Floraging 102 | Staying safe & sustainable

Be seasonal, ethical and gentle.

-Fennel Hudson

You’re a grown-up so we’re not here to preach, but it’s good to have a few resources to refer to when you’re new to floraging, so you stay safe and make sure what you’re doing is sustainable.

View of country roadside

First up - don’t be a dick! If you’ve got an interest in floraging I doubt that’s the case, but when taking material from our natural world, think about the impact you’re having on it and yourself. Here’s a few of my top tips from several decades worth of floraging out in the wild:

  • respect private property, parks and reserves. If in doubt - ask!
  • roadside plants may have been exposed to pesticides, be cautious! If you are sensitive to such things take precautions (like wearing gloves) and always, always wash your hands after working with found flora.
  • just like your backyard garden, a whole bunch of plants in the wild can be and are quite poisonous. Again, err on the side of caution and if in doubt of if you have small children or animals around – leave it out.
  • wild food foraging uses the rule of thirds – which is also a good idea for floraging. Only take a up to a third of any wild plant you see. Leave a third for others and, most importantly, leave a third for growth and regeneration and other wild things that depend upon it.
  • keep your eyes and wits about you – often the coolest things grow in the trickiest places. Roadside drains, road verges and pullovers are prime floraging spots but remember you are beside a road and need to take care where you park (if you’re in your car), where you walk, and who else (I’m talking bitey wildlife here!) might also live where you’re floraging and want to defend their home!

It's good to learn as much as you can about wild plants and their properties, so you know what you are working with. Some good references and reading for the flora found in my home (Aotearoa-New Zealand) are shown below:



Which Coastal Plant |Andrew Crowe | Penguin Books | 2003

An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds | Ian Popay, Paul Champion, Trevor James | NZ Plant Protection Society | 2010

Pick of the Bunch – NZ Wildflowers | Peter Johnson | Longacre Press | 2004



Beginners Guide to Foraging (thisNZlife.co.nz) | although not specific to floraging, the broad principles of foraging for food in Aotearoa-NZ also apply to floraging (with the exception of course that you are NOT (and SHOULD NOT be!!) going to eat your foraged beauty).

Plants in NZ Poisonous to Children | a great PDF (printable) resource by Manaaki Whenua/Landcare Research that provides guidance on plants which might be harmful if eaten by children. Recommended reading if you are planning to florage and have children in the house.  There's also a downloadable pictorial poster shown below:



Jill Titter - Florager


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