There are a lot of plants that different sources list as edibles that I won’t. I might even use these plants myself, but I am confident that I know the dangers and the proper use of those plants. I won’t make use of a plant that I am not 100% sure of. For my readers and students, I prefer to focus on “safe plants” as there are just too many things that can go wrong if you make a mistake. As an example, consider the Common Pokeweed.
This is a plant that is completely edible if properly processed. It has even been commercially harvested and canned for public consumption, sold under the name Pokeweed Sallet. The problem, don’t process it properly and it could kill you. Millions of people have eaten this plant with no ill effect. But that doesn’t make it safe. Those people typically grew up knowing the dangers and how to process it because it has been done in their families for generations. I.E. They make it safe. But, most of my readers and students are fairly new to foraging. I find it difficult to believe they will ever run into a foraging situation and only have Pokeweed available. Therefore, I see no reason to push that envelope. Even with that, there are some plants that we will tickle the boundaries on. Mullein for instance. Every part of this plant is usable and non-toxic, with the exception of the seeds. They are reportedly to be toxic and should not be consumed. So why will I recommend using it? Even if a mistake is made and there should not be any, but if there were, the consequences aren’t severe. Plants like Cow Parsnip on the other hand, can cause severe burns as they are photo sensitive plants, even though you can make use of the roots. Why take the chance as a novice forager? It just isn’t worth it.