Wild and Feral Southern California


Blackberries (Rubus ursinus) Perennial Cane - Rose Family
Cycles : Greenish red foilage hibernates over winter with it's leaves intact, although possibly redish or purple brown. New green growth in spring, small white flowers emerge, from which the greenish blackberries protrude. They turn red, then black and are tart to sweet as they age.
Habitats: Close to creeks, shaded areas, swampy areas, bottoms of canyons, edges of meadows from Canada south into Mexico
Uses: Berries can be made into baked goods or eaten fresh, or dried, leaves and vines made into varoius concoctions for ailments from stomach ache to diariaha. Roots also used medicinally by Native Americans of the west coast from Canada to Mexico

California Bay (Umbellularia californica) Perennial Tree - Laurel Family
Cycles : Loses a few leaves in fall, slow growth in winter and faster in spring as flowers growth in winter,
Habitats: Bottom of slopes, near streams, chaparral, open areas and shaded canyons from coastal Oregon south to San Diego.
Uses: The leaf is very similar to store bought bay leaves (Lauris noblis), but the California Bay is much more potent. It's leaves can cure headaches and toothaches an relieve mild stomach pain, but if used in excess can also cause them. The leaves are used as a tea, flavoring for foods, as a flea repellent for animals and to repel pests in storage areas. The nuts or fruits can also be harvested. They are green and turn purplish black like olives. They are dried, roasted, then cracked open and eaten, they possess a coffee like flavor.

Oak Tree (Quercus agrifolia) Perennial Tree - Oak Family
Cycles : Acorns are brown in fall and litter the ground, some branches die and turn yellow gold, in spring new leaf growth and flowering turn the colors to light green and yellow
Habitats : Areas below the pinyon juniper forests, below 4,000 feet, canyons, hillsides, creeks, ravines, streams
Uses : As a wood, one of the most important to humans, the nut, acorn can be made into meals, soups, breads and flour, but must be boiled or leached well

Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) Succulent Perennial - Cactus Family
Cycles : Tunas or fruits of the cactusappear in summer and fall, with new pads growing in late winter, early spring that can be eaten raw, in salsas or fried with other veggies.
Habitats : Rocky hillsides, ravines, sunny slopes, desery canyons, gardens, farms, sandy soils, clay soils, requires good drainage,
Uses : many of the feral vareites have been improved to have less spines, the fruit, young pad are edible and prepared in many ways

Walnut (Juglans californica) Perennial Tree - Walnut Family
Cycles : Leaves and fruit are shed in early winter and new growth begins in late winter, with flower clusters, and green walnut fruits by early summer, turns brown in fall
Habitats: Creeks, lower canyon areas, hillsides, foothills, coastal areas, oak forest edges
Uses: the nuts are very nutritious, like miniature store bought walnuts, but smaller and harder


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Herbaceous Perennial - Sunflower Family
Cycles : In the fall and winter dandelions (tooth of lion in french) slow their growth, during spring and summer, they flower and seed, but many dandelions in the same location may be at different stages of growth.
Habitats: in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils
Uses: The flowers have are used to make dandelion wine, the greens can be eaten raw or braised, and the root makes a tea with a earthy taste similar taste to coffee, reportedly good for the liver.

Fennel (Foniculum vulgare) Perennial Herbacous Shrub - Parsley Family
Cycles : Dies back to root in late fall and winter. New growth in late winter early spring, producing yellow flowers in spring and seeds in the summer and early fall.
Habitats : Disturbed hillsides, canyons, chaparral, creeks, roadsides, sidewalks,
Uses: The leaves are edible as early as possible, as well as the bulb, and the seeds are also edible, cleans teeth,

Loquat - (Eriobotrya japonica) - Perennial Tree - Rose Family
Cycles : Dormant in fall and flowering in winter, fruiting in early spring, new leaf growth in the summer
Habitats : medians, front lawns, empty lots, alleys, landscaping, parks
Uses : as a delicious fruit, dried or fresh, oten peeled, with a large seed that can be dried and roasted as a coffee substitute

Mallow (Malva pariflora) - Herbaceous Annual Mallow Family
Cycles : New growth in late winter early spring, producing producing purple flowers and pods
Habitats: disturbed soils, clay soils, empty lots, medians, farms, wildlands
Uses: in a salad, stir fried, in soups, colon cleansing and weight loss tea,

Stinging Nettle (Urticca spp.) Herbaceous Annual - Nettle Family
Cycles : Dies back in fall and winter, new growth after first winter rains in garden beds, creeks, canyons, forests,
Habitats: garden beds, creeks, canyons, forests, sidewalks, empty lots, alleys
Uses: Harvested carefully with gloves and tongs, cooked like spin