Review of Wild Edibles by Kathi Keville, Director/Editor American Herb Association


Ironweed Productions (Robbinsville, NC.)  Summer, vols. I & II, and Autumn.  30-35 minutes.

Three videos follow the seasons.  Approximately 30 minutes each.  This is one of the best video herb walks I’ve seen.  Going on an herb walk with Hatter, even via video, is a fun experience.  her warm, friendly style shines through as she shows the viewer eight to nine Appalachian herbs in each of 3 videos.  It is easy to see that she has been doing public herb  walks for some time.  the videos combine artistic photography with lots of herbal information on wild herbal medicines and foods as Appalachian music plays in the background, adding an especially nice touch.  Each one begins with a historic view of medicinal herbs at the Oconaluftee Indian village in North Carolina.

Helpful overlays give Latin names of the plants and various facts such as cautions about collecting on public lands and using certain herbs.  Hatter presents both Indian and Appalachia “granny” knowledge, lore, and stories along with her own experiences.  (I especially liked the shots of the possum during the persimmon story.)  She shows visual demonstrations of harvesting techniques and how to tell the difference to aid in plant identification.  Hatter’s rule of three is positive Identification, an unpolluted Location, and leave the first three plants for Multiplication.

Other plant experts, such as those at the Great Smoky Mountain Environmental Institute at Tremont in North Carolina, are brought in.  All videos review all the herbs discussed at the end.  Small color photos of them also appear on the back of the video boxes.  Finally, there are recommended websites and books – like the classic “History, Myths, and Sacred formulas of the Cherokees”, by James Mooney.