"I recently discovered at the Horticultural Society of New York’s exhibit of composer/forager John Cage’s folios for his 1972 Mushroom Book that Cage once had to have his stomach pumped after misidentifying a hellebore for skunk cabbage and accidentally poisoning an entire dinner party. Which brings me to the number one fear of many would-be foragers: having to get your (or worse, your child’s) stomach pumped after mistaking a hellebore for skunk cabbage, or eupatorium for garlic mustard, or pokeweed in its poisonous stage for pokeweed in its edible stage, or…you get the picture. This is why it’s important for a beginner to find a good guidebook, or even better a seasoned veteran to guide you in identifying species, as well as making sure you’re practicing sustainably and within city code."

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AuthorJohn Proctor