I started writing about "Red Dead Redemption 2" when I noticed how little info was available online.
Picking Flowers (Made Manly)
The Herbalist Challenges are Red Dead Redemption's Survivalist Challenges except the Survivalist Challenges are something else so now they’re the Herbalist Challenges. If I didn’t confuse you there then you’re in the intellectual minority these days. Essentially, this is a hippy’s dream but with Peacemakers, you just go around picking flowers. Since you craft these plants into different things, I recommend picking them until the game tells you that you can’t carry anymore. You can also sell plants to the Doctor and General Store to make some early game money.
Make use of Eagle Eye (Left Stick+Right Stick Buttons/L3+R3) to help spot plants as you explore around. Animals glow, but plants will have glowing spores. Not every plant in this game can be picked, but Eagle Eye will help you point out the interactive ones.
What You'll Want to Have Before You Start
First, do the first few missions of Chapter 2, especially "Money Lending and Other Sins." They will unlock the Camp Ledger. Through that, you should purchase the Leather Working Tools ($225) that will allow Pearson to craft upgraded Satchels. Specifically the Ingredients and Tonics Satchels. These aren't required to do these Challenges, but it will make Challenges #3, #5, and #7 less of a back-and-forth hassle for you.
This is unlocked by bringing five animal carcasses to Pearson. It is easy to do if you like earning Honor by bringing food to the camp. Any animal carcass will do, like crows and songbirds.
You'll need a Perfect Deer Pelt, Perfect Badger Pelt, and Perfect Squirrel Pelt. To determine an animal's pelt quality, hold down Right Bumper/R1 while aiming or spotting them through binoculars. A three-star rating is what you're looking for.
- Deer Pelt: Deer you can find anywhere, make sure to get a headshot, through Dead Eye, with a rifle or Bow. More than one shot will ruin the quality of the pelt.
- Badger Pelt: In Chapter 2, East of Horseshoe Overlook, is an oil derrick. Camp in this area until night. It might take a little bit, but you are most likely to find a badger here. Among a lot of other rodents. Use a Varmint Rifle, it will only take a one-shot, which is what you want.
- Squirrel Pelt: You're going to need to kill a bird (any type) to get a Flight Feather. Craft a Small Game Arrow, which you should use for a small type animal to not wreck the pelt. Squirrels can be found around the Camp at Horseshoe Overlook, or any other forested area.
The Ingredients Satchel will increase how many of each plant you can carry from 10 to 15. I know it doesn't seem like much, but it really is useful.
This is unlocked by upgrading the Medical Wagon Twice ($80). If you can't afford to do this right away, don't worry, it's not as vital as the Ingredients Satchel. You'll need a Perfect Deer Pelt, Perfect Buck Pelt, and a Perfect Elk Pelt.
- Buck Pelt: Bucks appear in the same areas as deer. Look for the antlers.
- Elk Pelt: Elk appear in more mountainous areas. Head North of Valentine, or East from Emerald Ranch. Use your Carbine Repeater in Dead Eye to get a headshot. Bare unmanned that they're big animals.
The Tonics Satchel will increase the amount of Tonics you can carry from three to five. Doesn't seem like much, but you'll be happy to have it during Challenges #3 and #5.
You should have a full Inventory of Yarrow, Burdock Root, and Currant.
- x7 Sage and Common Bulrush
- x5 Mushrooms
- x9 Indian Tobacco
- At least four Oregano, Wild Mint, and Creeping Thyme.
As you go around picking plants, you should hoard the above to make these Challenges go as smoothly as possible. If you don't, that's fine too, but if you want to plan ahead . . .
Read More From Levelskip
Herbalist Challenge #1: Pick 6 Yarrow
When You Can Do It: At the beginning of Chapter 2.
These are long red-topped flowers. They grow abundantly around the Camp at Horseshoe Overlook and South of Valentine. You're more likely to find them in grassy areas rather than in forests among trees. Pick six of them to pass the Challenge.
Herbalist Challenge #2: Pick and eat 4 species of berry
When You Can You Do It: If you do the Chapter 2 Stranger Quest "The Noblest Men, and Woman," you should have a good portion of the map uncovered after that. Otherwise, wait until Chapter 3.
