The classic image of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe envisages them hunting large mammals in largely treeless landscapes. That is partly due to the nature of the surviving archaeological evidence, and the poor preservation of plant remains at such ancient sites. As this study illustrates, however, the potential of Upper Palaeolithic sites to yield macrofossil remains of plants gathered and processed by human groups has been underestimated. Large scale flotation of charred deposits from hearths such as that reported here at Dolní Vӗstonice II not only provides insight into the variety of flora that may have been locally available, but also suggests that some of it was being processed and consumed as food. The ability to exploit plant foods may have been a vital component in the successful colonisation of these cold European habitats.