wild edible plants Arkansas forage

17 Wild Plants in Arkansas to Forage

Foraging for wild plants in Arkansas is a favorite activity for many because of the abundance of wild edible plants in Arkansas.

Whether you like foraging for salad greens, fermenting wine, making immune boosting syrup, or just eating delicious fruit right off the tree, Arkansas has wild edible plants for every taste.

Types of Wild Edible Plants in Arkansas

This article was written for entertainment purposes only. It is not to be considered as expert advice. We are not suggesting or implying what is or is not safe to consume. Everyone’s bodies and reactions are different. There are many variables when foraging. Only two examples are: 1. Some wild edibles must be processed to remove toxins. 2. Be aware that many wild edible plants in Arkansas also have toxic lookalikes.
Always seek expert help. Forage at your own risk.


Foraging for acorns in Arkansas is a relatively easy task given the number of oak trees that grow in the Natural State.

After you process out the tannins, it can be ground into flour.

Arkansas Acorn Foraging Tips

White Oak Acorns have been reported as less bitter than the Black Oak or Red Oak. However, you still have to get the tannins out. Some people do this by cracking them, shelling them, putting them in a mesh bag, and rinsing them many, many times.


An alternative to acorns is chestnuts. Some people say they are just “big acorns” and the processing is similiar.


Foraging for Buckeyes in Arkansas is especially appealing to me because we have such an abundance of them where I live.

I always wondered if they were edible and it turns out that they are if processed correctly.

Tips for Foraging for Buckeye Nuts in Arkansas

  • Only certain types of buckeyes are edible
  • Buckeyes are toxic to humans when raw
  • Other parts of the buckeye plant are also poisonous.
  • You mush remove the shells and roast Buckeyes before eating.
  • Please seek expert advice and directions before eating Buckeyes in Arkansas.


Chicory has often been foraged for in Arkansas as a great addition to salads.

Chicory is also a great coffee substitute once prepared.


A popular wild edible plant in Arkansas that is used as salad greens.


Dandelions are great in salads. We eat the leaves and the flowers themselves. It’s best to harvest dandelions when they are young so they are less bitter.

Dandelion root coffee is also delicious.

The coffee can be made with the dried root of the plant by grating and using as a substitute or adding to other coffee. I use four tablespoons for a twelve-cup pot, but you may want to experiment a little and vary that for your own taste. -source

Caution About Harvesting Dandelions

Note: Never harvest dandelions from an area that has been sprayed with chemicals.

Arkansas Dandelion Cooking Tips

  • Some people make dandelion jelly.
  • You can also batter and fry the blooms for a delicious treat. They taste like fried mushrooms if you do it right.


Pawpaws are interesting to me. They have a unique look and can be used for many different things.

Tips for Foraging for Arkansas Pawpaws

  • They prefer to grow near water sources
  • Pawpaw fruit usually ripens around the second week of September
  • Ripe fruit generally falls off if you give the tree a shake

Uses For Arkansas Pawpaws

  • Pawpaw wine
  • Pawpaw bread
  • Pawpaw wine cake
  • Fresh fall treat


There are many types of mushrooms that are considered wild edible plants in Arkansas…or, in this case, wild edible Fungi in Arkansas.

More Information About Wild Mushrooms in Arkansas

Black Walnuts

Black Walnuts (Juglans nigra) are a prolific wild edible nut that grows in Arkansas. However, it also might be one of the most frustrating nuts to process.

Special tools and a strong will are required to conquer this nut.

But, for the ambitious, the rewards are tasty.

Tips about Foraging for Black Walnuts in Arkansas

  • Black Walnuts are some of the hardest wild nuts to harvest and prepare.
  • Black Walnuts have a extremely hard shell that makes getting the meat difficult.
  • Black Walnuts will stain your hands and it can last for weeks.
  • Once hulled, toss the nuts into water. If they float, throw them out.
  • Seek expert advice for processing Black Walnuts. It’s a difficult job.


Muscadines are a favorite wild edible plant in Arkansas for me. I have eaten many that have been cultivated as well but there are plenty to be foraged for in Arkansas.

Read more here: Muscadines in Arkansas – Like a grape but not really

Poke Salat

Known as “Pokeweed”, “Poke Salat”, “Poke Sallet” or “Poke Salad”, this is a popular Arkansas edible plant that many like to forage for.

However, although it is often called “Poke Salad”, it is not considered a salad green. Pokeweed should never be eaten raw.

About Arkansas Salat

The term “poke salad” is actually a misnomer.  Even though that’s what a lot of people call the most common pokeweed dish, its true name is poke sallet or poke salat.  That’s because poke has been eaten for so long by our European ancestors here in North America.  The word sallet comes from an older form of English, and refers to something like a cooked salad.  So, now you know: “poke salad” is actually poke sallet.source

Queen Anne’s Lace

Some people enjoy lightly battering and frying the white flower heads of these wild carrots while others eat them raw.

