Introduction

Both plant, animal, and food rations are needed for a balanced diet while surviving in the wildernessYou can live for several weeks without eating but regardless, food provides life-saving energy to your body and replenishes substances that your body burns during physical and mental activity.  The average person needs 2,000 calories per day to function at a minimum level.  Any less than this and your body will cannibalize itself and burn its own tissue for energy.  When no tissue is left to burn and hence no source of energy, the body’s organs begin to shut down.

There are three sources of food – plants, animals, and rations that you carry with you.  It is important to note that during survival mode, food that is carried with you is intended to augment plant and animal foods that you gather while in the wild.

Plants

Plant foods are an excellent source of carbohydratesPlants as food are an excellent source of carbohydrates which are the main source of energy for the body.  The natural sugars contained in many foods provide calories and quick-burn carbohydrates.  Many plants also provide enough protein to keep the body at normal efficiency.

Plants can be dried (via wind, air, sun, or fire) to retard spoilage.  Hence, plants can be treated in order to preserve their nutrients and carried with you for a long period of time.  And of course, plants are also easier to gather than meat.

Edible Plants

Below you’ll find more details, including identification properties, photos, and drawings of common edible plants you will find in the wild.

Abal

Abal (Calligonum comosum) The abal is one of the few shrubby plants that exist in the shady deserts. This plant ...
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Acacia

Acacia (Acacia farnesiana or Vachellia farnesiana) Acacia (also known as Needle Bush) is a spreading, usually short tree with spines ...
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Agave

Agave or Aloe Vera (several hundred Agave species) These edible plants have large clusters of thick, fleshy leaves borne close ...
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Almond

Almond (Prunus amygdalus) The almond tree, which sometimes grows to 12.2 meters (40 feet), looks like a peach tree. The ...
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Amaranth

Amaranth (Amaranthus species) These plants, which grow 90 to 150 centimeters (35 to 60 inches) tall, are abundant weeds in ...
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Arctic Willow

Arctic Willow (Salix arctica) The arctic willow is a shrub that never exceeds more than 60 centimeters (24 inches) in ...
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Arrowroot

Arrowroot (Maranta and Sagittaria species) The arrowroot is an aquatic plant with arrow-shaped leaves and potatolike tubers in the mud.  ...
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Asparagus

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) The spring growth of this edible plant resembles a cluster of green fingers. The mature plant has ...
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Bael Fruit

Bael Fruit (Aegle marmelos) This is a tree that grows from 2.4 to 4.6 meters (8 to 15 feet) tall, ...
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Bamboo – how to identify bamboo and use for food, weapons, tools, shelters, and more

There are several varieties of bamboo including Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Phyllostachys. Edible bamboos are woody grasses that grow up to 15 meters ...
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Banana and Plantain

Banana and Plantain (Musa species) With their familiar fruit, the banana (or Plantain) plants are treelike plants with several large ...
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Baobab

Baobab (Adansonia digitata) The baobab, also known as the dead-rat tree, monkey-bread tree, or upside-down tree, tree may grow as ...
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Batoko Plum

Batoko Plum (Flacourtia inermis) The Batoko Plum (also known as ramontchi, governor’s plum, or Indian plum) shrub or small tree ...
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Bearberry

Bearberry or Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) This plant is a common evergreen shrub with reddish, scaly bark and thick, leathery leaves ...
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Beech

Beech (Fagus) Beech trees are large (9 to 24 meters [30 to 80 feet]), symmetrical forest trees that have smooth, ...
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Bignay

Bignay (Antidesma bunius) Bignay (also known as bugnay, bignai, and currant tree) is a shrub or small tree, 3 to ...
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Blackberry, raspberry, or dewberry

Blackberry, raspberry, or dewberry (Rubus) Rubus includes several closely related species including Blackberry, raspberry, and dewberry.  These plants have prickly ...
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Breadfruit

Breadfruit (Artocarpus incisa or Artocarpus altilis) The Breadfruit is a flowering tree with large, thick leaves.  This tree may grow ...
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Burdock

Burdock (Arctium lappa) This plant has wavy-edged, arrow-shaped leaves and flower heads in burrlike clusters. It grows up to 2 ...
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Burl Palm

Burl Palm (or Cabbage Palm) (Corypha elata or Corypha utan) This tree may reach 18 meters (60 feet) in height ...
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Canna Lily

Canna Lily (Canna indica) Also known as saka siri, Indian shot, canna, bandera, chancle, coyol, or platanillo.  The canna lily ...
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Carob Tree

Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqua) This large tree has a spreading crown. Its leaves are compound and alternate. Its edible seedpods, ...
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Cashew Nut

Cashew Nut (Anacardium occidentale) The cashew is a spreading evergreen tree growing to a height of 12 meters (40 feet), ...
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Cattail

