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Edible Plants On The Western Slope | RMHP Blog

Edible Plants On The Western Slope | RMHP Blog



What Wild Plants Are Edible in Western Colorado?

The landscapes of Western Colorado are full of wild plants you can eat, all you have to do is look. Foraging for edible plants is a fun and healthy way to diversify your diet while enjoying some time out in the great outdoors, and here’s how to get started on the Western Slope.

Before you head out to forage for edible wild plants, read this warning

There are three important rules to abide by when foraging for wild plants:

  • Never eat anything unless you can positively identify it as safe (with 100% certainty.)
  • Be aware of environmental factors, like pollution and animal waste. Look for spots away from busy roads and trails and avoid popular gathering areas for wild animals. When you get home, a simple vinegar/water rinse should be enough to kill any lingering microbes.
  • Make sure you aren’t allergic to a new-to-you food with a quick skin test — rub the plant against your skin and/or lips to see if you have a reaction. If you do, don’t eat that plant. You can also start by eating a small amount to be safe. If you have any concerns about eating wild plants, it’s always best to speak with your doctor.

You can find an abundance of information online about foraging, but consider purchasing a field guide with photos and important details about Colorado’s various edible plants. The book “Best-tasting Wild Plants of Colorado and the Rockies” is a great resource to use.

The tastiest edible plants to forage for in Western Colorado

Here are four of the most common types of edible plants you can find throughout the Western Slope:

Wild onions

Smelling strongly of onions, this plant grows virtually anywhere. You’ll find it in moist meadows, hillsides, on the plains, and in subalpine regions. Look for pink, lavender, and white flowers.

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries are typically dime-sized, but what they lack in size they make up for with flavor. During spring and summer, you can find them growing low to the ground on moist and shaded forest floors. To find the sweet fruits, look for a plant with white flowers and leaves that have serrated edges.

Yellow stonecrop

Eat the young flowers, stems, and leaves of this yellow plant raw or cooked. The stars are flower-shaped, so this plant is also relatively easy to identify.


Yucca grows abundantly throughout the entire state of Colorado. It can be found in semi-desert areas, foothills, woodlands, canyons, and elsewhere. The buds are crisp and slightly crunchy, with a taste that resembles veggies like green beans and snow peas.

Some people report stomach upset and other feelings of discomfort when eating raw yucca petals, which is why this plant is best enjoyed cooked. Additionally, some foragers prefer to eat only the petals, and others devour the whole plant.