Posted by admin on April 17, 2013 in Health, Herbs · 0 Comments
HJ: Organic is awesome, but there is nothing
quite like wild growing foods. Quite simply, foods that grow wild have
the absolute highest life force energy and nutritional and medicinal
benefits available. Despite major advances in growing methods in the
last few hundred years, humans still cannot replicate the wisdom of
Mother nature exactly. That being said, for most people, it would be
impractical to try to live off only wild growing foods in today’s day
and age, and so these wild-growing plants are more of a treat when
hiking than an everyday occurrence. But, by being able to recognize
and identify these rather common, edible plants, when we do
come across them, we are then liberated to access their innate healing
potential. And for those who do live in somewhat wild areas, they can
begin to live more off the land and rely less on the highly mechanized
and industrialized food systems that dominate our society. One might be
surprised at how abundantly some of these plants grow, even in parks
and wild fields near urban areas. In the countryside, their abundance
can be massive, in which case they can become a viable food source…
Either way, learning to be able to identify these plants connects
us to that primal, natural essence that we all contain, no matter how
disconnected from it we may be. It also gives one a greater
appreciation for the natural bounty that exists all around us, but
sometimes goes unnoticed.
52 Wild Plants That Can Also Be Eaten
We all know which vegetables and fruits are safe to eat, but what
about other wild edibles? Here are a few common North American goodies
that are safe to eat if you find yourself stuck in the wild:
Many wild berries are not safe to eat, it’s best to stay away from
them. But wild blackberries are 100% safe to eat and easy to recognize.
They have red branches that have long thorns similar to a rose, the
green leaves are wide and jagged. They are best to find in the spring
when their white flowers bloom, they are clustered all around the bush
and their flowers have 5 points. The berries ripen around August to
The easiest to recognize if the dandelion,
in the spring they show their bright yellow buds. You can eat the
entire thing raw or cook them to take away the bitterness, usually in
the spring they are less bitter. They are packed with Vitamin A and
Vitamin C, and beta carotene.
The vegetable that makes your pee smell funny grows in the wild in
most of Europe and parts of North Africa, West Asia, and North America.
Wild asparagus has a much thinner stalk than the grocery-store variety.
It’s a great source of source of vitamin C, thiamine, potassium and
vitamin B6. Eat it raw or boil it like you would your asparagus at home.
An elderberry shrub can grow easily grow about 10 feet and yield tons
of food, their leaf structure is usually 7 main leaves on a long
stretched out stem, the leaves are long and round and the leaves
themselves have jagged edges. These are easiest to identify in the
spring as they blossom white clustered flowers that resembles an
umbrella. Mark the spot and harvest the berries when they’re ripe around
Elderberries are known for their flu and cold healing properties, you can make jelly from them and are very sweet and delicious.
These are also common in the woods in northern Missouri, the branches
are grey and have long red thorns, and the leaves are bright green and
have 5 points, they have rounded edges and look similar to the shape of a
maple leaf. The flowers in the spring are very odd looking, they are
bright red and hang down, the berries ripen around late May early June.
Mulberry leaves have two types, one spade shape and a 5 fingered leaf. Both have pointed edges.
There are over a hundred different species of pine. Not only can the
food be used as a supply of nourishment but, also can be used for
medicinal purposes. Simmer a bowl of water and add some pine needles to make tea. Native americans used to ground up pine to cure skurvy, its rich in vitamin C.
Pretty much the entire plant is edible and is also known for
medicinal values. We were blessed to find this great patch of Kudzu
surrounded by Blackberries. The leaves can be eaten raw, steam or
boiled. The root can be eaten as well.
You can find this plant in many parts of the country, they have
bright orange flowers and foliage that comes straight up from the
ground, no stem. You can eat the flower buds before they open, just cook
it like a vegetable.
The trees mature around 20-30 ft, some can grow up to 100 ft tall. The leaves are bright green and long, smooth edges and the peacans themselves are grown in green pods and when ripe the pods open and the seeds fall to the ground.
Hazelnut trees are short and tend to be around 12-20 ft tall, the leaves are bright green and have pointed edges, the hazelnuts themselves grown in long strands of pods and generally ripen by September and October.
Walnut trees are the most recognisable and the tallest nut tree in
North America, they can range from 30-130 feet tall. The leaf structure
is very similar to the peacan, the leaves are spear like and grow on a
long stem 6-8 leaves on both sides. The leaves edges are smooth and
green. The walnuts tend to grow in clusters and ripen in the fall.
Acorns can tend to be bitter, they are highly recognisable as well, they should be eaten cooked and a limited amount.
