5 Wild and Delicious Botanicals

Since 2008, J.W. Fike has been photographing and digitally illustrating America's rich diversity of edible botanical. Each photograph of his collection displays a single plant floating in an infinite black expanse. Fike says of his work, "The images stylistically resemble early photograms of botanicals specimens, but express contemporary concerns. My high-resolution digital images render the edible parts of the specimen in color, serving as an archive and guide during an era of extreme environmental and technological change." Here are five of our favorites.

By Dylan Mullins

August 21, 2015


Wild dandelion

Gardeners consider this plant to be the bane of their existence. But the roots can be eaten raw, steamed, or ground up in place of coffee beans; the flowers can be dried and steeped to help ease inflammation; and the leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and antioxidants.

Miner’s Lettuce

Miner's lettuce

This leafy-vegetable is native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America. The name originated during the California Gold Rush when miners ate the plant to stave off scurvy, which is caused by a vitamin C deficiency. It also serves up healthy doses of iron and omega-3. 

Wild Rhubarb

Wild Rhubarb

The leaves of wild rhubarb contain poisonous substances which may cause stomach pain and even kidney failure. But the Rhubarb stalk is used in desserts, jellies, and juices. The red stalks are rich in vitamin A while the green ones provide good amounts of vitamin K.

Wild Rose

Wild Rose

The taste of this flower is as sweet as its scent. The dried petals are an excellent addition to strawberry rose ice cream or Persian rose tea. The oil from the rose buds helps tighten and tone inflamed skin. Wild Rose contains vitamins A and C and also combats stress and digestive problems.



This flower is actually a perennial vine, growing up to 30 feet. The dried herb is often blended with Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, and St. John’s Wort to make a soothing tea, but it also stands on its own as a brew that calms nerves and eases back pain.

Photographs by Jimmy W. Fike