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 Native Edible  Plants of New ZealandBOOK REVIEWS

A Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of New Zealand

Andrew Crowe
Published by Penguin

THIS is not really a gardening book and certainly not haute cuisine. However, Native Edible Plants of New Zealand, with its mine of information about our heritage, will captivate readers.

There's no doubt that Andrew Crowe, an award-winning author of more than 30 natural history titles, is well qualified. The story of how he was inspired to write the book is almost as intriguing as the revelations about his 190 chosen plants. Suffice to say, it involved some hungry, testing times in the wild and, at the very least, a couple of knowledgeable mentors.

Each entry, most accompanied by a line-drawing, details the plant's description, where it can be found, the part eaten, when it's available, its use and other related plants. You'll find trees, shrubs, ferns, fungi, lichen and seaweed - most, if not taste-tempting, at least... well, edible.

Some plants are rare and endangered and, if you want to eat something, be sure you know what it is and what its qualities are to avoid poisoning yourself.

Crowe defines his work as a practical guide about what can be eaten as well as a comprehensive study of early Maori plant foods. It has the hallmark of a useful pocketbook for anyone "going bush". To anyone with a love of the outdoors, it's sure to be an interesting read and - who knows? - a possible life-saver.

Also see an earlier review of this book

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: March 1, 2021