I consider these Rules so important that I would review them with each class that I taught.

1. DO NOT collect plants closer than 100 feet from a car path or contaminated area.

2. NEVER collect from areas sprayed with herbacides, pesticides, or other chemicals.

3. DO NOT collect plants with RED STEMS or red striations or stripes.

4. ALWAYS BE FAMILIAR with all dangerous plants in YOUR area of collection.

5. POSITIVELY IDENTIFY all plants you intend to use for food.

6. Take a piece of the plant between your fingers. SNIFF CAREFULLY. Does it smell like something you would eat? If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. If it does, go on to rule 7.

7. Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy. RUB the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth.

8. WAIT 20 minutes.

9. DOES YOUR GUM ITCH, BURN, TINGLE, SWELL OR STING? If no reaction occurs, go on to rule 10, otherwise DISCARD IMMEDIATELY.

10. Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup. Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. SIP SLOWLY for 20 more minutes. WATCH FOR NAUSEA, BURNING, OR DISCOMFORT.

If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount.

11. WAIT ANOTHER 20 MINUTES and watch for any reaction.

12. Keep all samples AWAY from pets and children who do not know wild food identification.

13. Store all seeds and bulbs AWAY from pets and children who do not know wild food identification.

14. Teach children to keep all plants AWAY from their mouths unless positively identified, and DO NOT ALLOW children to chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.

15. AVOID smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions QUICKLY.

16. BE AWARE of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.

17. BEWARE: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity.

18. CALL AND REPORT chemical spills, illegal dumping, contaminated areas and anything else that might affect safety to children and adults, as well as plants.

19. KEEP EDIBLES SEPARATE from samples to be identified and use separate bags whenever possible. POISONS WILL GIVE THEIR BAD QUALITIES TO FOOD IN THE SAME PROXIMITY.

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