Beargrass is sometimes called "Indian basket grass," but it isn't a grass at all. Buyers in the Northwest pay 45 cents for a half-pound bunch of the tough, grassy leaves of this lily, which are sometimes dyed bright colors and added to floral displays.
Salal is a leafy
evergreen shrub that grows west of the Cascade Range. The waxy
leaves might appear in floral shops or in a restaurant, as a
garnish. Those who collect it are called brushpickers and they earn
up to 95 cents for every three-quarters pound bunch they
have quit collecting oshç because its survival is threatened,
but the root of this tall, parsley-like plant with white flowerets
from the southern Rocky Mountains is still sold commercially. An
herb shop in New Mexico pays wildcrafters between $7 and $15 per
pound for the root.
grows in shaded coniferous forests of the West's mountain ranges,
where its pink flowers bloom six inches above the forest floor.
This medicinal plant is said to have been an essential flavor for
rootbeer and other soft drinks - some say it's still collected for
Oregon grape is
found west of the coast mountain ranges and into the southern Rocky
Mountains. The plant's root has a broad array of medicinal uses and
is fetching $8 a pound on the wholesale
Lomatium root sells
for as much as $15 per pound. This flowering mountain plant was
used by the Blackfeet and other Native Americans for medicine and
Valerian is a flowering
plant suffering from over-collection in parts of its Western range.
Wildcrafters receive as much as $25 per pound for the dried
In some places, the
nonnative St. John's Wort is classified as a noxious weed. Its
popularity boomed once it was tagged "Nature's Prozac."
Morels grow in the wet
forests of the mountain West, where they are collected in the
spring. Prices vary, but pickers can earn $4 per pound for fresh
mushrooms. Sold fresh or dried, this mushroom has a devoted