Cattail (Typha latifolia) Cattails (also known as Bulrush, Common Bulrush, Broadleaf Cattail, Common Cattail, Great Reedmace, Cooper's reed,Cumbungi) are grass-like ...
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Chestnut

Chestnut (Castanea sativa) The edible European chestnut (also known as Sweet Chestnut or Marron) is usually a large tree, up ...
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Chicory

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) The edible Chicory is a woody plant growing up to 1.8 meters (6 feet) tall. It is ...
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Chufa

Chufa (Cyperus esculentus) This very common plant has a triangular stem and grass-like leaves that are very tough and fibrous ...
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Coconut

Coconut (Cocos nucifera) The versatile Coconut palm tree (or cocoanut as it used to be spelled)  has a single, narrow, ...
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Cranberry

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) The cranberry plant is a low, creeping shrub growing up to 7 feet long and 2-8 inches ...
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Crowberry

Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) The Crowberry plant is a creeping, matted, perennial evergreen shrub with short, light-green needlelike leaves. The leaves ...
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Cuipo tree

Cuipo tree (Cavanillesia platanifolia) The Cuipo (pronounced “kwee-po”) tree is a very dominant and easily detected tree because it extends ...
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Dandelion – the easy-to-identify (and find) edible plant

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Many are surprised to find that the Dandelion plant is edible.  The Dandelion grows from unbranched taproots ...
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Date palm

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) The date palm is a tall, unbranched tree with a crown of huge, compound leaves. It ...
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Daylily

Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) The Daylily plant has unspotted, tawny blossoms that open for 1 day only. It has long, swordlike, ...
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Duchesnea or Indian strawberry

Duchesnea or Indian strawberry (Potentilla indica or Duchesnea indica) The edible duchesnea (also known as mock stawberry, Indian strawberry, or ...
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Elderberry

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) Elderberry is a many-stemmed shrub with opposite-pair, compound leaves. Each pinnate has 5-9 leaflets.  It grows to ...
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Fireweed

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) The Fireweed plant (also known as Great Willow herb in Canada and Rosebay Willowherb in Britain) grows ...
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Fishtail palm

Fishtail palm (Caryota urens) Fishtail palms are large trees, at least 18 meters (60 feet) tall. The trees have a ...
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Flax plant – the many uses of the flax plant in the wild

Flax plant identification The flax plant is an excellent source of food, natural fibers, and oils. Flax grows to about ...
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Foxtail grass

Foxtail grass (Setaria species) The weedy Foxtail grass is readily recognized by the narrow, cylindrical head of grain that grows ...
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Goa bean

Goa bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) The edible Goa bean (also known as Winged Bean, Asparagus Pea, Four-angled Bean, or Winged Pea) ...
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Hackberry

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) Hackberry (also known as Common Hackberry, Nettletree, Beaverwood, Northern Hackberry, and American Hackberry) trees have smooth, yellowish ...
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Hazelnut or wild filbert

Hazelnut or wild filbert (Corylus species) Hazelnuts grow on bushes (called Hazels) 1.8 to 3.6 meters (6 to 12 feet) ...
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Horseradish tree

Horseradish  or Drumstick tree (Moringa pterygosperma) The edible Horseradish tree (also known as the moringa, benzolive tree, West Indian ben ...
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Iceland moss

Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica) The edible Iceland moss grows only a few inches high. Its color may be gray, white, ...
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Jujube

Common jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) The common jujube is either a deciduous tree growing to a height of 12 meters (40 ...
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Juniper

Juniper (Juniperus species) Junipers, sometimes called cedars, are trees or shrubs that vary in size and shape from columnar trees ...
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Lotus

Lotus (Nelumbo species) The Lotus is an edible aquatic plant . There are two species of lotus: one has yellow ...
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Malanga

Malanga (Xanthosoma) Also known as Melanga, Otoy, Otoe, New Cocoyam, Tannia, Tannier, Yautia, Macabo, Taioba, Dasheen, Quequisque, or Singapore Taro, ...
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Mango

Mango (Mangifera indica) The Mango tree may reach 34-40 meters (115-130 feet) in height with a crown radius of 10 ...
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Manioc

Manioc (Manihot utilissima) Manioc, also called Cassava, Yuca, Mandioca, and Kamoting Kaoy, is a perennial woody shrubby plant, 1 to ...
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Marsh marigold

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) The Marsh Marigold (also known as Kingcup, Mayflower, May Blobs, Mollyblobs, Pollyblobs, Horse Bob, Water Blobs, ...
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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 ...
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Mulberry

Mulberry (Morus species) The Mulberry tree has alternate, simple, often lobed leaves with rough surfaces.  The tree rarely grows over ...
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Nettle

