plants have large clusters of thick, fleshy leaves borne close to the ground and surrounding a central stalk. The plants flower
only once, then die. They produce a massive flower stalk.
Habitat and Distribution: Agaves
prefer dry, open areas. They are found throughout Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of the western deserts of the
United States and Mexico.
Edible Parts: Its flowers and flower buds are
edible. Boil them before eating.
The juice of some species causes dermatitis in some individuals.
Other Uses: Cut the huge flower stalk and collect the juice for drinking. Some species have very fibrous
leaves. Pound the leaves and remove the fibers for weaving and making ropes. Most species have thick, sharp needles at the
tips of the leaves. Use them for sewing or making hacks. The sap of some species contains a chemical that makes the sap suitable
for use as a soap.
Arctic willow Salix arctica
arctic willow is a shrub that never exceeds more than 60 centimeters in height and grows in clumps that form dense mats on
Habitat and Distribution: The arctic willow is common on tundras
in North America. Europe, and Asia. You can also find it in some mountainous areas in temperate regions.
Edible Parts: You can collect the succulent, tender young shoots of the arctic willow in early spring.
Strip off the outer bark of the new shoots and eat the inner portion raw. You can also peel and eat raw the young underground
shoots of any of the various kinds of arctic willow. Young willow leaves are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, containing
7 to 10 times more than an orange.
Arrowroot Maranta and Sagittaria species
Description: The arrowroot is an aquatic plant with arrow-shaped leaves and potatolike tubers in the mud.
Habitat and Distribution: Arrowroot is found worldwide in temperate zones and the tropics.
It is found in moist to wet habitats.
Edible Parts: The rootstock is a
rich source of high quality starch. Boil the rootstock and eat it as a vegetable.
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis
spring growth of this plant resembles a cluster of green fingers. The mature plant has fernlike, wispy foliage and red berries.
Its flowers are small and greenish in color. Several species have sharp, thornlike structures.
Habitat and Distribution: Asparagus is found worldwide in temperate areas. Look for it in fields, old homesites,
Edible Parts: Eat the young stems before leaves form. Steam
or boil them for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Raw asparagus may cause nausea or diarrhea. The fleshy roots are a good source
not eat the fruits of any since some are toxic
Bamboo Various species including Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Phyllostachys
Description: Bamboos are woody grasses that grow up to 15 meters tall. The leaves are
grasslike and the stems are the familiar bamboo used in furniture and fishing poles.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for bamboo in warm, moist regions in open or jungle country, in lowland, or on
mountains. Bamboos are native to the Far East (Temperate and Tropical zones) but have bean widely planted around the world.
Edible Parts: The young shoots of almost all species are edible raw or cooked. Raw
shoots have a slightly bitter taste that is removed by boiling. To prepare, remove the tough protective sheath that is coated
with tawny or red hairs. The seed grain of the flowering bamboo is also edible. Boil the seeds like rice or pulverize them,
mix with water, and make into cakes.
Other Uses: Use the mature bamboo
to build structures or to make containers, ladles, spoons, and various other cooking utensils. Also use bamboo to make tools
and weapons. You can make a strong bow by splitting the bamboo and putting several pieces together.
Green bamboo may explode in a fire. Green bamboo has an internal
membrane you must remove before using it as a food or water container.
Bearberry or kinnikinnick
Bearberry or kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos uvaursi
Description: This plant is a common evergreen shrub with reddish, scaly bark and thick, leathery leaves 4 centimeters
long and 1 centimeter wide. It has white flowers and bright red fruits.
and Distribution: This plant is found in arctic, subarctic, and temperate regions, most often in sandy or rocky soil.
Edible Parts: Its berries are edible raw or cooked. You can make a refreshing tea from
its young leaves.
Beech Fagus species
trees are large (9 to 24 meters), symmetrical forest trees that have smooth, light-gray bark and dark green foliage. The character
of its bark, plus its clusters of prickly seedpods, clearly distinguish the beech tree in the field.
Habitat and Distribution: This tree is found in the Temperate Zone. It grows wild in the eastern United
States, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is found in moist areas, mainly in the forests. This tree is common throughout
southeastern Europe and across temperate Asia. Beech relatives are also found in Chile, New Guinea, and New Zealand.
Edible Parts: The mature beechnuts readily fall out of the husklike seedpods. You can
eat these dark brown triangular nuts by breaking the thin shell with your fingernail and removing the white, sweet kernel
inside. Beechnuts are one of the most delicious of all wild nuts. They are a most useful survival food because of the kernel's
high oil content. You can also use the beechnuts as a coffee substitute. Roast them so that the kernel becomes golden brown
and quite hard. Then pulverize the kernel and, after boiling or steeping in hot water, you have a passable coffee substitute.
Blackberry, raspberry, and dewberry
Blackberry, raspberry, and dewberry Rubus species
Description: These plants have prickly stems (canes) that grow upward, arching back toward the ground. They
have alternate, usually compound leaves. Their fruits may be red, black, yellow, or orange.
Habitat and Distribution: These plants grow in open, sunny areas at the margin of woods, lakes, streams,
and roads throughout temperate regions. There is also an arctic raspberry.
Parts: The fruits and peeled young shoots are edible. Flavor varies greatly.
Other Uses: Use the leaves to make tea. To treat diarrhea, drink a tea made by brewing the dried root bark of
the blackberry bush.
Blueberry and huckleberry
Blueberry and huckleberry Vaccinium and Gaylussacia species
Description: These shrubs vary in size from 30 centimeters to 3.7 meters tall. All
have alternate, simple leaves. Their fruits may be dark blue, black, or red and have many small seeds.
Habitat and Distribution: These plants prefer open, sunny areas. They are found throughout much of the
north temperate regions and at higher elevations in Central America.
Edible Parts: Their
fruits are edible raw.
Burdock Arctium lappa
plant has wavy-edged, arrow-shaped leaves and flower heads in burrlike clusters. It grows up to 2 meters tall, with purple
or pink flowers and a large, fleshy root.
Habitat and Distribution: Burdock
is found worldwide in the North Temperate Zone. Look for it in open waste areas during the spring and summer.
Edible Parts: Peel the tender leaf stalks and eat them raw or cook them like greens.
The roots are also edible boiled or baked.
Do not confuse burdock with rhubarb that has poisonous leaves.
Other Uses: A liquid made from the roots will help to produce sweating and increase
urination. Dry the root, simmer it in water, strain the liquid, and then drink the strained liquid. Use the fiber from the
dried stalk to weave cordage.
