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Illinois Audubon Society Quiz—Just Off the Twig

Just Off the Twig - Wild, Edible, And Maybe Delectable

By Patty Gillespie

With purple-tinged lips (from having eaten delicious mulberries right off the twig) my six-year-old grandson asked as he pointed, “Is that pink little round fruit edible?” Thus began our summer of discovering “taste sensations” on the shrubs and small trees of our tramping grounds (barnyard, fencerow, woodland edge, forest, old field, and habitat restoration area). We found treasure from low at creek’s edge to high on cliff top. Of course, we played it safe, conducting research and verifying botanical identification when necessary. Some fruits (even blossoms) were savored; some spit out quickly. Sometimes I knew to bring along the berry-pickin’ buckets, so I could later fix the luscious family favorites. Other times, even this old outdoor enthusiast was surprised.