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

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

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

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

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

Foxtail grass – foxtail grass grains are edible with a bit of preparation

Foxtail grass (Setaria species) The weedy Foxtail grass is readily recognized by the narrow, cylindrical head of grain that grows on top of the stem.  Often the ripe grain head is so heavy the grass itself is pulled down.  Its grains are small, less than 6 millimeters (1/4 inch) long.…
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Edible Wild Plants

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 and produces more than 10 stems on each plant.  The stems, which are sparsely covered with short hairs, are slightly purplish and produce flowerheads that are typically taller than the…
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Edible Wild Plants

Crowberry

Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) The Crowberry plant is a creeping, matted, perennial evergreen shrub with short, light-green needlelike leaves. The leaves are deeply grooved beneath with the edges rolled under. The purplish crimson flowers are small and ordinary looking.  It has small, shiny, black berries that remain on the bush throughout…
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Edible Wild Plants

Chufa

Chufa (Cyperus esculentus) This very common plant has a triangular stem and grass-like leaves that are very tough and fibrous. It grows to a height of 20 to 60 centimeters (8 to 24 inches). The mature plant has a soft, distinctive fur-like bloom, with a cluster of flat oval seeds,…
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Edible Wild Plants

Chicory

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) The edible Chicory is a woody plant growing up to meters (6 feet) tall. It is also known as blue sailors, succory, coffeeweed, and sometimes cornflower.  It has unlobed, pointed leaves clustered at the base of a tough, grooved, and more or less hairy stem and some…
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Edible Wild Plants

Chestnut

Chestnut (Castanea sativa) The edible European chestnut (also known as Sweet Chestnut or Marron) is usually a large tree, up to 18 meters (60 feet) in height with oblong, boldly toothed leaves.  The flowers are upright catkins (slim, cylindrical flower clusters) with male flowers in the upper part and female…
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