non-native pigs and birds facilitate its spread when they eat the fruit.6

WARNINGS: Only eat the fruit of the Strawberry Guava, as it is the only part of the plant that is edible. 

Location on campus: West side of South Hall, South/East side of Harold Frank Hall, and Robertson Gymnasium.  

RecipesJamJuiceJello

Strawberry Tree

Common Names: Strawberry Tree ~ Latin name: Arbutus unedo  

The Strawberry Tree is a relatively short tree, 15 to 30 ft high. When mature, the fruit of the Strawberry Tree is spherical, small, red in color, and has a rough and bumpy outer layer. The texture is strange on the tongue. White bell shaped flowers grow in small clusters. The bark is a reddish-brown color that peels in the sun. The leaves are green, glossy and serrated. It is an evergreen and often used ornamentally. The fruit is the only part of the Strawberry Tree that is edible. The fruit is best to eat in Autumn, when the fruit matures. Simply pick the fruit off the tree. It has a sweet taste, and has flavors that have hints of strawberry and peach. May lower blood pressure and fight against colds. Contains tannins and Vitamin C. The tree is related to Manzanitas (aka refrigerator trees). The bark peels because it gets sunburnt! The Strawberry Tree is part of the Coat of Arms of Madrid. The Coat of Arms depicts a bear eating from a Strawberry Tree. The Strawberry Tree was mentioned by Ovid, a Roman poet from the first century BCE, in his work titled Metamorphoses. In Ireland the ballad “My love’s an Arbutus” correlates the strawberry tree and true love qualities

WARNINGS: Make sure to only eat the fruit on the tree. Underripe fruit can cause nausea. Overripe fruit can cause intoxication

Location on campus: There are Strawberry Trees located on the South side of Broida Hall, on the South side of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, in the Girvetz courtyard, along El Colegio heading West from campus towards Santa Ynez housing, as well as near Webb Hall. They are all over campus.

RecipesJam; To make the herbal tea, soak the Strawberry Tree leaves in a cup of hot water.  Other things like lemon zest can be added to improve the taste.

References: 

Blackberry

  1. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/pick-blackberries-62708.html
  2. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7434.html
  3. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7434.html
  4. http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/westernpoisonoak.html

Fig

  1. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/edible-fig-plant-identification-leaf-94045.html
  2. http://www.housing.ucsb.edu/dining/nutrition-blog/fig-power
  3. http://www.housing.ucsb.edu/dining/nutrition-blog/fig-power
  4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-445/fig
  5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-445/fig

Firethorn

  1. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/shrubs/hgic1072.html

  2.  https://www.britannica.com/plant/firethorn

  3. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/plantox/detail.cfm?id=1349

  4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/22433553

Iceplant

  1. https://taste.co.za/recipes/sour-fig-jam-with-french-toasted-flapjacks-and-saint-andre-brie/

  2. https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Plants/Dont-Plant-Me/Iceplant

  3. http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1010

  4. https://taste.co.za/recipes/sour-fig-jam-with-french-toasted-flapjacks-and-saint-andre-brie/

Kumquat

  1. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/kumquat.html
  2. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-are-kumquats-2774810

Lavender

  1. http://www.countryliving.com/gardening/g2525/lavender-facts/

  2. http://www.softschools.com/facts/plants/lavender_facts/1073/

Lemonade Berry

  1. http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2015/05/california-gourmet-cooking-with.html

  2. http://www.ethnoherbalist.com/southern-california-native-plants-medicinal/lemonade-berry/

  3. http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2014/12/plant-of-month-december-lemonadeberry.html

  4. http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2014/12/plant-of-month-december-lemonadeberry.html

  5. http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2014/12/plant-of-month-december-lemonadeberry.html

  6. http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2014/12/plant-of-month-december-lemonadeberry.html

  7. http://www.ethnoherbalist.com/southern-california-native-plants-medicinal/lemonade-berry/

  8. http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2015/05/california-gourmet-cooking-with.html

Lemon

  1. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/lemon.html#Origin%20and%20Distribution

  2. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d391

  3. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/meyer-lemon-produce-fruit-95958.html

  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-lemon-health-benefits

  5. https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-facts/what-is-lemon-zest.htm

Loquat

 