Canna lily Canna indica
canna lily is a coarse perennial herb, 90 centimeters to 3 meters tall. The plant grows from a large, thick, underground rootstock
that is edible. Its large leaves resemble those of the banana plant but are not so large. The flowers of wild canna lily are
usually small, relatively inconspicuous, and brightly colored reds, oranges, or yellows.
Habitat and Distribution: As a wild plant, the canna lily is found in all tropical areas, especially in
moist places along streams, springs, ditches, and the margins of woods. It may also be found in wet temperate, mountainous
regions. It is easy to recognize because it is commonly cultivated in flower gardens in the United States.
Edible Parts: The large and much branched rootstocks are full of edible starch. The younger parts may be
finely chopped and then boiled or pulverized into a meal. Mix in the young shoots of palm cabbage for flavoring.
Cattail Typha latifolia
are grasslike plants with strap-shaped leaves 1 to 5 centimeters wide and growing up to 1.8 meters tall. The male flowers
are borne in a dense mass above the female flowers. These last only a short time, leaving the female flowers that develop
into the brown cattail. Pollen from the male flowers is often abundant and bright yellow.
Habitat and Distribution: Cattails are found throughout most of the world. Look for them in full sun areas
at the margins of lakes, streams, canals, rivers, and brackish water.
Edible Parts: The
young tender shoots are edible raw or cooked. The rhizome is often very tough but is a rich source of starch. Pound the rhizome
to remove the starch and use as a flour. The pollen is also an exceptional source of starch. When the cattail is immature
and still green, you can boil the female portion and eat it like corn on the cob.
Uses: The dried leaves are an excellent source of weaving material you can use to make floats and rafts. The cottony
seeds make good pillow stuffing and insulation. The fluff makes excellent tinder. Dried cattails are effective insect repellents
Cereus cactus Cereus species
cacti are tall and narrow with angled stems and numerous spines.
Habitat and Distribution: They
may be found in true deserts and other dry, open, sunny areas throughout the Caribbean region, Central America, and the western
Edible Parts: The fruits are edible, but some may have
a laxative effect.
Other Uses: The pulp of the cactus is a good source
of water. Break open the stem and scoop out the pulp.
Chestnut Castanea sativa
European chestnut is usually a large tree, up to 18 meters in height.
Distribution: In temperate regions, the chestnut is found in both hardwood and coniferous forests. In the tropics,
it is found in semievergreen seasonal forests. They are found over all of middle and south Europe and across middle Asia to
China and Japan. They are relatively abundant along the edge of meadows and as a forest tree. The European chestnut is one
of the most common varieties. Wild chestnuts in Asia belong to the related chestnut species.
Edible Parts: Chestnuts are highly useful as survival food. Ripe nuts are usually picked in autumn, although
unripe nuts picked while green may also be used for food. Perhaps the easiest way to prepare them is to roast the ripe nuts
in embers. Cooked this way, they are quite tasty, and you can eat large quantities. Another way is to boil the kernels after
removing the outer shell. After being boiled until fairly soft, you can mash the nuts like potatoes.
Chicory Cichorium intybus
plant grows up to 1.8 meters tall. It has leaves clustered at the base of the stem and some leaves on the stem. The base leaves
resemble those of the dandelion. The flowers are sky blue and stay open only on sunny days. Chicory has a milky juice.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for chicory in old fields, waste areas, weedy lots,
and along roads. It is a native of Europe and Asia, but is also found in Africa and most of North America where it grows as
Edible Parts: All parts are edible. Eat the young leaves as a
salad or boil to eat as a vegetable. Cook the roots as a vegetable. For use as a coffee substitute, roast the roots until
they are dark brown and then pulverize them.
Chufa Cyperus esculentus
very common plant has a triangular stem and grasslike leaves. It grows to a height of 20 to 60 centimeters. The mature plant
has a soft furlike bloom that extends from a whorl of leaves. Tubers 1 to 2.5 centimeters in diameter grow at the ends of
Habitat and Distribution: Chufa grows in moist sandy areas
throughout the world. It is often an abundant weed in cultivated fields.
Parts: The tubers are edible raw, boiled, or baked. You can also grind them and use them as a coffee substitute.
Coconut Cocos nucifera
tree has a single, narrow, tall trunk with a cluster of very large leaves at the top. Each leaf may be over 6 meters long
with over 100 pairs of leaflets.
Habitat and Distribution: Coconut palms
are found throughout the tropics. They are most abundant near coastal regions.
Parts: The nut is a valuable source of food. The milk of the young coconut is rich in sugar and vitamins and is an
excellent source of liquid. The nut meat is also nutritious but is rich in oil. To preserve the meat, spread it in the sun
until it is completely dry.
Other Uses: Use coconut oil to cook and to
protect metal objects from corrosion. Also use the oil to treat saltwater sores, sunburn, and dry skin. Use the oil in improvised
torches. Use the tree trunk as building material and the leaves as thatch. Hollow out the large stump for use as a food container.
The coconut husks are good flotation devices and the husk's fibers are used to weave ropes and other items. Use the gauzelike
fibers at the leaf bases as strainers or use them to weave a bug net or to make a pad to use on wounds. The husk makes a good
abrasive. Dried husk fiber is an excellent tinder. A smoldering husk helps to repel mosquitoes. Smoke caused by dripping coconut
oil in a fire also repels mosquitoes. To render coconut oil, put the coconut meat in the sun, heat it over a slow fire, or
boil it in a pot of water. Coconuts washed out to sea are a good source of fresh liquid for the sea survivor.
Common jujube Ziziphus jujuba
common jujube is either a deciduous tree growing to a height of 12 meters or a large shrub, depending upon where it grows
and how much water is available for growth. Its branches are usually spiny. Its reddish-brown to yellowish-green fruit is
oblong to ovoid, 3 centimeters or less in diameter, smooth, and sweet in flavor, but has rather dry pulp around a comparatively
large stone. Its flowers are green.
Habitat and Distribution: The jujube
is found in forested areas of temperate regions and in desert scrub and waste areas worldwide. It is common in many of the
tropical and subtropical areas of the Old World. In Africa, it is found mainly bordering the Mediterranean. In Asia, it is
especially common in the drier parts of India and China. The jujube is also found throughout the East Indies. It can be found
bordering some desert areas.
Edible Parts: The pulp, crushed in water,
makes a refreshing beverage. If time permits, you can dry the ripe fruit in the sun like dates. Its fruits are high in vitamins
A and C.
Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon
plant has tiny leaves arranged alternately. Its stem creeps along the ground. Its fruits are red berries.
