NEBRASKA CITY – Bob Henrickson of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum led a foraging tour Saturday at Nebraska City’s Riverview Nature Park with the promise of harvesting from nature’s spring greens.

Henrickson: “There’s a host of wild edibles that are coming up right now, most notably, get this, stinging nettle.”

He said online information not only tells foragers what the plant looks like, but offers delicious recipes.


He said many plants thought of today as a nuisance were actually brought to the Great Plains as a food source at the break of a long vitamin-starved winter. Nettles had a variety of uses.

Henrickson: “People used to feed it to their horse to sleek their coat. The horse was most expensive possession you owned back in the day, so if you had an 18-year-old horse and you were looking to sell it, you would feed it dry nettles with its hay and that would energize the horse and sleek its coat.”


A dozen foragers walked the nature trail where they sampled plants called bed straw, Creeping Charlie, wild violets, dandelions and sour dock.

Henrickson: “Tons of health benefits with these spring greens.”


He said many times spring greens are high in fiber, but low in calories. Their nutrition levels are often higher than those found in cultivated food plants, especially in terms of trace minerals.

Henrickson: “Get out there, learn more about it. I encourage you because they are worth it, not only because they are nutritious, but also tasty too.”

Not all plants are edible, including the patch of wild bluebell flowers. A quick check on the Internet warned foragers that the plants are entirely toxic.