Edible weeds found in the UK – GardenHomeLife4u


While many people think of weeds as a nuisance, they can actually be quite useful. Many of them are edible, and some are even delicious! I’ll show you some of my favorite edibles in this post, but first let’s get one thing straight: not all plants with the word ‘weed’ in their name are bad! In fact, many serve important functions in our ecosystem and should be considered good guys—they just happen to grow where we don’t want them right now. So if you’re wondering whether something is edible or not (and safe), here’s a list of common UK weeds that I’ve found so far

dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)Edible weeds found in the UK1

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial herb native to Europe and North Africa. It has bright yellow flowers and jagged leaves with deep lobes. Dandelion is a weed of lawns, gardens and parks. It can also be found in disturbed sites such as roadsides.

Pineapple weed (matricaria discoidea) Edible weeds found in the UK2

Pineapple weed is a common plant in the UK. It grows wild and is edible, but it can also be cultivated to make teas and salads. The leaves are sweet and taste like pineapple, hence the name – they’re also sometimes called chamomile because of their resemblance to that herb. Pineppy weeds are native to Britain!

fat hen (Chenopodium album)  Edible weeds found in the UK3

Fat hen is a perennial weed that’s often found growing in waste areas and along roadsides. Its leaves and flowers are edible, so you can use them in salads, soups and stews. If you’re not up for eating the whole plant, try using fat hen to make some tasty stir fries, pasta dishes or risottos!

It also tastes great in sandwiches—try adding some fresh baby spinach (also called New Zealand spinach) to your next sandwich instead of lettuce for an extra dose of nutrients. You can also use fathen leaves as a base for green smoothies with or without fruit added on top of the greens themselves; just blend everything together until it forms a thick green liquid which will taste delicious with any fruit topping such as strawberries or raspberries on top!

Milkweed (asclepias syriaca) Edible weeds found in the UK4

Milkweed is a perennial herbaceous plant with milky sap. It belongs to the milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae, and grows wild in many parts of the world. It is considered an invasive species on some continents (e.g., Australia) because it can crowd out other native plants by spreading its seeds far and wide via wind or animals that eat them, such as birds and insects.

Milkweed is toxic to most animals due to a combination of irritants found within its leaves and flowers: saponin glycosides called cardenolides which cause irritation when they come into contact with skin or mucous membranes; latex-like resins that are released when the stem is cut; and alkaloids that may poison animals’ organs from ingestion over time.[1] There are however some caterpillars that feed on milkweed[2], so this plant must have some kind of evolutionary advantage for them!

Queen anne’s lace (daucus carota) Edible weeds found in the UK5

Queen anne’s lace (Daucus carota) is a wild carrot, identifiable by its leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. It is not related to the cultivated carrot and should not be eaten raw because it contains toxic alkaloids. However, it can be used as a substitute for parsley or coriander in cooking. Queen anne’s lace has been found to contain high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium as well as iron which makes it suitable for use as a medicinal herb.

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Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) Edible weeds found in the UK6

Purslane is a succulent weed that’s common in gardens, fields and wasteland. It has many other names – purslane, portulaca, moss rose and little hogweed – but they all refer to the same plant.

Purslane lives on any kind of moderately moist ground, including lawns and paths. It grows low to the ground with leaves which look similar to those of spinach or beetroot. The flowers are small pinkish-red spots arranged in clusters on top of each leaf stalk.

The stems are fleshy with a waxy shine; this gives them a smooth feel if you rub your fingers over them (otherwise known as ‘dry’ or ‘crunchy’ weeds). They also have tiny hairs on their stems called trichomes that help protect against insects eating them away from underneath by getting trapped between these two layers! This can make some foods taste bitter or unpleasant when eaten raw though so always wash thoroughly before using!

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) Edible weeds found in the UK7

You might know this common weed as sheep sorrel, but its scientific name is Rumex acetosella. The leaves are edible and can be used in salads or cooked. The leaves are quite sour, so they make a nice addition to your salad bowl if you’re looking for something different (and they’re still edible even if they’ve been around for too long). It’s also possible to use them in soups or as a substitute for spinach in recipes.

red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum) Edible weeds found in the UK8

Red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum) is a perennial weed belonging to the mint family. The leaves of this plant are edible and can be used in salads, soups and stews.

The best time to harvest red dead-nettle is before it flowers, which is usually from late spring to early summer.

chickweed (Stellaria media) Edible weeds found in the UK9

Chickweed is a common weed that grows in lawns and gardens. It’s edible, but should be eaten with caution as it can cause a mild rash or stomach upset if you eat too much of it. Chickweed tastes like spinach, and has been used as a substitute for it when spinach is unavailable. Chickweed can be used in salads, soups and stir fries. It makes an excellent sandwich filling too!

nettles (Urtica dioica) Edible weeds found in the UK10

Nettles are a common weed that grow in fields and gardens throughout the UK. They have a distinct bitter taste, and are high in vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. They’re also a good source of protein—a handful contains around 3g of protein!

Nettles can be cooked in a variety of ways: try steaming them with garlic butter or sautéing them in olive oil with lemon juice to make this tasty side dish.

ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) Edible weeds found in the UK11

Ground elder, also called bishop’s weed, is a common plant that grows across the UK. It has a celery-like taste and can be used in salads or soups.