Habitat and Distribution: It only grows in open, sunny, wet areas in the colder regions of the Northern
Edible Parts: The berries are very tart when eaten raw. Cook
in a small amount of water and add sugar, if available, to make a jelly.
Uses: Cranberries may act as a diuretic. They are useful for treating urinary tract infections.
Crowberry Empetrum nigrum
is a dwarf evergreen shrub with short needlelike leaves. It has small, shiny, black berries that remain on the bush throughout
Habitat and Distribution: Look for this plant in tundra throughout
arctic regions of North America and Eurasia.
Edible Parts: The fruits
are edible fresh or can be dried for later use.
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
leaves have a jagged edge, grow close to the ground, and are seldom more than 20 centimeters long. Its flowers are bright
yellow. There are several dandelion species.
Habitat and Distribution: Dandelions
grow in open, sunny locations throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Edible Parts: All
parts are edible. Eat the leaves raw or cooked. Boil the roots as a vegetable. Roots roasted and ground are a good coffee
substitute. Dandelions are high in vitamins A and C and in calcium.
Other Uses: Use
the white juice in the flower stems as glue.
Dandelion greens (Taraxacum officinale)—a
sure sign of spring—are most welcome to add variety, vitamins and minerals to springtime meals. You may see people digging
them in early May in spots where snow still lingers in the fields.
Most people boil dandelion greens until tender (change
the water once to mellow their tangy taste), then garnish with butter or lemon juice.
date palm is a tall, unbranched tree with a crown of huge, compound leaves. Its fruit is yellow when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: This tree grows in arid semitropical regions. It is native to North Africa and
the Middle East but has been planted in the arid semitropics in other parts of the world.
Edible Parts: Its fruit is edible fresh but is very bitter if eaten before it is ripe. You can dry the
fruits in the sun and preserve them for a long time.
Other Uses: The trunks
provide valuable building material in desert regions where few other treelike plants are found. The leaves are durable and
you can use them for thatching and as weaving material. The base of the leaves resembles coarse cloth that you can use for
scrubbing and cleaning.
Daylily Hemerocallis fulva
plant has unspotted, tawny blossoms that open for 1 day only. It has long, swordlike, green basal leaves. Its root is a mass
of swollen and elongated tubers.
Habitat and Distribution: Daylilies are
found worldwide in Tropic and Temperate Zones. They are grown as a vegetable in the Orient and as an ornamental plant elsewhere.
Edible Parts: The young green leaves are edible raw or cooked. Tubers are also edible
raw or cooked. You can eat its flowers raw, but they taste better cooked. You can also fry the flowers for storage.
Eating excessive amounts
of raw flowers may cause diarrhea.
Duchesnea or Indian strawberry
Duchesnea or Indian strawberry Duchesnea indica
Description: The duchesnea is a small plant that has runners and three-parted leaves. Its flowers are yellow
and its fruit resembles a strawberry.
Habitat and Distribution: It is
native to southern Asia but is a common weed in warmer temperate regions. Look for it in lawns, gardens, and along roads.
Edible Parts: Its fruit is edible. Eat it fresh.
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis
is a many-stemmed shrub with opposite, compound leaves. It grows to a height of 6 meters. Its flowers are fragrant, white,
and borne in large flat-topped clusters up to 30 centimeters across. Its berrylike fruits are dark blue or black when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: This plant is found in open, usually wet areas at the margins
of marshes, rivers, ditches, and lakes. It grows throughout much of eastern North America and Canada.
Edible Parts: The flowers and fruits are edible. You can make a drink by soaking the flower heads for 8
hours, discarding the flowers, and drinking the liquid.
All other parts of the plant are poisonous and dangerous if eaten.
Facts on Fiddleheads
developed by Extension Professor Mahmoud El-Begearmi. Revised and updated by Food Science Professor Alfred Bushway, Extension
Food Science Specialist Beth Calder, and Extension Professional David Fuller.
Ostrich fern fiddleheads have a papery brown
covering. Their stems are smooth, with a deep "U"-shaped groove on the inside. Photo by David Fuller.
Fiddleheads, an early spring
delicacy in Maine, are the young coiled leaves of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Nearly all ferns
have fiddleheads, but those of the ostrich fern are unlike any other. Ostrich fern fiddleheads, which are about an inch in
diameter, can be identified by the brown papery scale-like covering on the uncoiled fern, as well as the smooth fern stem,
and the deep ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fern stem. Look for ostrich ferns emerging in clusters of
about three to twelve fiddleheads each on the banks of rivers, streams, and brooks in April and May. Make sure that you have
landowner permission before harvesting fiddleheads.
the tender little rolls of ostrich fern as soon as they are an inch or two above the ground. Carefully brush off and remove
the papery brown scales. Thoroughly wash fiddleheads in clean, potable water several times until the wash water appears clean.
Then bring a small amount of lightly salted water to a boil, add washed fiddleheads, and cook them at a steady boil for 10
minutes. Fiddleheads can also be washed clean and steamed for 20 minutes. Serve at once with melted butter or vinegar. The
sooner they are eaten, the more delicate their flavor. They may be served, like asparagus, on toast. Cooked, chilled fiddleheads
can be also served as a salad with an onion and vinegar dressing.
Due to the short season for fiddleheads, some people like to preserve them for later use. To
freeze fiddleheads, clean them as you would for the table. Blanch a small amount at a time for two minutes in 4 to 6 cups
of water. Cool and drain in cold water or in an ice water bath (half water and half ice). Pack into moisture- and vapor-proof
containers and freeze. Thaw and boil for 10 minutes before serving.
Remember to keep fiddleheads refrigerated until
you are ready to cook or preserve them. Because process times have not been established for home-preserved fiddleheads, we
do not recommend pressure canning as a method to preserve fiddleheads.
Many people are interested in pickling fiddleheads.
In cooperation with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Maine, UMaine Extension staff
have tested some pickling recipes for fiddleheads. The most successful of these in terms of flavor, keeping quality, and safety
are included in this fact sheet.
Special Note: Our tests showed that the pH of these pickled fiddleheads
ranged between 3.35–3.74 (liquid) and 3.38–3.78 (solids). This is important to ensure microbiological food safety.
It is also important that you follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to assure the safety and quality of the pickled fiddleheads,
including sanitation and sterilization of jars and lids. All fiddlehead products should be hot-packed and processed for 10
minutes in a hot water bath.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has investigated
a number of outbreaks of food-borne illness associated with fiddleheads. The implicated ferns were eaten either raw or lightly
cooked (sautéed, parboiled or microwaved), which was what caused a food-borne illness outbreak in British Columbia in 1990.
