Wild Food in May by Peter from Absolutely Wild

For foraging, May is a transitional month between spring and summer. The beginning of the  month is still very much spring, but by the end of May you are getting early summer classics like elderflower and even the very first chanterelles. The list below is what I have locally in the south. There are great regional variations.

The month is marked by hawthorn blossom (called May blossom for good reason), although these days you can sometimes find it a bit earlier. Hawthorn blossom makes a great syrup and I prefer to use it over the berries. May is also the month when the leaves on broad-leaved tress become abundant. Leaves might sound a bit boring, but the very young leaves of beech can be used to make a great, traditional gin liqueur (sometimes called beach leaf noyau). Beech leaves are abundant too and can be found virtually anywhere. With imagination there are lots of possibilities – beech leaf sorbet and granita…

In May the sea shore comes alive. Sea beet (sea spinach), wild fennel, rock samphire, sea purslane and the first young shoots of marsh samphire can all be found.

And if it rains you’ll get the first abundant mushrooms. This year is superb for St. Georges. They are often urban too (in parks and verges) so look out for this excellent dirty white mushroom. Look out for chicken-of-the-woods, fairy rings and dryads saddle too.


Sea Beet
Sea Purslane
Rock Samphire
Sea Blite
Sea Aster
Wild Fennel Tops


Ground Elder
Ground Ivy
Fat Hen
Hairy Bittercress
Crow Garlic
Wild Garlic
Garlic Mustard
Three Cornered Leek
Common Sorrel
Wood Sorrel
Hogweed (shoots & buds)
Wild Chervil
Oxeye Daisy Leaves
Water Mint
Beech Leaves
Lime Leaves
Pine & Fir Shoots
Horseradish (root & leaves)


Douglas Fir Needles
Bog Myrtle


Wild Garlic Flowers
Three Cornered Leek Flowers
Gorse Flowers
Hawthorn Blossom


Judas Ear
Oyster Mushroom
Fairy Rings
St. Georges
Chicken of the Woods
Dryads Saddle

Peter Studzinski

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