Ground elder can also be used as a substitute for celery; it makes an excellent addition to pesto, stir fries and curries.

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sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) Edible weeds found in the UK12

Sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a biennial weed that can grow up to 2 metres tall, with leaves similar to those of lettuce. The flowers are pink and look very much like dandelion flowers. It’s a native plant found throughout Europe and Asia, though it has been introduced to North America as well.

Sow thistle is edible and contains calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It can be used in salads or sandwiches – the stem tastes milder than the leaves; or you can use it as an ingredient in stir fries or make herbal medicine from the roots.

Japanese knotweed (reynoutria japonica) Edible weeds found in the UK13

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that can grow up to 2m tall and is a perennial herbaceous plant. It’s also edible and not native to the UK.

You can eat the leaves of Japanese knotweed raw, but they have a different taste when cooked. The rhizomes (or roots) are best eaten after they’ve been dried and ground into powder, or fried in oil. You can fry them up with some bacon or meat if you want something more substantial, or add them to soup if you prefer something lighter!

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis) Edible weeds found in the UK14

Wood sorrel is a common weed that grows in lawns and gardens. It has heart-shaped leaves, with three to seven shallow lobes. The stem of wood sorrel is long and thin with whitish hairs at the base.

In spring, it produces white flowers with five petals; these grow on stalks known as pedicels that are about 2cm long. You can eat the young shoots raw or cooked – they taste like spinach! Wood sorrel leaves can also be used in salads if you cut them small enough, but they have a very sharp flavour so you need to mix them with milder greens such as lettuce or rocket (arugula).

When picking wood sorrel plants, make sure there are no signs of disease such as mouldy spots on the leaves or stems; if there are any insects present on your plant then don’t pick it – these could spread disease to other plants nearby!

Garlic mustard (alliaria petiolata) Edible weeds found in the UK15

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a biennial plant that grows up to 6 feet tall and has a strong garlicky taste. Garlic mustard can be used in salads, stews and soups. It’s also used to make pesto.

Garlic mustard contains high amounts of iron and calcium, making it an excellent source for both nutrients.

Jewelweed (impatiens capensis) Edible weeds found in the UK16

Jewelweed is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant that grows in moist soil. It is native to North America, and while there are a few different types of jewelweed that grow in Europe as well, this article will focus solely on impatiens capensis. Typically found near or in woodlands or along streams and ponds, jewelweed thrives in damp environments and likes to spread its seeds by way of water runoff.

Jewelweed has bright orange flowers that bloom from July through September (or later into November if you have warm weather), which make it easier for pollinators to find the plant’s nectar. These bright colors also serve as a warning sign for certain animals (like deer) who might otherwise eat the leaves; when they do eat the leaves, their stomachs get upset because jewelweed contains bitter chemicals called saponins that cause distressful symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting—a good thing if you’re trying not to be eaten by predators!

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Plantain (Plantago) Edible weeds found in the UK17

The plantain is a perennial herb that grows in most parts of the world and has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. It contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

  • Iron: Plantains contain 0.8 mg per 100 g serving of iron—which is 7% of the recommended daily value (RDI). Iron helps make red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body. If you are deficient in this mineral then you may experience weakness or fatigue as well as pale skin and hair loss.
  • Calcium: Plantains contain 18 mg per 100 g serving—or about 9% RDI for calcium! This mineral plays an important role in bone health because it makes up part of your bones which help keep them strong so they don’t break easily when we’re active or put weight on them regularly like when we walk or run around town all day long without stopping once just to rest our eyes from staring at other people’s faces while they talk with each other (yikes!). Anyway…we need calcium to stay healthy because if we don’t get enough then our bones can become brittle over time which increases risk factor for osteoporosis (bone loss) later down life’s road once retirement kicks into gear!

Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) Edible weeds found in the UK18

Curly dock is a member of the buckwheat family, but it is not related to the edible herbs that you might recognize. It grows in damp soil, fields, and on roadsides, and can be found throughout Europe and North America.

Curly dock has leaves that grow opposite each other at right angles along its stem. The leaves are kidney-shaped with two lobes pointing towards each other—this makes them look like they have sharp edges or points on their edges when they’re folded over in half (rather than being smooth like other plants). The plant also produces small yellow flowers during summertime which turn into seeds by autumn.

The roots of curly dock are often mistaken for rhubarb because they taste similar to it when cooked! However, there are some differences between them: rhubarb has green stems but curly dock does not; both have red juice when crushed; and curly docks tend to be smaller than rhubarbs (but this varies depending upon where you find them).

These weeds are edible and can add interest to your meals. Edible weeds found in the UK19

Edibles can add interest to your meals and make them healthier too. They can be used in salads, sandwiches (think rocket pesto on rye bread) and smoothies. They can also be cooked in soups, stews and casseroles. Some edible weeds will add a nice kick when used in pesto or other pesto-based sauces.


We have highlighted and shed light on some edible weeds found in the UK, however before you enjoy them we advise you to be cautious and do your full research before consumption.

Remember, some of these weeds can be toxic if they’re cooked incorrectly. Always research your weeds before cooking them and make sure you know what you are doing!

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