Although a toxin has not been identified in the fiddleheads of the ostrich fern, the findings of this investigation suggest
that you should cook fiddleheads thoroughly before eating (boil them for at least 10 minutes).
Fireweed Epilobium angustifolium
plant grows up to 1.8 meters tall. It has large, showy, pink flowers and lance-shaped leaves. Its relative, the dwarf fireweed
(Epilobium latifolium), grows 30 to 60 centimeters tall.
Habitat and Distribution: Tall
fireweed is found in open woods, on hillsides, on stream banks, and near seashores in arctic regions. It is especially abundant
in burned-over areas. Dwarf fireweed is found along streams, sandbars, and lakeshores and on alpine and arctic slopes.
Edible Parts: The leaves, stems, and flowers are edible in the spring but become tough
in summer. You can split open the stems of old plants and eat the pith raw.
Foxtail grass Setaria species
weedy grass is readily recognized by the narrow, cylindrical head containing long hairs. Its grains are small, less than 6
millimeters long. The dense heads of grain often droop when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: Look
for foxtail grasses in open, sunny areas, along roads, and at the margins of fields. Some species occur in wet, marshy areas.
Species of Setaria are found throughout the United States, Europe, western Asia, and tropical Africa. In
some parts of the world, foxtail grasses are grown as a food crop.
Edible Parts: The
grains are edible raw but are very hard and sometimes bitter. Boiling removes some of the bitterness and makes them easier
Hackberry Celtis species
trees have smooth, gray bark that often has corky warts or ridges. The tree may reach 39 meters in height. Hackberry trees
have long-pointed leaves that grow in two rows. This tree bears small, round berries that can be eaten when they are ripe
and fall from the tree. The wood of the hackberry is yellowish.
Habitat and Distribution: This
plant is widespread in the United States, especially in and near ponds.
Parts: Its berries are edible when they are ripe and fall from the tree.
Hazelnut or wild filbert
Hazelnut or wild filbert Corylus species
Description: Hazelnuts grow on bushes 1.8 to 3.6 meters high. One species in Turkey and another in China are
large trees. The nut itself grows in a very bristly husk that conspicuously contracts above the nut into a long neck. The
different species vary in this respect as to size and shape.
Habitat and Distribution: Hazelnuts
are found over wide areas in the United States, especially the eastern half of the country and along the Pacific coast. These
nuts are also found in Europe where they are known as filberts. The hazelnut is common in Asia, especially in eastern Asia
from the Himalayas to China and Japan. The hazelnut usually grows in the dense thickets along stream banks and open places.
They are not plants of the dense forest.
Edible Parts: Hazelnuts ripen
in the autumn when you can crack them open and eat the kernel. The dried nut is extremely delicious. The nut's high oil content
makes it a good survival food. In the unripe stage, you can crack them open and eat the fresh kernel.
Iceland moss Cetraria islandica
moss grows only a few inches high. Its color may be gray, white, or even reddish.
and Distribution: Look for it in open areas. It is found only in the arctic.
Edible Parts: All parts of the Iceland moss are edible. During the winter or dry season, it is dry and crunchy
but softens when soaked. Boil the moss to remove the bitterness. After boiling, eat by itself or add to milk or grains as
a thickening agent. Dried plants store well.
Indian potato or Eskimo potato
Indian potato or Eskimo potato Claytonia species
Description: All Claytonia species are somewhat fleshy plants only a few centimeters tall, with showy flowers
about 2.5 centimeters across.
Habitat and Distribution: Some species are
found in rich forests where they are conspicuous before the leaves develop. Western species are found throughout most of the
northern United States and in Canada.
Edible Parts: The tubers are edible
but you should boil them before eating.
Juniper Juniperus species
sometimes called cedars, are trees or shrubs with very small, scalelike leaves densely crowded around the branches. Each leaf
is less than 1.2 centimeters long. All species have a distinct aroma resembling the well-known cedar. The berrylike cones
are usually blue and covered with a whitish wax.
Habitat and Distribution: Look
for junipers in open, dry, sunny areas throughout North America and northern Europe. Some species are found in southeastern
Europe, across Asia to Japan, and in the mountains of North Africa.
Edible Parts: The
berries and twigs are edible. Eat the berries raw or roast the seeds to use as a coffee substitute. Use dried and crushed
berries as a seasoning for meat. Gather young twigs to make a tea.
Many plants may be called cedars but are not related to junipers and may be harmful. Always look for the berrylike
structures, needle leaves, and resinous, fragrant sap to be sure the plant you have is a juniper.
Lamb’s-quarters, pigweed, goose foot and wild spinach all
carry the botanical name Chenopodium album. It is a common garden weed and grows abundantly all over Maine.
Summer is the season for lamb’s-quarters. It may be gathered
when only a few inches high, or the upper leaves may be stripped off and used when the plant has grown several feet high.
The long-stalked leaves, usually one to four inches long, have a white mealiness on them. The tiny flowers are numerous, greenish
and in spire-like clusters. These can also be eaten. When the fruit is mature, the hard slippery coats would need to be ground
To prepare, gather the young shoots
with leaves. Wash thoroughly. Cook them in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender. Lamb’s-quarters tastes
like spinach. The cooked amount will be about one-third of the amount harvested.
are two species of lotus: one has yellow flowers and the other pink flowers. The flowers are large and showy. The leaves,
which may float on or rise above the surface of the water, often reach 1.5 meters in radius. The fruit has a distinctive flattened
shape and contains up to 20 hard seeds.
Habitat and Distribution: The
yellow-flowered lotus is native to North America. The pink-flowered species, which is widespread in the Orient, is planted
in many other areas of the world. Lotuses are found in quiet fresh water.
Parts: All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked. The underwater parts contain large quantities of starch.
Dig the fleshy portions from the mud and bake or boil them. Boil the young leaves and eat them as a vegetable. The seeds have
a pleasant flavor and are nutritious. Eat them raw, or parch and grind them into flour.
Marsh marigold Caltha palustris
plant has rounded, dark green leaves arising from a short stem. It has bright yellow flowers.
Habitat and Distribution: This plant is found in bogs, lakes, and slow-moving streams. It is abundant in
arctic and subarctic regions and in much of the eastern region of the northern United States.
Edible Parts: All parts are edible if boiled.
As with all water plants, do not eat this plant raw. Raw water plants may carry dangerous organisms that are removed
only by cooking.