Nettle (Urtica and Laportea species) Nettle plants can grow several feet high and sometimes grow as shrubs. The leaves and ...
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Nipa palm

Nipa palm (Nipa fruticans) The Nipa palm has a short, mainly underground, horizontal trunk (from above ground it appears to ...
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Oak

Oak (Quercus species) Oak trees have alternate leaves and edible acorn fruits. The leaves of the Oak may have serrated ...
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Orach (Saltbush)

Orach (Atriplex species) The edible Orach plant (also known as Saltbush, Garden Orache, Red Orache, Mountain Spinach, or French Spinach)  ...
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Palmetto palm

Palmetto palm (Sabal palmetto) The palmetto palm (also known as cabbage palm, palmetto, cabbage palmetto, palmetto palm, blue palmetto, Carolina ...
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Papaya or pawpaw

Papaya or pawpaw (Carica papaya) The papaya is a large, tree-like plant growing 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 ...
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Persimmon

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana and other species) The common persimmon trees (also known as American Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Simmon, Possumwood, and ...
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Pincushion cactus

Pincushion cactus (Mammilaria species) The Pincushion Cactus, also known as Nipple Cactus or Fishhook Cactus, are round, short, globe shaped ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Pokeweed

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) The Pokeweed plan, also known as Virginia Poke, American Nightshade, Cancer Jalap, Coakum Garget, Inkberry, Pigeon Berry, ...
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Preparing acorns to be a nutritious source of food

Acorns as source of food Many people are not aware that acorns are edible.  Acorns are high in protein, fiber, ...
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Prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species) The Prickly Pear (or Paddle) cactus has flat, padlike stems that are green. The Prickly ...
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Purslane

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) The Purslane plant, also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, and Pusley, is one of the most ...
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Rattan palm

Rattan palm (Calamus species) The rattan palm is a strong, vine-like, robust climbing plant that differs from other palms in ...
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Reed

Reed (Phragmites australis) The Reed is a large, tall, coarse perennial (comes back year after year) grass that grows to ...
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Reindeer moss

Reindeer moss/lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) Reindeer moss (also known as Reindeer Lichen or Caribou Moss) is a light-colored, low-growing plant only ...
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Rock tripe

Rock tripe (Umbilicaria species) The Rock Tripe plant is a lichen that forms large patches with curling edges. The top ...
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Rose apple

Rose apple (Eugenia jambos, Syzygium jambos) The Rose Apple tree (also known as Malabar Plum, Plum Rose, Water Apple) grows ...
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Sago palm – where to find and which parts are edible

Sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) Sago palms are low, multi-stemmed trees, rarely over 9 meters (27 feet) tall, with a stout, spiny ...
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Sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) The Sassafras tree grows to about 10 feet tall with a crown of many slender branches.  The ...
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Saxaul

Saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron) The saxaul plant is found either as a small tree or as a large shrub with heavy, ...
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Screw pine

Screw pine or Screwpine (Pandanus species) The screw pine is a strange plant on stilts, or prop roots, that support ...
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Sea orach

Sea orach (Atriplex halimus) The sea orach (also known as Shrubby Orache, Saltbush)  is a sparingly branched herbaceous plant with ...
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Sheep sorrel

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) Sheep Sorrel, also known as red sorrel, sour weed, and field sorrel, is a perennial weed ...
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Sorghum

Sorghum (Sorghum species) There are many different kinds of sorghum, all of which bear grains in heads at the top ...
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Spatterdock or yellow water lily

Spatterdock or yellow water lily (Nuphar species) The Spatterdock plant (also known as Water Lily and Pond Lily) is an ...
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Sterculia

Sterculia (Sterculia foetida) Sterculias, also known as jangli badam, bastard poon trees, hazel sterculia, and wild almond tree, are tall, ...
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Strawberry

Strawberry (Fragaria species) Strawberry is a small, low growing plant with a three-leaved growth pattern with coarsely serrated edges growing ...
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Sugar palm

Sugar palm (Arenga pinnata) The Sugar Palm (also known as Arenga Palm, Areng palm, Black-fiber palm, Gomuti Palm, Black Sugar ...
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Sugarcane – how to identify sugarcane and use for food

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) Sugarcane is a tropical, perennial grass that forms shoots at the base to produce unbranched stems with ...
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Sweetsop

Sweetsop (Annona squamosa) This tree is small, seldom more than 6 meters (18 feet) tall, with many irregularly spreading, light ...
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Tamarind

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) The tamarind (also known as Tamon) is a medium to large, densely branched tree. It grows up ...
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Taro, cocoyam, elephant ears, eddo, dasheen

Taro, cocoyam, elephant ears, eddo, dasheen (Colocasia and Alocasia species) All plants in these groups have large, arrowhead or heart ...
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Thistle