Most of the berry species in the game come from a bright leafed bush. You'll be able to distinguish them since they are usually paired, but out in the open where they can be seen. Raspberries are common around Valentine and Horseshoe Overlook. Evergreen Huckleberries spawn around Lemoyne (South of Rhodes for example). The closest Blackberries are West of Downe's Ranch, which is West of Valentine. You visit this location during an unfortunate mission in Chapter 2. They also spawn near the Trapper in Big Valley (see the second screenshot). Wintergreen Berries are a little harder to spot due to their smaller size. You can find them growing in the mountains of New Hanover and Ambarino (see the fifth screenshot).
You don't have to Pick AND THEN eat from a second separate plant. Hold Right on the D-pad to open your Satchel. The berry you just picked will be the first square on the upper left. Press A/X to eat the berry.
Herbalist Challenge #3: Craft 7 items using Sage as an ingredient
When You Can You Do It: Anytime after Challenge #2.
They mean standard Sage, not poisonous Oleander Sage (that's for a later Challenge). Hummingbird Sage can be found in forested areas (like around Horseshoe Overlook as early as Chapter 2). Gather at least seven of them (if you didn't have some already) and seven Common Bulrush (which can be found around water such as Flat Iron Lake and the Dakota River).
Set up a campsite and press X/Square to open Crafting/Cooking. Select Horse Care and make seven Potent Horse Stimulants. You can also craft Potent Bitters (under Tonics) using a Burdock Root and a Sage. I mean, since you're around the water's edge looking for Common Bulrush anyway . . . If you run out of space in your inventory, you can sell Tonics to the General Store or Doctor.
Herbalist Challenge #4: Pick 5 mushrooms and feed them to your horse
When You Can Do It: Anytime after Challenge #3.
The description of this Challenge makes you think you need to pick five mushrooms to feed your horse with. When actually ANY five mushrooms you already have in your Satchel will count. Just stand next to your Horse and hold Left Bumper/L1>Horse>select Provisions>pull Left or Right Triggers/L2 or R2 to select the mushroom you have and feed them to your horse one at a time. You could lock onto your horse and press right on the D-pad to feed it, but using the menu is less random.
Parasol Mushrooms are common around the ridge just south of Valentine, you can also find a selection of them in the field, around the Oil Derrick, East of Horseshoe Overlook. Other mushroom species count too, and thankfully unlike real-life, none of the wild mushrooms are poisonous. Although I don't trust Ram's Head. Like seriously, it looks like that crap growing on the clickers' faces in The Last of Us. Yuck!
Herbalist Challenge #5: Craft 9 items using Indian Tobacco as an ingredient
When You Can Do It: Right after Challenge #4 (I hope you took my advice and hoarded a bunch earlier). Also do this after you have crafted the Tonics Satchel at Pearson's Wagon, it's a big help.
Indian Tobacco is semi-common just like Hummingbird Sage, but you can find it in the same areas as Hummingbird Sage. Dry forested areas. Check around Horseshoe Overlook, both up on the ridge and down below. Thankfully it's like Wild Carrots, Wild Mint, Creeping Thyme, etc., where you can find it almost anywhere (yet seldom at the same time). After you gather nine of them, set up a campsite outside of Valentine. Craft Potent Snake Oil, then either drink them as you make them by pulling Right Trigger/R2 or sell them to the Doctor and/or General Store in town.
Herbalist Challenge #6: Pick 15 different species of herb
When You Can Do It: Wait until Chapter 3, just so you can pace yourself but also because there's more variety at that point.
Instead of "herb" think "plant" because this Challenge requires you to pick 15 different plants. Not hard to do since you've been doing this for a while already, just this time you have to be less picky. Make use of your Eagle Eye (Stick Buttons/L3+R3) to watch for spores floating into the air. Also, keep a notepad handy so you don't repeat the same plant over. Also useful if you're a struggling writer on Hubpages trying to make a helpful article! THAT I can tell you from experience.
From the area South of Valentine (around Horseshoe Overlook) you can find Yarrow, Indian Tobacco, Parasol Mushrooms, Wild Carrots, American Ginseng, Creeping Thyme, and Raspberries.
Heading south around the edge of Flat Iron Lake, you can find Common Bulrush, Wild Mint, and Burdock Root.
Heading further South into Leymone, and South of Rhodes, you will find Milk Weed, Hummingbird Sage, Evergreen Huckleberries, and Oregano.