Mulberry Morus species
tree has alternate, simple, often lobed leaves with rough surfaces. Its fruits are blue or black and many seeded.
Habitat and Distribution: Mulberry trees are found in forests, along roadsides, and
in abandoned fields in Temperate and Tropical Zones of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Edible Parts: The fruit is edible raw or cooked. It can be dried for eating later.
When eaten in quantity, mulberry fruit acts
as a laxative. Green, unripe fruit can be hallucinogenic and cause extreme nausea and cramps.
Other Uses: You can shred the inner bark of the tree and use it to make twine or cord.
Nettle Urtica and Laportea species
Description: These plants grow several feet high. They have small, inconspicuous flowers. Fine, hairlike
bristles cover the stems, leafstalks, and undersides of leaves. The bristles cause a stinging sensation when they touch the
Habitat and Distribution: Nettles prefer moist areas along streams
or at the margins of forests. They are found throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern Europe.
Edible Parts: Young shoots and leaves are edible. Boiling the plant for 10 to 15 minutes
destroys the stinging element of the bristles. This plant is very nutritious.
Uses: Mature stems have a fibrous layer that you can divide into individual fibers and use to weave string or twine.
Oak Quercus species
trees have alternate leaves and acorn fruits. There are two main groups of oaks: red and white. The red oak group has leaves
with bristles and smooth bark in the upper part of the tree. Red oak acorns take 2 years to mature. The white oak group has
leaves without bristles and a rough bark in the upper portion of the tree. White oak acorns mature in 1 year.
Habitat and Distribution: Oak trees are found in many habitats throughout North America,
Central America, and parts of Europe and Asia.
Edible Parts: All parts
are edible, but often contain large quantities of bitter substances. White oak acorns usually have a better flavor than red
oak acorns. Gather and shell the acorns. Soak red oak acorns in water for 1 to 2 days to remove the bitter substance. You
can speed up this process by putting wood ashes in the water in which you soak the acorns. Boil the acorns or grind them into
flour and use the flour for baking. You can use acorns that you baked until very dark as a coffee substitute.
Tannic acid gives the acorns their bitter taste. Eating an excessive
amount of acorns high in tannic acid can lead to kidney failure. Before eating acorns, leach out this chemical.
Other Uses: Oak wood is excellent for building or burning. Small oaks can be split
and cut into long thin strips (3 to 6 millimeters thick and 1.2 centimeters wide) used to weave mats, baskets, or frameworks
for packs, sleds, furniture, etc. Oak bark soaked in water produces a tanning solution used to preserve leather.
Orach Atriplex species
plant is vinelike in growth and has arrowhead-shaped, alternate leaves up to 5 cenitmeters long. Young leaves maybe silver-colored.
Its flowers and fruits are small and inconspicuous.
Habitat and Distribution: Orach
species are entirety restricted to salty soils. They are found along North America's coasts and on the shores of alkaline
lakes inland. They are also found along seashores from the Mediterranean countries to inland areas in North Africa and eastward
to Turkey and central Siberia.
Edible Parts: The entire plant is edible
raw or boiled.
Palmetto palm Sabal palmetto
palmetto palm is a tall, unbranched tree with persistent leaf bases on most of the trunk. The leaves are large, simple, and
palmately lobed. Its fruits are dark blue or black with a hard seed.
Distribution: The palmetto palm is found throughout the coastal regions of the southeastern United States.
Edible Parts: The fruits are edible raw. The hard seeds may be ground into flour. The
heart of the palm is a nutritious food source at any time. Cut off the top of the tree to obtain the palm heart.
Persimmon Diospyros virginiana and other species
Description: These trees have alternate, dark green, elliptic leaves with entire margins. The flowers are
inconspicuous. The fruits are orange, have a sticky consistency, and have several seeds.
Habitat and Distribution: The persimmon is a common forest margin tree. It is wide spread in Africa, eastern
North America, and the Far East.
Edible Parts: The leaves are a good source
of vitamin C. The fruits are edible raw or baked. To make tea, dry the leaves and soak them in hot water. You can eat the
are unable to digest persimmon pulp. Unripe persimmons are highly astringent and inedible.
Pincushion cactus Mammilaria species
of this cactus group are round, short, barrel-shaped, and without leaves. Sharp spines cover the entire plant.
Habitat and Distribution: These cacti are found throughout much of the desert regions
of the western United States and parts of Central America.
Edible Parts: They
are a good source of water in the desert.
Pine Pinus species
trees are easily recognized by their needlelike leaves grouped in bundles. Each bundle may contain one to five needles, the
number varying among species. The tree's odor and sticky sap provide a simple way to distinguish pines from similar looking
trees with needlelike leaves.
Habitat and Distribution: Pines prefer open,
sunny areas. They are found throughout North America, Central America, much of the Caribbean region, North Africa, the Middle
East, Europe, and some places in Asia.
Edible Parts: The seeds of all
species are edible. You can collect the young male cones, which grow only in the spring, as a survival food. Boil or bake
the young cones. The bark of young twigs is edible. Peel off the bark of thin twigs. You can chew the juicy inner bark; it
is rich in sugar and vitamins. Eat the seeds raw or cooked. Green pine needle tea is high in vitamin C.
Other Uses : Use the resin to waterproof articles. Also use it as glue. Collect the resin from the tree.
If there is not enough resin on the tree, cut a notch in the bark so more sap will seep out. Put the resin in a container
and heat it. The hot resin is your glue. Use it as is or add a small amount of ash dust to strengthen it. Use it immediately.
You can use hardened pine resin as an emergency dental filling.
Plantain, broad and narrow leaf
Plantain, broad and narrow leaf Plantago species
Description: The broad leaf plantain has leaves over 2.5 centimeters across that grow close to the ground.
The flowers are on a spike that rises from the middle of the cluster of leaves. The narrow leaf plantain has leaves up to
12 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters wide, covered with hairs. The leaves form a rosette. The flowers are small and inconspicuous.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for these plants in lawns and along roads in the North
Temperate Zone. This plant is a common weed throughout much of the world.
Parts: The young tender leaves are edible raw. Older leaves should be cooked. Seeds are edible raw or roasted.
Other Uses: To relieve pain from wounds and sores, wash and soak the entire plant for
a short time and apply it to the injured area. To treat diarrhea, drink tea made from 28 grams (1 ounce) of the plant leaves
boiled in 0.5 liter of water. The seeds and seed husks act as laxatives.