Hickory nut trees can grow about 50-60 ft tall, their green leaves
are spear like and can grow very large, they have pointed edges. The
hickory nut is round and ten to ripen in September or October.
Clovers are everywhere if you’re lucky *pun*, and edible! If you find
grass you will most likely see this sprouting everywhere, their
distinctive trifoil leafs are easy to spot, you can eat them raw but
they taste better boiled.
Blossoms can be eaten fresh or steeped in hot water for tea. And you can toss both the green leaves and blossoms into a salad.
You can find these in Europe, North America and Australia. The entire plant can be eaten along with its white flowers.
Edible parts: Flowers and young leaves can be eaten. Flowers can be
eaten raw and mixed into a salad adding a wonderful aromatic flavor. Use
the flower head and place them into a glass jar adding raw honey and
storing it for a few weeks for its strength; this makes a great home
remedy to help calm a cough, or just add some of this coltsfoot honey
into your tea. You may dry the flower heads and use them as tea or in
cooking/baking recipes. Young leaves are bitter but better after boiled
them and then in salads, stews, or just add lemon & extra virgin
olive oil & seasoning.
Edible parts: Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves
have a mild bitter flavor with a aromatic tang great for salads or
jucing. You can cook these young leaves like spinach, or add to soups,
stews, and omelet. Tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. This wild
edible has been known to be added to beer in much the same way as hops,
for flavor and clarity.
Known as cattails or punks in North America and bullrush and reedmace
in England, the typha genus of plants is usually found near the edges
of freshwater wetlands. Cattails were a staple in the diet of many
Native American tribes. Most of a cattail is edible. You can boil or eat
raw the rootstock, or rhizomes, of the plant. The rootstock is usually
found underground. Make sure to wash off all the mud. The best part of
the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil
or eat the stem raw. Boil the leaves like you would spinach. The corn
dog-looking female flower spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on
the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing. It
actually has a corn-like taste to it.
Edible parts: Flowers, leaves, roots and seeds. Leaves can be eaten
in any season, when the weather gets hot, the leaves will have a taste
bitter. Flowers can be chopped and tossed into salads. The roots can be
collected in early spring and again in late fall, when no flower stalks
are present. Garlic mustard roots taste very spicy somewhat like
horseradish…. yummy! In the fall the seed can be collected and eaten.
These usually appear May and July, you can eat the leaves raw or boiled, they’re high in vitamins and minerals!
Edible parts: The flowers, leaves and seeds are edible. All clover
types are known to be part of the paleo diet of the First Nations
people. Flowers can be put into teas. Seeds (in autumn) can be collected
and eaten as is or roasted and can be ground into flour as well. Leaves
can be tossed into salads, omelets, juicing, sandwiches, etc.
Edible parts: The entire plant. Fresh leaves can be used in salads or
to make tea. The flower, leaves and root can be dried and stored using
it later as a tea or herbs as a nutrient booster. Rubbing fresh leaves
on the skin is known to repel mosquitoes, and the entire plant repels
rabbits and deer which would compliment and protect your garden.
Use the leaves raw in salads or salsas, or cooked in soups, with
rice, or in mixed cooked greens. Beach lovage can have a strong flavor
and is best used as a seasoning, like parsley, rather than eaten on its
own. Beach lovage tastes best before flowers appear, and is also called
Scotch lovage, sea lovage, wild celery, and petrushki.
Is another one of those plants that seems to thrive right on the edge
of gardens and driveways, but it’s also edible. Pick the green, rippled
leaves and leave the tall flower stems. Blanch the leaves and sauté
with some butter and garlic just as you would with kale or any other
Garlic grass (Allium vineale or wild garlic) is an herbal treat often
found lurking in fields, pastures, forests and disturbed soil. It
resembles cultivated garlic or spring onions, but the shoots are often
very thin. Use it in sandwiches, salads, pesto or chopped on main
courses like scallions.
Cresses (Garden cress, water cress, rock cress, pepper cress) are
leafy greens long cultivated in much of Northern Europe. They have a
spicy tang and are great in salads, sandwiches, and soups.
Use the leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, in mixed cooked
greens, or in any dish that calls for cooking greens. Lamb’s Quarters
are susceptible to leaf miners; be careful to harvest plants that are
not infested. Although Lamb’s Quarters are best before the flowers
appear, if the fresh young tips are continuously harvested, lamb’s
quarters can be eaten all summer. Lamb’s Quarters is also called
Pigweed, Fat Hen, and Goosefoot.
