10 edible weeds to collect and grow at home - AGT (2023)

I firmly believe that weeds are just plants that have found themselves in the wrong place. They can spread aggressively and even complicate other aspects of gardening, but that doesn't mean they don't have their merits.

Many native Australian weeds are actuallyedible weed, and not only safe to eat, but really tasty.

In this guide, we're going to give you some information on what you can eat, how to prepare it, and even how to grow it (if you're brave enough and committed enough to prevent death and stop it from spreading).


10 edible weeds to forage and grow at home

What are native weeds?

10 Edible Weeds in Australia

1. Native cress (Barbarea australis)

2. Wild Parsnips (Trachymene Cut)

3. Mountain Lion (Taraxacum aristum)

4. Coast dandelion (Taraxacum cygnorum)


5. Nettles

6. Sauerampfer (Oxalis exilis)

7. Caruru (purslane)

9. Schafsauerampfer (Rumex acetosella)

10. Golden Acacia (Acacia pycnantha)

Frequently asked questions about edible weed

Grow your own edible weed at home

What are native weeds?

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Native weeds, as opposed to non-native weeds, mean only weeds that occur naturally in Australia and have not been introduced through trade, shipping or horticulture.

Most dandelion species, for example, are edible, but they're not actually native to Australia (in fact, only two of the hundreds of dandelion species are native to our shores). In this guide we will mainly be looking at annual weeds, but we will also be looking at some biennial and perennial weeds.

The reason annual weeds are better suited for culinary use is that they tend to have cleaner, crisper leaves that make for better salad leaves - although there are some fascinating tree species whose leaves are edible and have a deliciously nutty flavor when they are wilted like spinach.

10 Edible Weeds in Australia

1. Native cress (Barbarea australis)

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Native Wintercrass is a member of the Brassica family with a slightly sweet flavor. The seeds of this edible herb can be used dried and ground to add a subtle mustard flavor to any dish. Although only common in Tasmania, it can be grown worldwide and should not be harvested in the wild as it is endangered.

  • Where to find: Tasmania and the cool riverbanks of South Australia
  • Use: Leaves, stems, flowers and seeds are edible raw, cooked or dried
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, and it doesn't spread very quickly

2. Wild Parsnips (Trachymene Cut)

Wild parsnip is another Brassica with wonderfully tender young leaves that can be used raw as a base for a salad, but all parts of the plant are edible. Depending on what time of year you harvest the wild turnip leaves, they can have a subtle cabbage flavor or even be quite spicy.

  • Where to find: Western Australia
  • Use: Use young leaves in salads or older wild leaves.
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, but it is difficult to control

3. Mountain Lion (Taraxacum aristum)

Mountain dandelion is one of only two true dandelions native to Australia and the more common 'false dandelion' is not truly native and can become invasive if planted in the wrong location. Mountain Dandelion is much easier to grow and control by simply deadheading her.

  • Where to find: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania
  • Use: Eat the leaves and flowers raw in salads or wilt older leaves like spinach
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, and it can be controlled by regular diebacks or growing in cloches

4. Coast dandelion (Taraxacum cygnorum)

Dandelion leaves have a wonderful, lettuce-like flavor and texture. They also carry dressings fairly well, so serving doesn't feel like lining and can be quite luxurious.

  • Where to find: South West Australia
  • Use: Eat the leaves and flowers raw in salads or wilt older leaves like spinach
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, and it can be controlled by regular diebacks or growing in cloches

5. Nettles

Despite the pain they cause raw, stinging nettles are actually a delicious food plant. Traditional nettle soup is packed with antioxidants, and while the flavor may not suit everyone, it is readily available and safely harvested from any clean environment for use in the kitchen.

  • Where to find: South East Australia but common everywhere
  • Use: Steam or wilt nettles to avoid burning
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, but it spreads through roots and seeds, so it's better to grow it in pots

6. Sauerampfer (Oxalis exilis)

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All parts of these creeping ground covers are edible, from the leaves and flowers to the seeds and even the stems. Sorrell's slightly bitter flavor lends itself well to cutting through sweet sauces, and it works just as well cooked as it does raw. Although wood sorrel can self-seed in the garden, it is a lovely native ground cover plant that can be added to any low planting scheme.

