Medicinal and Edible Wild Plants

General Description:

Discover the heritage of our ancestors as we explore the fascinating world of medicinal and edible plants that are a part of the rich diversity of the Sierra Nevada. In this fun and educational workshop, we will participate in the identification, collection and preparation of plants for both medicinal and edible uses. Kathi will lead 3-4 field trips to explore a range of habitats from the higher reaches of the Sierra Nevada to the western fringes of the Great Basin.


Kathi Keville is a renowned herbalist, founder of the American Herb Association and author of 15 books on herbal topics. She contributed the ethnobotanical knowledge to Wildflowers of Nevada and Placer Counties, California. She lives in the Sierra, where she has led wild and edible plant walks in the Sierra since 1974 and has been teaching this SF Field Campus course for twenty years. It will be the subject of her next book.

Alicia Funk is the founder of the Living Wild Project and co-author of Living Wild—Gardening, Cooking and Healing with Native Plants of California. She first studied plant-based medicine in 1990 from an indigenous grandmother in Ecuador’s rainforest and is the editor of six books on herbal medicine, including Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs and The Botanical Safety Handbook.

Nancy and Bill Harnach live in Sierra Valley and have studied and collected the plants of this region for over 25 years. They have authored the Sierra Valley and Butterfly Valley sections of the California Native Plant Society book “California’s Wild Gardens, A Living Legacy” and led numerous field trips for both the California Native Plant Society and the Nevada Native Plant Society throughout the region.

Class Schedule

Plan to arrive on Thursday evening since the first class meets at 8:30 Friday morning. There will be optional class-related evening activities. Last class finishes at 3:00 PM on Sunday.

Supplies and Other Useful Items

Field gear

Be prepared for variable weather. There will be some moderate, slow hiking.

Camping gear


Although days are generally warm, or even hot at lower elevations, be prepared for temperatures as low as freezing at night. Variable weather clothing that may be layered is best. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater and jacket, t-shirt and shorts or skirt, tennis shoes or hiking boots, sun hat, rain gear, and a warm hat or gloves for cold weather or night activities. Old sneakers, rubber boots, or hip-waders may come in handy for marsh prowling.