Use the young leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, in mixed
cooked greens, or in any dish that calls for cooking greens.
Goosetongue is best in spring and early summer, before the flowers
appear. Goosetongue can be confused with poisonous Arrowgrass, so
careful identification is essential. Goosetongue is also called Seashore
Joe Pye Weed:
Edible parts: The entire plant can be used including the root. The
leaves and stems can be harvested in the summer before the flower buds
open and can be dried and stored for later use. The roots are harvested
in the autumn. Fresh flowers can be used to make an herbal tea.
Joe Pye weed is named after a legendary Indian healer who used a
decoction of the plant to cure typhus fever in colonial America. Native
tribes used gravel root as a healing tonic included relieving
constipation, washing wounds with a strong tea made from the root to
Edible parts: The whole plant – leaves, roots, stem, seeds. The
Amarath seed is small and very nutritious and easy to harvest, the seed
grain is used to make flour for baking uses. Roasting the seeds can
enhance the flavor, also you can sprout the raw seeds using them in
salads, and in sandwiches, etc. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked
like spinach, sautéed, etc. Fresh or dried pigweed leaves can be used to
This pretty little plant is found primarily in the Northern
Hemisphere. You can identify fireweed by its purple flower and the
unique structure of the leaves’ veins; the veins are circular rather
than terminating on the edges of the leaves. Several Native American
tribes included fireweed in their diet. It’s best eaten young when the
leaves are tender. Mature fireweed plants have tough and bitter tasting
leaves. You can eat the stalk of the plant as well. The flowers and
seeds have a peppery taste. Fireweed is a great source of vitamins A and
Use the leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, mixed cooked
greens, or any dish that calls for cooking greens. Monkey flower is
best before the flowers appear, although the flowers are also edible and
are good in salads or as a garnish.
Edible parts: the young leaves and stems can be eaten raw in salads;
the whole plant can be boiled and eaten as a potherb; and the aerial
parts of the plant can be powdered and brewed in a cold infusion to make
a tasty beverage. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as
flavonoids and rutin. Medicinally, the whole plant is poulticed onto
wounds to promote healing. A mouthwash made from an infusion of the
whole plant can be used to treat sore throats, thrush and gum
infections. Internally, a tea can be used to treat diarrhea and internal
Use the young leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, in mixed cooked
greens or in any dish that calls for cooking greens. Although the
leaves may be eaten throughout the summer, the mature leaves have a
peppery taste that does not appeal to all palates.
Mallow Malva neglecta:
Edible parts:All parts of the mallow plant are edible — the leaves,
the stems, the flowers, the seeds, and the roots (it’s from the roots
that cousin Althaea gives the sap that was used for marshmallows).
Because it’s a weed that grows plentifully in neglected areas, mallows
have been used throughout history as a survival food during times of
crop failure or war. Mallows are high in mucilage, a sticky substance
that gives them a slightly slimy texture, similar to okra, great in
soups. Mallow has a nice pleasant nutty flavor. One of the most popular
uses of mallows is as a salad green.
Parts: Flowers, Leaves, Root. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. A
fairly bland flavor with a mucilaginous texture, it is quite nice in a
salad. The young leaves are best, older leaves can turn bitter
especially in the summer and if the plant is growing in a hot dry
position. Although individual leaves are fairly small, they are produced
in abundance and are easily picked. Stalks and flowers can be eaten
raw. A nice addition to the salad bowl. Bulb also can be eaten raw.
Although very small and labor-intensive to harvest, the boiled and
peeled root has the flavor of chestnuts. Another report says that the
plant has a fibrous root system so this report seems to be erroneous.
Field Pennycress is a weed found in most parts of the world. Its
growing season is early spring to late winter. You can eat the seeds and
leaves of field pennycress raw or boiled. The only caveat with field
pennycress is not to eat it if it’s growing in contaminated soil.
Pennycress is a hyperaccumulator of minerals, meaning it sucks up any
and all minerals around it. General rule is don’t eat pennycress if it’s
growing by the side of the road or is near a Superfund site.
This plant is often mistaken for Phlox. Phlox has five petals, Dame’s
Rocket has just four. The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep
lavender, and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard
family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower,
and, mustard. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The
flowers are attractive added to green salads. The young leaves can also
be added to your salad greens (for culinary purposes, the leaves should
be picked before the plant flowers). The seed can also be sprouted and
added to salads. NOTE: It is not the same variety as the herb commonly
called Rocket, which is used as a green in salads.
Wild Bee Balm:
Edible parts: Leaves boiled for tea, used for seasoning, chewed raw
or dried; flowers edible. Wild bee balm tastes like oregano and mint.
