Edible Wild Plants

Purslane

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) The Purslane plant, also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, and Pusley, is one of the most healthy “weeds” you can eat.  It grows and spreads close to the ground forming a dense mat and is seldom more than a few centimeters tall. Its smooth reddish stems…
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Edible Wild Plants

Prickly pear cactus – Surprise! All parts of this plant are edible!

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species) The Prickly Pear (or Paddle) cactus has flat, padlike stems that are green. The Prickly Pear has two kinds of spines – hard, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles that easily penetrate the skin and detach from the plant.  The plants grow in dense, tangled…
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Edible Wild Plants

Pokeweed – the edible plant that also makes an excellent poison (good for dye and maybe even arthritis too)

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) The Pokeweed plan, also known as Virginia Poke, American Nightshade, Cancer Jalap, Coakum Garget, Inkberry, Pigeon Berry, Pokerood, Pokeberry, Redweed, Scoke, and Red Ink Plant, may grow as high as 3 meters (9 feet). It has a large white taproot and green or pinkish red (as it…
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Edible Wild Plants

Plantain, broad and narrow leaf – many uses including food and medicine

Plantain, broad and narrow leaf (Plantago species) Plantains come in two types – broad leaf and narrow leaf.  The broad leaf plantain has leaves over centimeters (1 inch) across with parallel veins that are spread wider at the broad part of the leaf.  The plantain leaves grow in a cluster…
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Edible Wild Plants

Pine trees – pine provides a bounty of uses in survival situations

Pine (Pinus species) Pine trees are easily recognized by their needle-like leaves grouped in bundles. Each bundle may contain one to five needles, the number varying among species. They are a resinous tree growing up to 250 feet tall. The tree's odor and sticky sap provide a simple way to…
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Edible Wild Plants

Pincushion cactus

Pincushion cactus (Mammilaria species) The Pincushion Cactus, also known as Nipple Cactus or Fishhook Cactus, are round, short, globe shaped to barrel-shaped, and without leaves. Sharp spines cover the entire plant. The roots are fibrous or fleshy.  They may grow to over 3 feet but most grow to about 6-8…
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Edible Wild Plants

Persimmon

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana and other species) The common persimmon trees (also known as American Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Simmon, Possumwood, and Sugar Plum) is a small tree (30-60 feet) with a short, skinny trunk and a round shaped top.  Its bark is dark brown or dark gray and divided into plates…
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Edible Wild Plants

Papaya or pawpaw

Papaya or pawpaw (Carica papaya) The papaya is a large, tree-like plant growing 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 feet) tall, with a soft, hollow trunk. When cut, the entire plant exudes a milky juice. The trunk is rough and scarred (where leaves and fruit were borne).  Its large…
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Edible Wild Plants

Palmetto palm

Palmetto palm (Sabal palmetto) The palmetto palm (also known as cabbage palm, palmetto, cabbage palmetto, palmetto palm, blue palmetto, Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, swamp cabbage and sabal palm) is a tall, unbranched tree with persistent rounded fan leaf bases on most of the trunk. The Palmetto Palm may grow up…
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Edible Wild Plants

Orach (Saltbush)

Orach (Atriplex species) The edible Orach plant (also known as Saltbush, Garden Orache, Red Orache, Mountain Spinach, or French Spinach)  is vine-like in growth and can grow erect to 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) in height.  It has arrowhead-shaped, somewhat oblong, alternate leaves up to 5 centimeters (2 inches) long. The…
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Edible Wild Plants

Oak trees – the many uses of oak in a survival situation (yes, it’s even edible)

Oak (Quercus species) Oak trees have alternate leaves and edible acorn fruits. The leaves of the Oak may have serrated edges or may have smooth edges.  The flowers are catkins produced in the Spring season.  The fruit is a nut called an acorn.  It is held in a cup-like structure…
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Edible Wild Plants