  • Where to find: Throughout Australia, mainly on slopes and well-drained places
  • Application: Can be dried in tea, mixed in soups or eaten raw in salads
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, but it will spread and can appear anywhere in the garden from seed

7. Caruru (purslane)

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Personally, I'm not a fan of the texture of caruru, so I always cook it in soups to add a slightly tart but fresh flavor to summer dishes. However, it can be used raw in salads, but the slightly juicy leaves are an acquired taste.

  • Where to find: Grows throughout Australia
  • Usage: The young leaves can be eaten raw, and the mature leaves are beautifully tender when cooked.
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, and while it can be fierce, it's easy to split and thin around the edges if it gets out of hand

8. Banana-da-terra (Plantago major)

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Plantains – not to be confused with plantains from the banana family, these are perennials that are very good at propagating through seed in lawns and open ground, covering the competition. However, once cooked, they make a great alternative to spinach or kale as a firm, textured leafy green.

  • Where to find: In all parts of Australia
  • Usage: The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but it is best to boil them to soften their fibers.
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes, but keep it away from lawns

9. Schafsauerampfer (Rumex acetosella)

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Sheep sorrel's acidic citrus leaves make it a great culinary weed to grow at home, in addition to its relatively easy growing requirements. However, you will need to trim and remove the seed heads regularly to prevent them from spreading throughout your garden!

  • Where to find it: Available across Australia but more common in colder regions
  • Use: Nice citrus-flavored leaves in salads
  • You can grow it at home: It can be grown at home, but spreads quickly through seeds.

10. Golden Acacia (Acacia pycnantha)

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Remember, not everyoneEdible Australian weedare at ground level. There are many edible species of acacia that easily spread like weeds in the garden, on roadsides or in the open ground. Be sure to use the correct acacia species to harvest the seeds.

  • Where to find: South East Australia
  • Application: The dried seeds are edible and are often used as a spice.
  • Can you grow it at home: Yes; These short-lived trees are easy to control but should be grown at least 10m away from buildings.

Here is ourGuide the native Australian Golden Wattlefor more informations.

Frequently asked questions about edible weed

What weeds are edible in Western Australia?

Dock,AmarantheWarrigal GreensThey are all edible and widespread in Western Australia. Keep in mind that not all edible weeds are necessarily native and many Brassica and Amaranth species have become well established in Australia.

What can you harvest in Australia?

You can harvest much more than weeds in Australia and there are many edible plants that grow in the wild and are excellent food sources.Lemonsand macadamias ensure bountiful harvests at the right time of year.

Who shouldn't eat purslane?

Anyone with kidney disease or high uric acid should avoid purslane, especially purslane that is foraging. Purslane is also not known to be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Which non-native weeds are edible?

Some of the best edible non-native weeds are wild carrots, wild fennel, and blackberries. They have all been imported from Europe, and while they are invasive, they typically do not harm wildlife or local ecosystems. They can be grown in gardens or harvested in public spaces.

Which Native Weeds Have Medicinal Uses?

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Plantain, ground ivy, and sorrel all have a number of medicinal properties, but virtually every weed you can eat is packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for you.

Which herbs are good for pain?

Nettles or stinging nettles are great weeds to grow or harvest in the wild. They are widespread and not endangered, so they can be harvested anywhere. Once cooked, they help relieve pain and add antioxidant and antimicrobial support to your diet.

Is chickweed good for the skin?

Chickweed is not only good to eat, but it can also be used as a topical treatment to relieve the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

Grow your own edible weed at home

Harvesting your own native Australian weed is fun, free and healthy, but make sure you are familiar with each species before going foraging as there are many non-edible species in the same genus as some of the plants above , and some herbaceous weeds that they are poisonous.

If you're not a confident collector, find seeds and grow your own edible weed at home. With the right considerations and smart design, you can create a beautiful garden of edible weed that is full of flavor and easy to care for.

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