The taste of bee balm is reminiscent of citrus with soft mingling of
lemon and orange. The red flowers have a minty flavor. Any place you use
oregano, you can use bee balm blossoms. The leaves and flower petals
can also be used in both fruit and regular salads. The leaves taste like
the main ingredient in Earl Gray Tea and can be used as a substitute.
Mallow is a soft tasty leaf good in fresh salads. Use it like lettuce
and other leafy greens. You may find the smaller younger leaves a tad
more tender. Toss in salads, or cook as you would other tender greens
like spinach. The larger leave can be used for stuffing, like grape
leaves. The seed pods are also edible while green and soft before they
harden, later turning woody and brown. I hear they can be cooked like a
vegetable. I’ve harvested and eaten them raw, and want to try steaming,
pickling, fermenting, and preparing like ocra.
Edible parts: Pineapple weed flowers and leaves are a tasty finger
food while hiking or toss in salads. Flowers can also be dried out and
crushed so that it can be used as flour. As with chamomile, pineapple
weed is very good as a tea. Native Americans used a leaf infusion
(medicine prepared by steeping flower or leaves in a liquid without
boiling) for stomach gas pains and as a laxative.
Milk thistle is most commonly sought for its medicial properties of
preventing and repairing liver damage. But most parts of the plants are
also edible and tasty. Until recently, it was commonly cultivated in
Eurpoean vegetable gardens. Leaves can be de-spined for use as salad
greens or sautéed like collard greens; water-soaked stems prepared like
asparugus; roots boiled or baked; flower pods used like artichoke heads.
Prickly Pear Cactus:
Found in the deserts of North America, the prickly pear cactus is a
very tasty and nutritional plant that can help you survive the next time
you’re stranded in the desert. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus
looks like a red or purplish pear. Hence the name. Before eating the
plant, carefully remove the small spines on the outer skin or else it
will feel like you’re swallowing a porcupine. You can also eat the young
stem of the prickly pear cactus. It’s best to boil the stems before
Mullein Verbascum thapsus:
Edible parts: Leaves and flowers. The flowers are fragrant and taste
sweet, the leaves are not fragrant and taste slightly bitter. This plant
is best known for a good cup of tea and can be consumed as a regular
beverage. Containing vitamins B2, B5, B12, and D, choline, hesperidin,
para amino benzoic acid, magnesium, and sulfur, but mullein tea is
primarily valued as an effective treatment for coughs and lung
Wild Grape Vine:
Edible parts: Grapes and leaves. The ripe grape can be eaten but
tastes better after the first frost. Juicing the grapes or making wine
is most common. The leaves are also edible. A nutritional mediterranean
dish called “dolmades”, made from grape leaves are stuffed with rice,
meat and spices. The leaves can be blanched and frozen for use
throughout the winter months.
It tends to grow in damp places such as hedges, stream banks and
waysides and comes into flower from May to August. Yellow Rocket was
cultivated in England as an early salad vegetable. It makes a wonderful
salad green when young and the greens are also an excellent vegetable if
treated kindly. Lightly steam or gently sweat in butter until just
wilted. The unopened inflorescences can also be picked and steamed like
While considered an obnoxious weed in the United States, purslane can
provide much needed vitamins and minerals in a wilderness survival
situation. Ghandi actually numbered purslane among his favorite foods.
It’s a small plant with smooth fat leaves that have a refreshingly sour
taste. Purslane grows from the beginning of summer to the start of fall.
You can eat purslane raw or boiled. If you’d like to remove the sour
taste, boil the leaves before eating.
Sheep sorrel is native to Europe and Asia but has been naturalized in
North America. It’s a common weed in fields, grasslands, and woodlands.
It flourishes in highly acidic soil. Sheep sorrel has a tall, reddish
stem and can reach heights of 18 inches. Sheep sorrel contains oxalates
and shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities. You can eat the leaves raw.
They have a nice tart, almost lemony flavor.
Wild mustard is found in the wild in many parts of the world. It
blooms between February and March. You can eat all parts of the plant-
seeds, flowers, and leaves.
You’ll find wood sorrel in all parts of the world; species
diversity is particularly rich in South America. Humans have used wood
sorrel for food and medicine for millennia. The Kiowa Indians chewed on
wood sorrel to alleviate thirst, and the Cherokee ate the plant to cure
mouth sores. The leaves are a great source of vitamin C. The roots of
the wood sorrel can be boiled. They’re starchy and taste a bit like
Thanks to: http://www.thehealersjournal.com