Other Names for Queen Anne’s Lace

  • Duacus Carota
  • Wild Carrot

Queen Anne’s Lace Lookalikes

  • Poison hemlock
  • Cow parsnip
  • Sweet anise/Fennel
  • Sweet cicely

Queen Anne’s Lace Foraging Tips

Since these wild carrots have poisonous lookalikes, it is important to take an expert with you while foraging. Do your research before you go. Never risk your health over a foraging trip. If in doubt, walk on by.

Wild Mexican Plums

Prunus mexicana, commonly known as the Mexican plum, is a North American species of plum tree that can be found in the central United States and Northern Mexico.Wikipedia

Mexican plums mature in September. They are small purplish-red round fruit that people make into jam or jelly.

The taste of Mexican plums is very inconsistent. Some of them are sweet while others are extremely bitter. Unfortunately, color is not an indication of taste so it’s very hit or miss.

Other names for Wild Mexican Plums

  • Prunus Mexicana
  • Mexican plum
  • Winter plums

Also, don’t miss this: 8 Wild Berries in Arkansas That You’ll Love

Arkansas Persimmon

Persimmons are one of those fruits that divides people. Typically, you either like them or you don’t.

Personally, I have only had a very bitter persimmon. I haven’t had one since because the experience wasn’t one I was willing to have again.

However, when fully ripe, I’ve been told that they are delicious.

Other names for the Arkansas persimmon

  • Diospyros virginiana
  • “Fruit of the Gods”

Wild Passion Fruit

The flowers of the Wild Passion Fruit are so unique that you just can’t miss this plant. In fact, on my UTV ride to my mailbox yesterday, I spotted Wild Passion Fruit growing down by our creek!

Other Names For Wild Passion Fruit

  • Passiflora incarnata
  • Maypop

Wild Passion Fruit foraging and Eating Tips

  • All parts of the plant are edible
  • blooms are good as a snack or in a salad
  • If you decide to dig up and eat the roots, you probably won’t have Wild Passion Fruit next year.

How to Eat a Wild Passion Fruit

The simplest way to eat [Wild Passion Fruit] is peeling off the outer skin and popping the inner seeds and pulp right in your mouth. No preparation needed. If you go this route, we don’t recommend chewing them, since the seeds are hard. You basically just suck on them and swallow the seeds whole once the flavor is extracted from the pulp surrounding the seeds. Once done, you can also spit out the seeds if you’re averse to having more dietary fiber. –source


I make elderberry syrup each Fall and Winter to help build our immune systems and keep sickness away. Unfortunately, we buy our elderberries and they aren’t cheap.

I recently learned that elderberries grow wild in Arkansas and it’s likely that we have them growing right here on our property but I have always forgotten to look for them in the spring.

Elderberries are easiest to locate in the spring because of their large white blossoms.

Warning About Arkansas Elderberries

  • Raw elderberries are toxic.
  • The seeds, leaves, and bark of the elderberry tree are toxic.
  • Always cook elderberries before eating.


When we first moved to our land, we had to do some clearing before we could build our house. We bought 5 acres of woods and there simply wasn’t any open space for building.

We cleared only what we had to and left the rest for the deer, coyotes, birds, and squirrels.

Then the sumac came.

In the areas that were cleared near the edge of the woods, sumac started growing. In fact, I’m looking at the sumac plant out our back window right now.

They are pretty plants that grow incredibly fast.

However, I didn’t know that people forage for sumac berries until a few years ago.

About Arkansas Sumac

Sumacs are dioecious, meaning that individual colonies will be either male or female. Flowers appear at the end of the branches in early summer as 6-inch tall, yellow-green, ice cream cone shaped panicles. Female plants then produce the familiar head of maroon berries in the fall. These berries, while hardly fleshy, can be harvested and used to make a reasonably tasty pink lemonade-like tea.source

Other Names for Arkansas Sumac

Rhus glabra
Smooth Sumac

Uses for Sumac in Arkansas

  • Some people harvest the berries and make a pink lemonade tea.
  • I have heard that a “sun tea” made from sumac berries is delicious.

Arkansas Foraging Disclaimer

This article was written for entertainment purposes only. It is not to be considered as expert advice. We are not suggesting or implying what is or is not safe to consume. Everyone’s bodies and reactions are different. There are many variables when foraging. Only two examples are: 1. Some wild edibles must be processed to remove toxins. 2. Be aware that many wild edible plants in Arkansas also have toxic lookalikes.
Always seek expert help. Forage at your own risk.

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