Pokeweed Phytolacca americana
plant may grow as high as 3 meters. Its leaves are elliptic and up to 1 meter in length. It produces many large clusters of
purple fruits in late spring.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for this
plant in open, sunny areas in forest clearings, in fields, and along roadsides in eastern North America, Central America,
and the Caribbean.
Edible Parts: The young leaves and stems are edible
cooked. Boil them twice, discarding the water from the first boiling. The fruits are edible if cooked.
All parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten raw. Never eat
the underground portions of the plant as these contain the highest concentrations of the poisons. Do not eat any plant over
25 centimeters tall or when red is showing in the plant.
Uses: Use the juice of fresh berries as a dye.
Prickly pear cactus
Prickly pear cactus Opuntia species
cactus has flat, padlike stems that are green. Many round, furry dots that contain sharp-pointed hairs cover these stems.
Habitat and Distribution: This cactus is found in arid and semiarid regions and in
dry, sandy areas of wetter regions throughout most of the United States and Central and South America. Some species are planted
in arid and semiarid regions of other parts of the world.
Edible Parts: All
parts of the plant are edible. Peel the fruits and eat them fresh or crush them to prepare a refreshing drink. Avoid the tiny,
pointed hairs. Roast the seeds and grind them to a flour.
Avoid any prickly pear cactus like plant with milky sap.
Other Uses: The pad is a good source of water. Peel it carefully to remove all sharp
hairs before putting it in your mouth. You can also use the pads to promote healing. Split them and apply the pulp to wounds.
Purslane Portulaca oleracea
plant grows close to the ground. It is seldom more than a few centimeters tall. Its stems and leaves are fleshy and often
tinged with red. It has paddleshaped leaves, 2.5 centimeter or less long, clustered at the tips of the stems. Its flowers
are yellow or pink. Its seeds are tiny and black.
Habitat and Distribution: It
grows in full sun in cultivated fields, field margins, and other weedy areas throughout the world.
Edible Parts: All parts are edible. Wash and boil the plants for a tasty vegetable or eat them raw. Use
the seeds as a flour substitute or eat them raw.
Reed Phragmites australis
tall, coarse grass grows to 3.5 meters tall and has gray-green leaves about 4 centimeters wide. It has large masses of brown
flower branches in early summer. These rarely produce grain and become fluffy, gray masses late in the season.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for reed in any open, wet area, especially one that
has been disturbed through dredging. Reed is found throughout the temperate regions of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Edible Parts: All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked in any season. Harvest
the stems as they emerge from the soil and boil them. You can also harvest them just before they produce flowers, then dry
and beat them into flour. You can also dig up and boil the underground stems, but they are often tough. Seeds are edible raw
or boiled, but they are rarely found.
Reindeer moss Cladonia rangiferina
moss is a low-growing plant only a few centimeters tall. It does not flower but does produce bright red reproductive structures.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for this lichen in open, dry areas. It is very common
in much of North America.
Edible Parts: The entire plant is edible but
has a crunchy, brittle texture. Soak the plant in water with some wood ashes to remove the bitterness, then dry, crush, and
add it to milk or to other food.
Rock tripe Umbilicaria species
plant forms large patches with curling edges. The top of the plant is usually black. The underside is lighter in color.
Habitat and Distribution: Look on rocks and boulders for this plant. It is common throughout
Edible Parts: The entire plant is edible. Scrape it off
the rock and wash it to remove grit. The plant may be dry and crunchy; soak it in water until it becomes soft. Rock tripes
may contain large quantities of bitter substances; soaking or boiling them in several changes of water will remove the bitterness.
are some reports of poisoning from rock tripe, so apply the Universal Edibility Test.
Sassafras Sassafras albidum
shrub or small tree bears different leaves on the same plant. Some leaves will have one lobe, some two lobes, and some no
lobes. The flowers, which appear in early spring, are small and yellow. The fruits are dark blue. The plant parts have a characteristics
root beer smell.
Habitat and Distribution: Sassafras grows at the margins
of roads and forests, usually in open, sunny areas. It is a common tree throughout eastern North America.
Edible Parts: The young twigs and leaves are edible fresh or dried. You can add dried young twigs and leaves
to soups. Dig the underground portion, peel off the bark, and let it dry. Then boil it in water to prepare sassafras tea.
Other Uses: Shred the tender twigs for use as a toothbrush.
Sheep sorrel Rumex acerosella
plants are seldom more than 30 centimeters tall. They have alternate leaves, often with arrowlike bases, very small flowers,
and frequently reddish stems.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for these
plants in old fields and other disturbed areas in North America and Europe.
Parts: The plants are edible raw or cooked.
These plants contain oxalic acid that can be damaging if too many
plants are eaten raw. Cooking seems to destroy the chemical.
Sorghum Sorghum species
are many different kinds of sorghum, all of which bear grains in heads at the top of the plants. The grains are brown, white,
red, or black. Sorghum is the main food crop in many parts of the world.
and Distribution: Sorghum is found worldwide, usually in warmer climates. All species are found in open, sunny areas.
Edible Parts: The grains are edible at any stage of development. When young, the grains
are milky and edible raw. Boil the older grains. Sorghum is a nutritious food.
Uses: Use the stems of tall sorghum as building materials.
or yellow water lily
Spatterdock or yellow water lily Nuphar species
Description: This plant has leaves up to 60 centimeters long with a triangular notch at the base. The shape
of the leaves is somewhat variable. The plant's yellow flowers are 2.5 centimeter across and develop into bottle-shaped fruits.
The fruits are green when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: These plants
grow throughout most of North America. They are found in quiet, fresh, shallow water (never deeper than 1.8 meters).
Edible Parts: All parts of the plant are edible. The fruits contain several dark brown
seeds you can parch or roast and then grind into flour. The large rootstock contains starch. Dig it out of the mud, peel off
the outside, and boil the flesh. Sometimes the rootstock contains large quantities of a very bitter compound. Boiling in several
changes of water may remove the bitterness.
Strawberry Fragaria species
is a small plant with a three-leaved growth pattern. It has small, white flowers usually produced during the spring. Its fruit
is red and fleshy.
Habitat and Distribution: Strawberries are found in
the North Temperate Zone and also in the high mountains of the southern Western Hemisphere. Strawberries prefer open, sunny
areas. They are commonly planted.
Edible Parts: The fruit is edible fresh,
cooked, or dried. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C. You can also eat the plant's leaves or dry them and make a
tea with them.
