What is a weed?

Some plants are definitely weeds, and others are not, aren’t they? A weed is a plant which is dangerous? Poisonous? Unattractive? Not native? Inconvenient? OR simply a plant growing where we don’t want it.
• Some plants that we think of as weeds today were not considered a weed in the past.
• Some plants we think of as weeds where we live, or in our community, are not considered a weed in other cultures or countries.

Edible Weeds – not just Edible!

Did you know that these amazing plants are not just edible? They can have a raft of other benefits! Companion plants

  • Attract/host beneficial insects Repel ‘bad bugs’ e.g., slugs, aphids 
  • Have medicinal and healing properties
  • Can be used as dyes
  • Soil breakers
  • Bring up nutrients from deep down in the ground through long tap roots
  • Can be soil indicators – how much water is in the soil, the nutrients in the soil
  • Provide stock fodder
  • Good ground covers
  • Green mulches
  • Nitrogen fixers

Is there nothing these weeds can’t do?!

A note of caution

– before you start out with edible weeds…

  • Not all parts of a plant may be edible…
  • Some edible plants need to be cooked to be made edible
  • Plants can have poisonous look-alikes
  • Only eat a plant you are sure you have identified correctly – don’t try things
  • Just because an animal or bird eats it doesn’t mean its edible for humans
  • Some things are edible but not practical… ever tried cooking an agave root!?

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.


Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fortune of the Republic, 1878

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Doug Larson