Thistle (Cirsium species) This plant may grow as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet). It has erect stems, typically with ...
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Ti

Ti (Cordyline terminalis or Cordyline fruticosa) The ti plant (also known as Cabbage Palm, Good Luck Plant, and Palm Lily) ...
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Tree fern

Tree fern (Various genera) Tree ferns are tall trees with long, slender trunks that often have a very rough, bark-like ...
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Tropical almond

Tropical almond (Terminalia catappa) The Tropical Almond tree, also known as Indian Almond, Seas Almond Tree, and False Kamani, grows ...
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Walnut

Walnut (Juglans species) Walnuts grow on very large trees, often reaching 18 meters (54 feet) tall, with some growing as ...
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Water Caltrop

Water Caltrop (Trapa natans) The water Caltrop (also known as Water Chestnut, Buffalo Nut, Bat Nut, Devil Pod, and Singhara) ...
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Water lettuce

Water lettuce (Ceratopteris species) Water Lettuce, also known as Water Fern or Watersprite, is an aquatic or subaquatic fern buoyed ...
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Water lily

Water lily (Nymphaea odorata) Water Lily plants, also known as Beaver Root, are aquatic plants that are rooted in the ...
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Water plantain

Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) The Water-plantain plant, also known as Mad-dog weed, has small, white flowers and heart-shaped leaves with ...
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Wild caper

Wild caper (Capparis aphylla) Wild Caper, also known as Kerda, Kair, Karir, Kirir, and Karril, is a small branched tree ...
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Wild crab apple or wild apple

Wild crab apple or wild apple (Malus species) Wild apple, also known as Crab Apples or Crabs, are a tree ...
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Wild desert gourd or colocynth

Wild desert gourd or colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) The wild desert gourd (also known as Bitter Apple, Bitter Cucumber, Egusi, or ...
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Wild dock and wild sorrel

Wild dock and wild sorrel (Rumex crispus and Rumex acetosella) Wild dock (also known as Curly Dock, Yellow Dock, Sour ...
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Wild fig – how to identify figs and prepare for food

Wild fig (Ficus species) Collectively known as “fig trees” or “figs”, there are nearly 1,000 species of Ficus ranging from ...
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Wild gourd or luffa sponge

Wild gourd or luffa sponge (Luffa aegyptiaca, Luffa cylindrica) The luffa sponge (also known as Smooth Luffa, Egyptian Luffa, or ...
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Wild grape vine

Wild grape vine (Vitis species) The wild grapevine climbs with the aid of “tendrils” on stems that are hairy when ...
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Wild onion and garlic

Wild onion and garlic (Allium species) Allium cernuum and Allium canadense are examples of the many species of wild onions ...
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Wild pistachio

Wild pistachio (Pistacia species) Wild Pistachio plants can grow as shrubs or trees up to a height of 7 meters ...
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Wild rice

Wild rice (Zizania aquatica) Wild rice (also known as Canada Rice, Indian Rice, Marsh Oats, and Water Oats) is an ...
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Wild rose

Wild rose (Rosa species) The Wild Rose shrub grows 60 centimeters to 2.5 meters (24 inches to 8 feet) high ...
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Wood sorrel

Wood sorrel (Oxalis species) There are over 800 species in the Oxalis family.  Wood sorrel (also known as Woodsorrels, Yellow ...
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Yam

Yam (Dioscorea species) These plants are twining, tuberous vines that creep along the ground or occasionally climb trees and other ...
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Yam bean

Yam bean (Pachyrhizus erosus) The yam bean, commonly known as Jicama (and also known as Mexican Turnip or Mexican Potato), ...
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Animals

Meats from animals are excellent for body nourishmentMeats from animals are more nourishing than plant foods but they may be harder to obtain.  Keep in mind that there are easier to gather sources of meats such as insects, crustaceans, fish, and reptiles.  These can be used to satisfy your immediate hunger while you are preparing traps and snares for larger game.  Animal food can also be dried or smoked in order to prepare the animal meat for longer term storage.

 

Animal Hunting Devices

There are several killing devices that you can construct to help you obtain small game to help you survive. The ...
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Catching Fish in the Wild

Introduction If water is nearby, fishing can be a very productive means to acquiring meat for your survival diet.  If ...
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Cleaning, cooking, and storing (preserving) wild game in a wilderness survival situation

You must know how to prepare fish and game for cooking, storage, and preservation in a survival situation. Improper cleaning ...
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Eat bugs for survival? The U.N. says it’s a good idea in new promotion for Entomophagy

The U.N. has begun promoting edible insects as a low-fat, high protein food for people, pets, and livestock. According to ...
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Traps and Snares

Introduction You can typically acquire more animal food using traps that shooting – and trapping requires much less time and ...
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