Bunny’s Wild Snacks
Wild bunnies, grazing in the field, live on grasses. Occasionally, among the grasses, they find a succulent plant. Our bunnies cannot hunt for wild treats on their own. You, however, can find and harvest these special treats.
You can find fennel in the super market, but it grows wild along the roads and trails all around you. Once you learn, it is easy to find. The plants are bright green bushes among the golden grasses. The branches are lacy. Fennel is rich in vitamin C. When you crush the leaves, they give off a clean anise/licorice scent. Important note: if you crush the leaves and they don't smell like licorice, then it's not fennel and could be harmful to your bunny!
Fennel grows wild along highway 154, Old San Marcos Pass Rd, Painted Cave Rd and East Camino Cielo.
Mallow grows everywhere and is treated like a weed. It is related to okra and hibiscus. Every part of the plant is edible. The leaves are round or kidney shaped with 5 or 9 lobes. The stems are flexible and come from a central point. Mallow plants can lay on the ground or grow in height from 3 to 24 inches. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and selenium. Mallow leaves contain a mucilaginous polysaccharide said to sooth and coat the entire gastrointestinal tract forming a protective film. Mallow is a mild laxative. I see mallow growing in the verge all around town and in my neighbors yard.
So called because gold rush miners ate the plant for its vitamin C. Miners lettuce grows in the uplands (around 6,600 ft) and and prefers sandy soils with shade against the hot sun. Plants are most plentiful in the spring and early summer. The leaves are round and close to the ground. Green in the spring, they grow redder with the heat of summer. Plants contain vitamin C, vitamin A and iron. I have seen them growing along trails in the Paradise Cyn. and Figuroa Mountain areas.
Rules for Foraging
Please do not trespass. Be sure that you are in an area where you may legally harvest . Harvest where plants are plentiful. Leave enough plants to re-seed for next season. Avoid areas that may have been sprayed with pesticides and defoliants. Wash all wild plants carefully.