Really any 15 will do but don't pick up anything that looks like an orchid (most grow on the sides of trees) until you trigger a Stranger Mission in Chapter 4, or else you might encounter a bad glitch which will keep you from completing that Stranger Mission. If you follow the above you shouldn't make it that far into the swamp hopefully.
For a comprehensive guide on where to find, and what these plants look like, please see Herbalist Challenge #9 below.
Every Plant Location
Herbalist Challenge #7: Craft and use 5 Special Miracle Tonics
When You Can Do It: After "A Short Walk In A Pretty Town" in Chapter 3.
The Special Miracle Tonic Pamphlet is only available to buy from the Fence after the above mention mission (actually you can also find it for free in the third screenshot below). After you buy the Pamphlet, Hold Right on the D-pad to open your Satchel. You need to read the Pamphlet before the game will let you craft it. To craft, it requires x6 Yarrow, x4 Burdock Root, and x6 Currant. Yarrow and Burdock Root should be familiar with from Challenges #1 and #3. Golden Currant grows around the forests East of Emerald Ranch. Go to Emerald Ranch and follow the main road north. From there, you'll begin to see tall Y-shaped plants on the right side of the road (see the first screenshot).
I hope you have the upgrades Ingredients and Tonics Satchels or else there is going to be a lot of traveling back-and-forth to complete this Challenge. You should have enough ingredients to make at least two Special Miracle Tonics from the get-go. Set up a Campsite, open Crafting, and select Special Miracle Tonic under the Tonics tab. As soon as you Craft it, pull Right Trigger/R2 to drink it. Do this five times to finish the Challenge.
If you run out of plants to harvest, don't fret! They grow back after a while. Either explore further to find more or go do some story missions and continue this Challenge later. I'm certain there's some Save/Load/Repeat exploit you could do too, but I'm not going to invest the time to examine or research things that break the game's immersion. Sorry, not sorry.
Herbalist Challenge #8: Use Oleander to craft 6 poison weapons
When You Can Do It: After Challenge #7 or after the Chapter 2 Mission "Pouring Fourth Oil - IV" (depending).
Buy the recipe for the Poison Throwing Knife, sold at the Fence after the above mentioned mission. Remember, once you buy the pamphlet, hold right on the D-pad, to open your Satchel, and READ the recipe to make it available for crafting. While you're at the Fence, stock up on throwing knives too. There's a location in North-East Bluewater Marsh, just on the New Hanover/Lemoyne border (see second screenshot) where you can find at least six Oleander Sage in the immediate area. You should always have a full inventory of these, and here is a great place to find them.
Set up a Campsite and press X/Square to open Crafting/Cooking. Go to the Weapons tab to find the Poisonous Throwing Knife option, then craft six of them to beat this Challenge. In case you're wondering, these poisonous versions are useful for powerful enemies. You can't always get a "headshot" with a Throwing Knife, but a body hit from one of these is a guaranteed kill (just give it a second, though). It's also enough to weaken any predatory animals. Such as a Grizzly Bear for Weapon Expert Challenge #10 for example.
You could also craft six Poison Arrows, but that requires the extra step of acquiring Flight Feathers. If you decide to hunt birds to get them, Poison Arrows will also count toward this Challenge. This can also overlap with Survivalist Challenge #4 in which you must craft a Poison Arrow as one of the prerequisites.
Getting To New Austin Early (PATCHED after 1.06)
Herbalist Challenge #9: Pick one of each species of herb
When You Can Do It: After Epilogue Part 1 Mission "Motherhood" OR After starting the Chapter 4 Stranger Mission "Duchesses And Other Animals" (<legitimate) Chapter 4 Mission "Angelo Bronte, A Man Of Honor" (might be patched later).
Note: If you don't want to perform the glitch that allows you to get to New Austin early, you should not start this Challenge until AFTER you start the Stranger Mission "Duchesses And Other Animals." This is due to a supposed glitch that keeps progress from being made in this quest if you collect certain Orchids before you start that mission. Since you have to collect EVERY plant species for this Challenge, it might be an issue if you're going for 100% completion.
This one's gonna take a while since five of the 43 plants you need to pick are in New Austin. You can get to New Austin as early as Chapter 4 by doing the glitch in the above video BUT it's up to you if you want to go through with that or not. Thankfully, most of the plants are very easy to find (some of which you already have), but others are little more scarce. Also, you only need to Pick or Eat ONE of each plant. (please see screenshots below for more information).