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What reviewers say about
Uses of Wild Plants

Hortideas. Sept – Oct 2007

Excerpts of
Uses of Wild Plants

Castanea dentata / American Chestnut
Portulaca oleracea / Purslane
Urtica dioica / Stinging Nettle


Sept – Oct 2007

Fewer and fewer book like this one are appearing these days, since “show” (flashy design and full-color photographs) has come to dominate “go” (detailed in-depth information). We expect that none of the major publishing houses would even consider putting out The Uses Of Wild Plants. We think Chelsea Green deserves a lot of credit for providing distribution for this anomaly, not to say anachronism!

Frank Tozer covers an incredible amount of ground here, providing data on how more than 1,200 species of North American plants have been used traditionally as food, animal feed, fuel, medicines, craft materials, and more. The arrangement is alphabetical by genus, with indexing by common names and also by specific uses (numbering in the hundreds!). The illustrations are line drawings from old horticultural books.

Gardeners will appreciate a feature of this book that is missing in most other guides to using wild plants; cultivation hints are given for each entry, although we wish that more had been included regarding propagation methods. Our only major criticism of The Uses Of Wild Plants is its lack of references – we would love to find out where Tozer found some of the most esoteric data in the book!

It is obvious that Tozer is a plantsman of the old school, who can teach even highly experienced growers a thing or two. We are greatly interested in the additional books he promises are “coming soon”. Using Wild Plants (even more on the subject!), The Organic Gardening Handbook, The New Cottage Garden (tantalizingly described as “combining aspects of traditional cottage gardening, edible landscaping, natural farming, no-dig gardening, Permaculture, Feng Shui, wild gardening and forest gardening”), and Growing Vegetables.

If you appreciate Hortideas, then you should also appreciate Frank Tozers’ work!

ISBN 0-9773489-0-3