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Edible Plants: A Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of North America

Edible Plants: A Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of North America

by Jimmy Fike
Edible Plants: A Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of North America

Edible Plants: A Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of North America

by Jimmy Fike


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For over a decade, artist Jimmy Fike traveled across the continental United States in an epic effort to photograph wild edible flora. Edible Plants is the culmination of that journey, featuring over 100 photographs that Fike has selectively colorized to highlight the comestible part of the plant.

While the images initially appear to be scientific illustrations or photograms from the dawn of photography when plants were placed directly on sensitized paper and exposed under the sun, a closer look reveals, according to Liesl Bradner of the Los Angeles Times, "haunting [and] eerily beautiful" photographs. Beyond instilling wonder, Fike's contemporary, place-based approach to landscape photography emphasizes our relationship to the natural world, reveals food sources, and encourages environmental stewardship. His clever and beautiful method makes it easy to identify both the specimen and its edible parts and includes detailed descriptions about the plant's wider purposes as food and medicine.

Sumptuously illustrated and delightfully informative, Edible Plants is the perfect gift for anyone curious about unlocking the secrets of native North American plants.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684351718
Publisher: Red Lightning Books
Publication date: 03/01/2022
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 702,256
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 11.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jimmy W. Fike was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1970. Even at an early age he showed a penchant for art and a love for exploring nature. He earned a BA in Art from Auburn Universityand an MFA in Photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Fike's photographs have been exhibited extensively across the United States, published in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, and can be found in the permanent collections of the George Eastman Museum, St. Lawrence University, and the Universityof Alabama Birmingham. He currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his daughter, Isobel, and dogs, Sallie and Scrappy, where he works as Residential Art Faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College.

Read an Excerpt

Manzanita, Arctostaphylos spp.
An evergreen shrub or small tree growing to twenty feet, found in dry sunny places like chaparral shrub lands, coastal scrublands and open forests in the western and southwestern United States. The shrub is identifiable by its red, smooth twisted branches and fruits that look like little apples turning from green to red as the season progresses. The greyish green leaves are leathery, oval and lighter in color on the underside. Its flowers are bell shaped, white to pink and hang in clusters of up to twenty. There are over one hundred species of manzanitas with most producing edible fruits and flowers. The ripe berries are sour but can be eaten raw, added to dishes and desserts or dried and ground for later use. The berries can be crushed and soaked in water to create a cider-like drink. The young flowers are sweet and can be used raw as an addition to salads or as a garnish. Traditionally, manzanita has been used to treat a number of medical conditions; colds, urinary tract infections, stomach aches, bronchitis, and poison ivy.

Sego Lily, Mariposa Lily, Calochortus nuttallii
A slender perennial herb growing to eighteen inches in height; found in woodlands, grasslands, sagebrush scrub, and on dry foothills along the Rocky Mountain corridor and into Utah and Nevada. Other similar species of mariposa lilies can be found throughout the western United States and are identical in edibility. Sego lily bulbs grow relatively deeply and are onion-like in appearance. Its leaves are few and grass like, mostly basal and clasping the thin stalk. The flowers are white to pale yellow with three petals and three sepals with hints of light purple or magenta with a yellow base, cup like in shape, but open, up to three inches across with one to four flowers per plant. Mariposa lilies were an important food source for many Native American tribes in the west. The flower petals can be eaten raw as a sweet trail nibble. The nutritious bulbs can be eaten raw, but are more commonly roasted, steamed or dried and ground for flour that can be added to breads or as a thickening agent in soups. Medicinally, it has been used to treat acne and aid in childbirth. These lilies are rare enough that harvesting should be done very conservatively to maintain healthy populations of this beautiful flower.

Table of Contents

American Lotus
American Speedwell
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Autumn Olive
Ballhead Waterleaf
Bracken Fern
Broadleaf Plantain
California Poppy
Canadian Violet
Chestnut Oak
Chiming Bells
Cow Parsnip
Curly Dock
Desert Hollygrape
Desert Parsley
Desert Trumpet
Eastern Hemlock
Eastern White Pine
False Solomon's Seal
Field Mint
Field Pennycress
Glacier Lily
Ground Cherry
Heal All
Hedge Mustard
Hoary Mountain Mint
Hooker's Evening Primrose
Indian Cucumber
Ithuriel's Spear
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Lemonade Berry
Lemon Balm
London Rocket
Man of the Earth
Marsh Mallow
Marsh Marigold
Miner's Lettuce
Mock Strawberry
Monkey Flower
Nettleleaf Goosefoot
Oxeye Daisy
Pale Touch-Me-Not
Palo Verde
Pineapple Weed
Prickly Lettuce
Salmon Berry
Sea Beans
Sego Lily
Sheep Sorrel
Shooting Star
Skunk Cabbage
Soap Plant
Solomon's Seal
Stone Crop
Swamp Hedgenettle
Water Lily
Wild Ginger
Wild Oats
Wild Oregano
Wild Radish
Wild Rhubarb
Wild Rose
Wood Nettle
Yellow Wood Sorrel
Yerba Santa

What People are Saying About This

Dee Swann

What is most striking about Jimmy Fike's work is his ability bring to life the spirit of a plant. He extrapolates the natural beauty of each individual part of the plant and weaves those parts together to bring to light the plant's true elegance. His works create a powerful, poetic connection between us and the plants that sustain us.

Todd P. Witcher

Jimmy W. Fike's book, Edible Plants: A Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of North America, is 218 pages of botanical pageantry. For those of us fascinated by and focused on wild edibles, and even those who are not, this book will become the gold standard for edible plants in North America. The history, details, and photography are breathtaking!

Customer Reviews