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These 10 Invasive Plant Species Are Surprisingly Delicious

If any of these weeds are proving a nuisance in your farm or garden, the solution might just be simpler than you think

There was a time when the only place you might encounter a thicket of invasive Japanese knotweed or a tangle of pokeweed was while bushwacking in the urban or rural wilds. While most weeds will be left to languish in the wilderness, there is a growing awareness that many of these unruly plants—usually a blight to farmers and home gardeners—have something in common: They can be quite good to eat. This spring, bundles of tender, young knotweed and pokeweed shoots will be appearing tentatively at greenmarkets. Along with wild cresses, aggressive onions, rampant mugwort, and habitat-altering autumn berries, they represent a steadily rising tide of edibles-formerly-known-as-weeds becoming available to cooks.

Thanks to foragers, attendant trending hashtags like #wildfoodlove, and the emerging practice of what I call conservation foraging (focusing on sustainable harvest practices and the collection of invasive species), many weeds that landowners battle on their lawns are the same ingredients appearing on restaurant menus, in CSA boxes, and at the market.

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