Warning: Eating wild plants can be dangerous. Not knowing what you are putting in your mouth could result in death. Before you go sticking random plants and berries in there, educate yourself on what to look for and what to avoid. You can start with this great article:
So you’re stranded in the wilderness. You consumed the last nub of your Clif Bar two days ago, and now you’re feeling famished. Civilization is still several days away, and you need to keep up your strength. The greenery all around you is looking more and more appetizing. But what to nibble on? Some plants will keep you alive and are chock full of essential vitamins and minerals, while some could make you violently ill….or even kill you.
Which of course makes proper identification absolutely critical.
Below we’ve given a primer on 19 common edible wild plants. Look them over and commit the plants to memory. If you’d like to discover even more edible wild plants, we suggest checking out the SAS Survival Handbook and the U.S. Army Survival Manual.
In the coming months, we’ll be publishing articles on edible wild roots, berries, and fungi. So stay tuned.
Plants to Avoid
If you can’t clearly identify a plant and you don’t know if it’s poisonous, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Steer clear from a plant if it has:
Milky or discolored sap
Spines, fine hairs, or thorns
Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
Bitter or soapy taste
Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsley-like foliage
“Almond” scent in the woody parts and leaves
Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs
Three-leaved growth pattern
Many toxic plants will exhibit one or more of the above characteristics. Bear in mind that some of the plants we suggest below have some of these attributes, yet they’re still edible. The characteristics listed are just guidelines for when you’re not confident about what you’re dealing with. If you want to be completely sure that an unknown plant is edible, and you have a day or two to spare, you can always perform the Universal Edibility Test.
For a list of what you CAN eat, click here.