  1. http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/dsadditions/Loquat_Fact_Sheet/

  2. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/loquat.html

  3. https://www.britannica.com/plant/loquat

  4. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/loquat.html#Toxicity

  5. https://dengarden.com/gardening/Loquat-Tree-Benefits-of-Loquat-Fruits

  6. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-loquat-leaf/

  7. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/loquat.html#Toxicity

  8. https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/5377/bronze-loquat/

Mallow

1http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74127.html

2. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74127.html

3. http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/11/foraging-mallow.html

4. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/WEEDS/little_mallow.html

5. http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/11/foraging-mallow.html

6. http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/11/foraging-mallow.html

7. https://dengarden.com/gardening/malva

8. https://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Malvaceae.htm

9. https://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Malvaceae.htm

10. http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/11/foraging-mallow.html

11. https://sites.google.com/site/thislittlegreenbookrecipes/common-mallow-fritters-fritella-di-malva

12. https://www.henriettes-herb.com/faqs/medi-2-21-mallow.html

13. https://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Malvaceae.htm

14. https://dengarden.com/gardening/malva

15. https://dengarden.com/gardening/malva

16. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74127.html

17. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/WEEDS/little_mallow.html

18. https://dengarden.com/gardening/malva

19. http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/11/foraging-mallow.html

Mugwort

  1. James D. Adams Jr. and Cecilia Garcia. 2016. Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West. pp39-41. Print.

Natal Plum

  1. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp108

  2. https://floridata.com/Plants/Apocynaceae/Carissa%20macrocarpa/875

 

Oregon Grape

  1. https://calscape.org/Berberis-aquifolium-(Oregon-Grape)

  2. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=maaq2

  3. https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/mahonia-aquifolium

Pickleweed

  1. http://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/sea-asparagus-bull-salicornia-pacifica.html

  2. http://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/sea-asparagus-bull-salicornia-pacifica.html

  3. https://www.sanelijo.org/plant-guide/pickleweed

  4. http://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/sea-asparagus-bull-salicornia-pacifica.html

  5. http://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/sea-asparagus-bull-salicornia-pacifica.html

Pindo Palm

  1. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=8181

  2. http://hort.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/butcapa.pdf

  3. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-29452011000500084&lng=en&tlng=en

Pineapple Guava

  1.  https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/feijoa-sellowiana

  2. http://www.aihd.ku.edu/foods/feijoa.html

  3. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/feijoa.html

  4. https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/feijoa-sellowiana 

  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acca_sellowiana

Plantain 

  1. http://www.eattheweeds.com/white-mans-little-foot-dwarf-plantain-2/Rosemary 
  2. Elias, T. and P. Dykeman, (1990). Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods. Stirling: New York. 
  3. https://www.naturallivingideas.com/plantain-benefits-uses/Sage

Sage

  1. https://www.britannica.com/plant/sage-plant

  2. https://www.britannica.com/plant/sage-plant

  3. http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue89/herbpro.html?ts=1509316481&signature=2059b1dc72253804fc8314daed3c2547

  4. https://ac.els-cdn.com/S2225411017300056/1-s2.0-S2225411017300056-main.pdf?_tid=eb5fffcc-bcfb-11e7-b329-      00000aacb362&acdnat=1509317763_5e7fde6568651a8c10eae9850c6a53e1

  5. https://www.britannica.com/plant/sage-plant

Sour Grass

  1. http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H279.htm

  2. http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H279.htm

  3. http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H279.htm

  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/garden/a-new-generation-discovers-grow-it-yourself-dyes.html

Strawberry Guava 

  1. http://eol.org/pages/2508592/overview

  2. http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9783319128467-c1.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1490051-p177062978

  3. https://books.google.com/books?id=eScsDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=Psidium+cattleyanum+fiber&source=bl&ots=8m061nRMO1&sig=gQDtaHoId0iodqASU902IPZL6BQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6iPTrjLjZAhUIwmMKHU6yCvQQ6AEIezAH#v=onepage&q=Psidium%20cattleyanum%20fiber&f=false

  4. http://eol.org/pages/2508592/overview

  5. http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9783319128467-c1.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1490051-p177062978

  6. http://eol.org/pages/2508592/overview