Eat only white-flowering true strawberries. Other similar plants without white flowers can
Sugarcane Saccharum officinarum
plant grows up to 4.5 meters tall. It is a grass and has grasslike leaves. Its green or reddish stems are swollen where the
leaves grow. Cultivated sugarcane seldom flowers.
Habitat and Distribution: Look
for sugarcane in fields. It grows only in the tropics (throughout the world). Because it is a crop, it is often found in large
Edible Parts: The stem is an excellent source of sugar and is
very nutritious. Peel the outer portion off with your teeth and eat the sugarcane raw. You can also squeeze juice out of the
Thistle Cirsium species
plant may grow as high as 1.5 meters. Its leaves are long-pointed, deeply lobed, and prickly.
Habitat and Distribution: Thistles grow worldwide in dry woods and fields.
Edible Parts: Peel the stalks, cut them into short sections, and boil them before eating. The roots are
edible raw or cooked.
Some thistle species are poisonous.
Other Uses: Twist the tough fibers of the stems to make a strong twine.
Walnut Juglans species
grow on very large trees, often reaching 18 meters tall. The divided leaves characterize all walnut spades. The walnut itself
has a thick outer husk that must be removed to reach the hard inner shell of the nut.
Habitat and Distribution: The English walnut, in the wild state, is found from southeastern Europe across Asia
to China and is abundant in the Himalayas. Several other species of walnut are found in China and Japan. The black walnut
is common in the eastern United States.
Edible Parts: The nut kernel ripens
in the autumn. You get the walnut meat by cracking the shell. Walnut meats are highly nutritious because of their protein
and oil content.
Other Uses: You can boil walnuts and use the juice as
an antifungal agent. The husks of "green" walnuts produce a dark brown dye for clothing or camouflage. Crush the husks of
"green" black walnuts and sprinkle them into sluggish water or ponds for use as fish poison.
Water chestnut Trapa natans
water chestnut is an aquatic plant that roots in the mud and has finely divided leaves that grow underwater. Its floating
leaves are much larger and coarsely toothed. The fruits, borne underwater, have four sharp spines on them.
Habitat and Distribution: The water chestnut is a freshwater plant only. It is a native of Asia but has
spread to many parts of the world in both temperate and tropical areas.
Parts: The fruits are edible raw and cooked. The seeds are also a source of food.
Water lettuce Ceratopteris species
leaves of water lettuce are much like lettuce and are very tender and succulent. One of the easiest ways of distinguishing
water lettuce is by the little plantlets that grow from the margins of the leaves. These little plantlets grow in the shape
of a rosette. Water lettuce plants often cover large areas in the regions where they are found.
Habitat and Distribution: Found in the tropics throughout the Old World in both Africa and Asia. Another
kind is found in the New World tropics from Florida to South America. Water lettuce grows only in very wet places and often
as a floating water plant. Look for water lettuce in still lakes, ponds, and the backwaters of rivers.
Edible Parts: Eat the fresh leaves like lettuce. Be careful not to dip the leaves in the contaminated water
in which they are growing. Eat only the leaves that are well out of the water.
This plant has carcinogenic
properties and should only be used as a last resort.
Water lily Nymphaea odorata
plants have large, triangular leaves that float on the water's surface, large, fragrant flowers that are usually white, or
red, and thick, fleshy rhizomes that grow in the mud.
Habitat and Distribution: Water
lilies are found throughout much of the temperate and subtropical regions.
Parts: The flowers, seeds, and rhizomes are edible raw or cooked. To prepare rhizomes for eating, peel off the corky
rind. Eat raw, or slice thinly, allow to dry, and then grind into flour. Dry, parch, and grind the seeds into flour.
Other Uses: Use the liquid resulting from boiling the thickened root in water as a
medicine for diarrhea and as a gargle for sore throats.
Water plantain Alisma plantago-aquatica
plant has small, white flowers and heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips. The leaves are clustered at the base of the plant.
Habitat and Distribution: Look for this plant in fresh water and in wet, full sun areas
in Temperate and Tropical Zones.
Edible Parts: The rootstocks are a good
source of starch. Boil or soak them in water to remove the bitter taste.
To avoid parasites, always
cook aquatic plants.
crab apple or wild apple
Wild crab apple or wild apple Malus species
Description: Most wild apples look enough like domestic apples that the survivor can easily recognize them.
Wild apple varieties are much smaller than cultivated kinds; the largest kinds usually do not exceed 5 to 7.5 centimeters
in diameter, and most often less. They have small, alternate, simple leaves and often have thorns. Their flowers are white
or pink and their fruits reddish or yellowish.
Habitat and Distribution: They
are found in the savanna regions of the tropics. In temperate areas, wild apple varieties are found mainly in forested areas.
Most frequently, they are found on the edge of woods or in fields. They are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Edible Parts: Prepare wild apples for eating in the same manner as cultivated kinds.
Eat them fresh, when ripe, or cooked. Should you need to store food, cut the apples into thin slices and dry them. They are
a good source of vitamins.
Apple seeds contain cyanide compounds. Do not eat.
dock and wild sorrel
Wild dock and wild sorrel Rumex crispus and Rumex acetosella
Description: Wild dock is a stout plant with most of its leaves at the base of its
stem that is commonly 15 to 30 centimeters brig. The plants usually develop from a strong, fleshy, carrotlike taproot. Its
flowers are usually very small, growing in green to purplish plumelike clusters. Wild sorrel similar to the wild dock but
smaller. Many of the basal leaves are arrow-shaped but smaller than those of the dock and contain a sour juice.
Habitat and Distribution: These plants can be found in almost all climatic zones of
the world, in areas of high as well as low rainfall. Many kinds are found as weeds in fields, along roadsides, and in waste
Edible Parts: Because of tender nature of the foliage, the sorrel
and the dock are useful plants, especially in desert areas. You can eat their succulent leaves fresh or slightly cooked. To
take away the strong taste, change the water once or twice during cooking. This latter tip is a useful hint in preparing many
kinds of wild greens.
Wild fig Ficus species
trees have alternate, simple leaves with entire margins. Often, the leaves are dark green and shiny. All figs have a milky,
sticky juice. The fruits vary in size depending on the species, but are usually yellow-brown when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: Figs are plants of the tropics and semitropics. They grow in several different
habitats, including dense forests, margins of forests, and around human settlements.
Edible Parts: The fruits are edible raw or cooked. Some figs have little flavor.
gourd or luffa sponge
Wild gourd or luffa sponge Luffa cylindrica
luffa sponge is widely distributed and fairly typical of a wild squash. There are several dozen kinds of wild squashes in
tropical regions. Like most squashes, the luffa is a vine with leaves 7.5 to 20 centimeters across having 3 lobes. Some squashes
have leaves twice this size. Luffa fruits are oblong or cylindrical, smooth, and many-seeded. Luffa flowers are bright yellow.
