Forage plant species of the European Mediterranean

Following is a list of wild flora species, or horta, which are traditionally collected and eaten throughout Greece and the European Mediterranean, and beyond. I will continue to update this list and provide links to species pages with more extensive information. 

The Mediterranean basin has a long and multifaceted cultural history and harbors a high biodiversity. Despite the increasing attention and studies on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, no studies thus far have incorporated data related to the consumption of the many species of wild greens that make up such an important part of traditional diets throughout Greece, S. Spain and S. Italy.  Leoniti et. al argues that the "culinary use of wild gathered weedy greens evolved together with the neolithization process, since this offered the necessary ecological niches for them to thrive, thereby enriching and securing the diets of European agriculturalists."





Allium neapolitanum



Amaranthus blitum

Salicornia europea



Caucalis (bur chervil, kafkalithra)

Foeniculum vulgare (marathon, wild fennel   

Tordylium apium (Mediterranean hartwort) kafkalida

Scandix pectin veneris (shepherd’s needles, myroni)



Muscari comosum

Asparagus officinalis

Asparagus acutifolius

Asparagus stipularis



Carduus argentatus ssp. acicularis

Chichorium intybus – radiki

Taraxacum officinale - radiki, Dandelion

Helminthotheca echioides

Lactuca scariola - milk thistle, prickly lettuce, petromaroulo


Sonchus oleraceus - sowthistle, zohos

Tragopogon (yellow salsify, tragopogon)

Urospermum picroides (agriozohos)

Silybum marianum



Borage (boratzi)



Capsella bursa-pastoris

Eruca sativa

Sinapsis alba (white mustard, sinapi)

Lepidium sativum (kardamo)

Hirschfeldia incana (mustard greens, vrouves)



Opunitia ficus-indica



Capparis spinosa



Picridium vulgare – pikralida, galatsida



Tamus communis (Avronies, Black bryony) 



Erodium cicutarium (redstem stork’s bill, kalogeros



Salvia officinalis

Tymus vulgaris

Origanum vulgare



Ornithogalum umbellatum (grass lily, star of Bethlehem)



Malva sylvestris (blue mallow)



Myrtus communis



Oxalis pes-caprae



Rumex obtusifolius (lapatho) 



Portulaca oleracea



Reseda alba (rezda, white upright mignonette)



Rubus fruticosus



Solanum nigrum (styfno)

Scolymus (golden thistle, askolymbrus)



Urtica dioca – tsouknida



Vitis vinifera





Lactarius delisiosus

Lycoperdon perlatum

Cantharellus cibarius


Centaurea calcitrapa ssp. angusticeps, Centaurea hyalolepis, Ceratonia siliqua, Cichorium intybus, Crataegus azarolus, Crataegus monogyna, Crithmum maritimum, Cynara cardunculus, Cynara cornigera, Cynara scolymus, Echinops spinosissimus, Eruca sativa, Eryngium creticum, Eryngium glomeratum, Ficus carica, Foeniculum vulgare, Gundelia turnefortii, Laurus nobilis, Limonium sinuatum, Malva parviflora, Mentha pulegium, Mentha spicata, Muscari comosum, Myrtus communis, Nasturtium officinale, Notobasis syriaca, Onopordum bracteatum, Onopordum cyprium, Origanum dubium, Origanum majorana var. tenuifolium, Portulaca oleracea, Pistacia lentiscus, Pyrus syriaca, Rosmarinus officinalis, Scolymus hispanicus, Scolymus maculatus,  Silene vulgaris, Silybum marianum, Sinapis alba, Sinapis arvensis, Sonchus oleraceus, Taraxacum cyprium, Taraxacum hellenicum, Thymus capitatus,  Ziziphus lotus

Piperaceae, Peperomia pellucida

Peperonia I am curious why this post receives more hits then practically any other on this blog. Any feedback to that effect would be appreciated. 

Peperonia, along with Purslane and Talinium triangulare, is one of those edible herbs that can be found growing out of the cracks of sidewalks and in abandoned niches throughout the city, few people understand that it is an excellent edible leaf, with a delicate taste, reminiscent of cilantro. It has a very shallow root and a succulent stem (also edible), it volunteers itself and grows extensively throughout my nurseries, usually self-propagating at the base of larger potted trees. 

The leaves can be added to salads. In the west Indies they are used to make tea. Medicinally the leaves adn stems are used in a poultice to treat eye infections. A deconcoction of the leaves is used to lower uric acid (for rheumatism and gout).

See link for more on Peperomia medicinal applications: http://www.drugs.com/npp/peperomia-pellucida.html

The other Piper species yielding edible leaves are Piper umbellatum and Piper stylosum, there are probably others. Piper betel is also worth mentioning because, although the leaf isn't eaten as one would eat Peperomia, the leaves are used as a part of the betel quid, wrapped around the seed of Areca catechu, the betel nut palm, very common throughout southeast Asia. I am propagating the betel nut palm in my nurseries but have yet to find Piper betel.