Nipa palm

Nipa palm (Nipa fruticans) The Nipa palm has a short, mainly underground, horizontal trunk (from above ground it appears to have no trunk at all) and very large, erect leaves up to 9 meters (30 feet) tall. The leaves are divided into leaflets. A flowering head forms on a short…
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Edible Wild Plants

Nettle – this prickly plant is edible (and nutritious) and its fibers can be used to weave string or twine

Nettle (Urtica and Laportea species) Nettle plants can grow several feet high and sometimes grow as shrubs. The leaves and stalks are arranged across opposite sides of the stem.  The leaves are elliptic, ovate, or circular.  The leaf blades typically have 3-5 veins (rarely up to seven) and are serrated…
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Edible Wild Plants

Mulberry

Mulberry (Morus species) The Mulberry tree has alternate, simple, often lobed leaves with rough surfaces.  The tree rarely grows over 33-49 feet tall.  The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, often lobed, and serrated on the edges, and typically rough on top.   The flowers are held on short, green nondescript catkins.…
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Edible Wild Plants

Marsh marigold

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) The Marsh Marigold (also known as Kingcup, Mayflower, May Blobs, Mollyblobs, Pollyblobs, Horse Bob, Water Blobs, Water Bubbles, Gollins, and Cowslip) plant has rounded, dark green leaves arising from a short stem. The plant grows to about 80 centimeters (31 inches) tall.  Its leaves are rounded…
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Edible Wild Plants

Manioc

Manioc (Manihot utilissima) Manioc, also called Cassava, Yuca, Mandioca, and Kamoting Kaoy, is a perennial woody shrubby plant, 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet) tall, with jointed stems and deep green, fingerlike leaves. It has long, fleshy, tapered rootstocks encased in a detachable rind which is rough and…
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Edible Wild Plants

Mango

Mango (Mangifera indica) The Mango tree may reach 34-40 meters (115-130 feet) in height with a crown radius of 10 meters (33 feet). It has alternate, simple, shiny, dark green leaves. When the leaves are young they are orange-pink and change to dark, glossy red, then dark green as they…
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Edible Wild Plants

Malanga

Malanga (Xanthosoma) Also known as Melanga, Otoy, Otoe, New Cocoyam, Tannia, Tannier, Yautia, Macabo, Taioba, Dasheen, Quequisque, or Singapore Taro, the Malanga is a popular cuisine in many countries around the world.  This plant has soft, arrow-shaped leaves up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) long. The large leaves sprout from…
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Edible Wild Plants

Lotus

Lotus (Nelumbo species) The Lotus is an edible aquatic plant . There are two species of lotus: one has yellow flowers (known as American Lotus, Yellow Lotus, Water Chinquapin, or Volee) and the other pink flowers (known as Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus). The flowers…
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Edible Wild Plants

Juniper

Juniper (Juniperus species) Junipers, sometimes called cedars, are trees or shrubs that vary in size and shape from columnar trees to low spreading shrubs with long trailing branches. Many junipers having two types of leaves on the tree.  The trees may have very small, hard, needle-like leaves or scale-like leaves…
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Edible Wild Plants

Miner’s Lettuce or Indian Lettuce

Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) All Claytonia species are somewhat fleshy plants only a few centimeters tall, with showy flowers about centimeters (1 inch) across.  Known as Miner’s Lettuce, Winter Purslane, or Indian Lettuce, is usually bright green (but sometimes purplish or brownish green), long and narrow.  Miner’s Lettuce has a…
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Edible Wild Plants

Iceland moss

Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica) The edible Iceland moss grows only a few inches high. Its color may be gray, white, pale chestnut, or even reddish.  It grows to a height of 3 to 4 inches with branches rolled into tubes which terminate in flattened lobes with fringed edges. Where to…
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Edible Wild Plants

Horseradish tree

Horseradish  or Drumstick tree (Moringa pterygosperma) The edible Horseradish tree (also known as the moringa, benzolive tree, West Indian ben and drumstick tree) grows from to 14 meters (15 to 46 feet) tall and is rather slender with drooping branches. Its leaves have a fernlike appearance. Its flowers and long,…
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