The luffa fruit, when mature, is brown and resembles the cucumber.
Distribution: A member of the squash family, which also includes the watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumber, the luffa
sponge is widely cultivated throughout the Tropical Zone. It may be found in a semiwild state in old clearings and abandoned
gardens in rain forests and semievergreen seasonal forests.
Edible Parts: You
can boil the young green (half-ripe) fruit and eat them as a vegetable. Adding coconut milk will improve the flavor. After
ripening, the luffa sponge develops an inedible spongelike texture in the interior of the fruit. You can also eat the tender
shoots, flowers, and young leaves after cooking them. Roast the mature seeds a little and eat them like peanuts.
Wild grape vine Vitis species
wild grape vine climbs with the aid of tendrils. Most grape vines produce deeply lobed leaves similar to the cultivated grape.
Wild grapes grow in pyramidal, hanging bunches and are black-blue to amber, or white when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: Wild grapes are distributed worldwide. Some kinds are found in deserts, others
in temperate forests, and others in tropical areas. Wild grapes are commonly found throughout the eastern United States as
well as in the southwestern desert areas. Most kinds are rampant climbers over other vegetation. The best place to look for
wild grapes is on the edges of forested areas. Wild grapes are also found in Mexico. In the Old World, wild grapes are found
from the Mediterranean region eastward through Asia, the East Indies, and to Australia. Africa also has several kinds of wild
Edible Parts: The ripe grape is the portion eaten. Grapes are
rich in natural sugars and, for this reason, are much sought after as a source of energy-giving wild food. None are poisonous.
Other Uses: You can obtain water from severed grape vine stems. Cut off the vine at
the bottom and place the cut end in a container. Make a slant-wise cut into the vine about 1.8 meters upon the hanging part.
This cut will allow water to flow from the bottom end. As water diminishes in volume, make additional cuts further down the
To avoid poisoning, do not eat grapelike fruits with only a single seed (moonseed).
onion and garlic
Wild onion and garlic Allium species
cernuum is an example of the many species of wild onions and garlics, all easily recognized by their distinctive
Habitat and Distribution: Wild onions and garlics are found in open,
sunny areas throughout the temperate regions. Cultivated varieties are found anywhere in the world.
Edible Parts: The bulbs and young leaves are edible raw or cooked. Use in soup or to flavor meat.
are several plants with onionlike bulbs that are extremely poisonous. Be certain that the plant you are using is a true onion
or garlic. Do not eat bulbs with no onion smell.
Uses: Eating large quantities of onions will give your body an odor that will help to repel insects. Garlic juice
works as an antibiotic on wounds
Wild pistachio Pistacia species
kinds of pistachio trees are evergreen, while others lose their leaves during the dry season. The leaves alternate on the
stem and have either three large leaves or a number of leaflets. The fruits or nuts are usually hard and dry at maturity.
Habitat and Distribution: About seven kinds of wild pistachio nuts are found in desert,
or semidesert areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea to Turkey and Afghanistan. It is generally found in evergreen scrub
forests or scrub and thorn forests.
Edible Parts: You can eat the oil
nut kernels after parching them over coals.
Wild rice Zizania aquatica
rice is a tall grass that averages 1 to 1.5 meters in height, but may reach 4.5 meters. Its grain grows in very loose heads
at the top of the plant and is dark brown or blackish when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution: Wild
rice grows only in very wet areas in tropical and temperate regions.
Edible Parts: During
the spring and summer, the central portion of the lower sterns and root shoots are edible. Remove the tough covering before
eating. During the late summer and fail, collect the straw-covered husks. Dry and parch the husks, break them, and remove
the rice. Boil or roast the rice and then beat it into flour.
Wild rose Rosa species
shrub grows 60 centimeters to 2.5 meters high. It has alternate leaves and sharp prickles. Its flowers may be red, pink, or
yellow. Its fruit, called rose hip, stays on the shrub year-round.
Distribution: Look for wild roses in dry fields and open woods throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Edible Parts: The flowers and buds are edible raw or boiled. In an emergency, you can peel and eat the
young shoots. You can boil fresh, young leaves in water to make a tea. After the flower petals fall, eat the rose hips; the
pulp is highly nutritious and an excellent source of vitamin C. Crush or grind dried rose hips to make flour.
Eat only the
outer portion of the fruit as the seeds of some species are quite prickly and can cause internal distress.
Wood sorrel Oxalis species
sorrel resembles shamrock or four-leaf clover, with a bell-shaped pink, yellow, or white flower.
Habitat and Distribution: Wood sorrel is found in Temperate Zones worldwide, in lawns, open areas, and
Edible Parts: Cook the entire plant.
Eat only small
amounts of this plant as it contains a fairly high concentration of oxalic acid that can be harmful.
Yam Dioscorea species
plants are vines that creep along the ground. They have alternate, heart-or arrow-shaped leaves. Their rootstock may be very
large and weigh many kilograms.
Habitat and Distribution: True yams are
restricted to tropical regions where they are an important food crop. Look for yams in fields, clearings, and abandoned gardens.
They are found in rain forests, semievergreen seasonal forests, and scrub and thorn forests in the tropics. In warm temperate
areas, they are found in seasonal hardwood or mixed hardwood-coniferous forests, as well as some mountainous areas.
Edible Parts: Boil the rootstock and eat it as a vegetable.
Yam bean Pachyrhizus erosus
yam bean is a climbing plant of the bean family, with alternate, three-parted leaves and a turniplike root. The bluish or
purplish flowers are pealike in shape. The plants are often so rampant that they cover the vegetation upon which they are
Habitat and Distribution: The yam bean is native to the American
tropics, but it was carried by man years ago to Asia and the Pacific islands. Now it is commonly cultivated in these places,
and is also found growing wild in forested areas. This plant grows in wet areas of tropical regions.
Edible Parts: The tubers are about the size of a turnip and they are crisp, sweet, and juicy and have a
nutty flavor. They are nourishing and at the same time quench the thirst. Eat them raw or boiled. To make flour, slice the
raw tubers, let them dry in the sun, and grind into a flour that is high in starch and may be used to thicken soup.
The raw seeds are poisonous.
FOR LIKE MINDED PATRIOTS
WHO WANT TO SURVIVE ANY AND ALL SITUATIONS THAT THEY MAY FACE.