In writing The Weed Forager’s Handbook, we aimed to make the contents over 90% relevant to over 90% of the population. Every one of our top 20 weeds are available in or around Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.  Every one except angled onion is available in Brisbane.  Only a few however are available in Darwin, Cairns and other parts of the tropics, as most of the weeds are found in subtropical and temperate climates only.  You can check out the distribution maps below for clarity.

Our Top 20 Weeds

Here’s the distribution maps from the top 20 weeds in the book.

Amaranth (Amaranthus species)

Amaranthus species distribution

There are almost 30 species represented above, including natives.  See the AVH site for a detailed species breakdown.

Angled Onion (Allium triquetrum)

angled onion distribution map

Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus aggregate)

Blackberry distribution

The list of blackberry species includes (number of records in brackets): Rubus anglocandicans (1439), Rubus cissburiensis (40), Rubus discolor (14), Rubus fruticosus (12), Rubus leightonii (59), Rubus leucostachys (478), Rubus polyanthemus (139), Rubus ulmifolius (295) and Rubus vestitus (51).

Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) distribution

Also, here’s the close relative American nightshade (Solanum americanum)

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed distribution

Cleavers (Galium aparine)

Cleavers distribution

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

And it’s edible sort-of-lookalikes the catsears (Hypochaeris radiata & Hypochaeris glabra)

Hypochaeris species distribution

Fat Hen (Chenopodium album)

Fat Hen distribution

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel distribution

Gallant soldier (Galinsoga parviflora)

We’ve included it because gallant soldier is featured in our kids’ book Let’s Eat Weeds but it isn’t one of the top 20 in The Weed Forager’s Handbook.

Mallows (Malva parviflora and relatives)

Malva distribution

There are 15 species represented above, including natives.  See the AVH site for a detailed species breakdown.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Nasturtium distribution

Nettle (Urtica urens)

Nettle (Urtica urens) distributions

Oxalis (Oxalis species)

There are over 40 species represented above, including natives.  See the AVH site for a detailed species breakdown.

The Plantains…

Common Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Plantain, Common (Plantago lanceolata) distribution

Buckshorn Plantain (Plantago coronupus)

Plantain, Buckshorn (Plantago coronupus) distribution

Greater Plantain (Plantago major)

Plantain, Greater (Plantago major) distribution

Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica)

Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) distribution

… and here’s the other prickly pears (everything in the Opuntia genus) many of which can be used interchangeably:

Prickly Pear (all Opuntia species) distribution

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane distribution

Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)

Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) distribution

Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)

Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) distribution

Wild Brassicas (Brassica species)

brassicas distribution map
There are over 10 species represented above.  See the AVH site for a detailed species breakdown.

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca serriola) distribution

The distribution maps are courtesy of The Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, Australia’s Virtual Herbarium. [Accessed September 2012, April 2020, Aug 2021], and are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.

Thanks AVH!  Visit the Virtual Herbarium to find out what other plants are in your neck of the woods.