1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)


Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

Common and a great find but often hard to spot due to their size. You must be on private land with the owners permission to dig up pignuts. Pignuts take a few years to grow and produce a tuber so they should only be picked when found in profusion and many should be left behind for the following years.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Pignut, Arnut, Earth Chestnut, Ground Nut, Kipper Nut
Scientific Name Conopodium majus
Season Start Mar
Season End Jun
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Has delicate, fine, green carrot like leaves.


Small, delicate umbels of white flowers (umbrella like clusters).


Small, green, oval seeds sometimes with a red flush.


It has a thin, tapering root which if successfully followed to the end will provide the swollen tuber or pig nut.


Mixed woodland, hedge banks and field edges and meadows.

Possible Confusion

Looking a bit like a small carrot can be ruled out by finding the nut like tuber underground.
The tuber must be joined to the root to rule out confusion with other poisonous species like bluebell or snowdrop bulbs.


The ‘nut’ itself tastes a little like a sweet chestnut or hazelnut crossed with a radish but sometimes the taste can be quite mild.


Fairly common.


It is the root you are after so permission from the land owner is needed before collecting this foraged delicacy. The root must be carefully followed to find the nut at the end, it has a habit of bending 90 degrees before the nut and snaps off very easily causing you to widen your search. A fork could be used to harvest many nuts at a time but great care must be taken not to confuse the tuber with any other like the poisonous bluebell or lesser celendine tubers, which shouldn’t be eaten raw. Pignuts take a few years to grow and produce a tuber so they should only be picked when found in profusion and many should be left behind for the following years.

Medicinal Uses

Said to promote lust.

Other Facts

Finding Pig Nuts is a good sign that the soil has been left alone for many years.


10 comments for Pignut

  1. Cass says:

    Can you eat the leaves & flowers?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      You can but they have very little taste.

  2. tony says:

    is it best to harvest just before flowering to maximise taste? Also: has anybody tried pickling them?

  3. Henbane Hedgewytch says:

    Yes, pickled these are absolutely sublime! Esp if spiced with some Avens root and if ya have then from the year prior, a small! Pinch of Hogweed seed. But definitely worth playing with yes.

  4. Jim montgomery says:

    In Central Scotland we called them Lady Nuts we foraged for them along river banks whilst fishing, as kids we loved them ( this was around 70 years ago) I was telling my great grandkids of them and never knew their ofher names

  5. Jim montgomery says:

    I am happy to have anycomment passed on

  6. C. S says:

    Best left alone …they are becoming scarce. Not worth destroying a species for a taste.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      We agree that when there are only small numbers of thinly spread pignuts, leave them be but we have several spots where there are thousands and picking a few as a spring treat will not harm the population.

  7. Gord Cam says:

    Foraging and Land Access laws differ in Scotland, as your website is UK, maybe you could give the Scots a wee bit of thought in your advice. Foraging for private use no Written Permission needed, if for monetary gain yes Land Owner permission is required.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Sorry to have missed out the laws in Scotland. I need to look into it more but thanks for bringing it up. I’m very jealous of your right to roam, which is why I visit Scotland so often.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *