The full app will give users of all hand-held devices the in-depth information they need to identify, harvest ecologically, and use 165 of the best wild edible and medicinal plants of North America, plus details of about 52 look-alikes. The focus will be eastern species, but half the plants and many more close relatives grow across the country.
This takes foraging beyond what's in any book, taking full advantage of the newly developing media technology, each plant is paired with up to eight detailed pictures. My 718 photos, paintings, and drawings present all aspects of these tasty, nutritious, in-demand renewable resources in all their seasonal varieties, something simply not cost-effective with print media.
Plants are easily searchable by a number of different criteria (season, habitat etc.) and arranged alphabetically for quick access in the field. Each herb, green, shoot, fruit, berry, nut, seed, root, or seaweed listed contains detailed identification info, a checklist of critical features, scientific and common names, parts used, food uses, seasons, range, habitat, poisonous and non-poisonous look-alikes, related species, cautions, and clarification of any factors that may cause confusion.
I provide practical tips (and quips) for harvesting the plants ("Never pull out a cattail if there's an Animal Rights activist watching!"), as well as details about preparing them. 175 scrumptious vegan recipes, from simple ones such as Garlicky Chickweed with Penne to elaborate creations such as Black Forest Cake with Wild Cherries, grace this app's electrons.
While I've been recognized as America's top foraging expert for decades, my innovations with wild and vegan whole food dishes will appreciated as soon as you bite into recipes such as Wild American Persimmon Ice Cream, or the unbelievably realistic Cow Parsnip Meatless Loaf (but not if you taste both at the same time!)
The medicinal uses of the wild plants also get full coverage, from practical home remedies in use for centuries, to explanations of the latest cutting-edge pharmacological and nutritional research.
A big advantage of having such a massive amount of information in an app is that you can use it whichever way works best for you. You can look up the plants alphabetically, by season, or by habitat, or find the best toxic species to have on hand in case the boss drops over for dinner. WildEdibles is completely interactive, so you can switch around or find anything in it whenever you choose.
You can use WildEdibles as a cutting-edge vegan cookbook for wild foods or store-bought alternatives, or just sit back and browse through the modern botanical paintings and drawings that rival anything created by 19th-century naturalists. And there's also a detailed introductory section, plus a detailed glossary of botanical terms as close as a tap of the finger.
A lite version with many common, widespread, edible lawn weeds is free. The full app costs $7.99, and a flash card series, great for learning to identify the plants, is available for $0.99 each. Upgrades will become available as WildEdibles continues to grow and develop.
Most plants (somehow, I never got around to testing recipes for poison ivy or water hemlock) come with delicious, healthful, original recipes, and if you want more of these, check out The Wild Vegan Recipe app, with over 800 tasty, innovative wild plant and mushroom recipes.
Get the iPhone/iPad version in the iTunes Store, buy an Android version in The Android Marketplace. Search for WildEdibles by "Wildman" Steve Brill. A dedicated iPad version, and versions for desktop computers will be available later in 2012.