Backyard Salad by Pat Naughton


Chickweed is a typical weed found in landscapes. It makes a great base for the salad. The flowers, base, and stems are all edible. When the flowers are in full bloom, it is at its best state for eating. It tastes a lot like spinach.

Redbud trees are native and abundant in in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. In spring the tree is covered with bright purple blooms. The blooms taste like snow peas. They contain a large amount of vitamin C.

Wood Sorrell

Oxalis has shamrock leaves which why it is commonly referred to as Good Luck Plant and Shamrock Plant. It grows in shady moist areas. The leaves, flowers, and roots are edible. It does contain oxalic acid, so use it sparingly. This will give the salad a tangy flavor.


Dandelions are the nemesis of every lawn. All parts of the dandelion are edible. The yellow blossoms add some crunch to the salad. Pick the youngest greenest leaves in the center. The leaves are bitter so use sparingly

Wild garlic and Wild Onion

In the spring these weeds appear in lawns as tall thin leaves. in the spring. They can be used like chives in a salad.

Wild Violets can be found in the woods in the Spring. The blooms are edible and add color to the salad.

Wild Violets
Johnny Jump-ups

Johnny Jump Ups are part of the pansy family. The flowers are edible and have a slight minty flavor. They contain saponins and could be toxic in large amounts; however, they are used as an anti-inflammatory and contain antioxidants.

Be sure to thoroughly wash the plants before eating.

For more information: This a summary of a video by Travis Birdsell, County Extension Director and Extension Agent for Ashe, NC, and his daughter Alice. They forage the backyard for salad items. It can be found on YouTube ( Photos are from NC State Extension Plant Toolbox