Medieval Herbs and Remedies: Foraging in the Shadow of the Cloisters - Atlas Obscura

New York City, New York

Medieval Herbs and Remedies: Foraging in the Shadow of the Cloisters

Learn to spot medicinal herbs and edible berries right in your own urban backyard with 'Wildman' Steve Brill.

Discover the dozens of edible and medicinal herbs, greens, roots, fruits, berries, and mushrooms that grow unrecognized in the parks of northern Manhattan island.

Join Atlas Obscura and America's go-to guy for foraging, naturalist and author “Wildman” Steve Brill, for this guided through the parks, where you'll learn how to identify plants with certainty and use them to make delicious recipes and home remedies, all with no environmental impact. Plants you're likely to find include garlic mustard, with pungent leaves and seeds, lamb’s quarters, which tastes like spinach, lemony wood sorrel, resinous epazote, root beer-flavored sassafras, and wintergreen-flavored black birch. Mushrooms could include chicken mushrooms, boletes, russulas, and black-staining polypores. And because summer is a great time for berries, you'll also collect an especially tasty Asian species of raspberry, intensely-flavored elderberries, and blackberries so delicious you’ll wish you’d never bought an iPhone.
As part of this tour, created specifically for Atlas Obscura, you'll also explore the history of the Met Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, as well as the history of the parks on the northerly tip of Manhattan.


  • Plastic bags for collecting veggies and herbs.
  • Paper bags, in case you find mushrooms, which spoil in plastic.
  • Drinking water.
  • Digging implements for roots are optional, and there's no smoking at any time.


  • The two-hour walking tour of the park begins at 5 p.m. Please be punctual, as we cannot wait for latecomers.
  • Meet at the the intersection of Dyckman Street (200th St) and Henshaw Street where there is a Parks Department building with restrooms, next to Payson Playground.
  • The closest subway is the A train to Dyckman Street.
  • This event runs rain or shine.
  • This event is all ages, but bear in mind that it requires two hours of walking.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for going off-trail, including closed toed shoes. (Be aware: there can be poison ivy.)
  • No smoking on this tour, please.


Email Gabriel Rodriguez at

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