You’re in the woods with some friends and realize neither of you packed enough food, what’s your first instinct? I certainly wouldn’t panic and neither should you. You are probably armed with tools in your backpack. Combine that with the Earth’s vast variety of natural foods; you should have little problem in getting nourishment. What then are those foods that are not found in restaurants or grocery stores?
Fireweed, or scientifically referred to as Chamerion angustifolium, is an edible plant which is native throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It is commonly referred to as rosebay willowherbin Britain, and in some parts of Canada as great willowherb. Fireweed can be easily identified by its smooth and erect reddish stem, and unique leaves which have a vein pattern that is circular and does not discontinue at the end of the leaf.
You’re probably thinking “There’s no way I can eat this!”. However, the Taraxacum, or more commonly referred to as “Dandelion”, is, in fact, entirely edible. This means that its flowers, leaves, and even roots,are safe for consumption. The leaves of a Dandelion are generally 5-25cm long or longer and their flower heads are yellow to orange colored which are open during the daytime, but closed at night.
3. Curly Dock.
RumexCrispus, commonly referred to as “Curly Dock”, is a safe selection for a snack if you’re in a tight spot with limited to no other edible options. Although the leaves of this plant can be described as appetizing and a prime source of both vitamin A and vitamin B, it is best to be consumed moderately as it can cause urinary tract irritations.
4. Wood Sorrel.
This medium-sized plant is an effective thirst quencher and exhilarating snack. A perfect find for a food-deprived hiker right? The flowers can range from green to bright yellow in color, and the leaves are a great source of vitamin C. The leaves, flowers and other parts have a flavor that is slightly sour which may be comparable to lemons.
5. Bull Thistle.
You can identify this plant by its firm and thorny stem and leaves that end in sharp, extended thorns. This plant looks like one should be skeptical to touch, let alone eat it. However, the Bull Thistle root as well as its young leaves are edible. The prickles must be removed from the leaves before consumption!
A flowering plant in the pea family, Alfalfa is nutritious and may be used for a variety of benefits including; treatment for alcoholism and drug dependency. It has deep roots and can grow quite tall making it very resilient. The leaves and young shoots are the only parts that you can eat raw.
7. Broadleaf Plantain.
A species of the plantain family, Broadleaf Plantain is rich in vitamins A, C and K. The leaves are green and oval-shaped with thick-stemmed leaves that meet at a base. The entire plant is edible but it recommended that the leaves be eaten raw while they are young and tender.
8. Forget Me Not.
Just the name of this herb should be ensuring enough! Scientifically referred to as Myosotis;the Forget-Me-Not flowers are minuscule, tender and usually blue in color. They are more common during Spring. The flowers are the edible part of the plant and is indeed a safe choice for a snack.
Found mostly in temperate to subtropical regions of the world, many species are widely cultivated to be used as ornaments. However, the Elderberry’s flower, as well as its fruit, is edible, although, the raw fruit does not yield a favorable taste. The fruit, when ripe, is a purplish-black color. All other parts of this bush are toxic.
This member of the sunflower family is a heat and drought resistance plant. Tough guy isn’t he? It has purple or pink flowers that display a prickly seed cone in the center. The leaves are of a rough texture. Tough guy after all. If you were to come across this plant in a time of need, bear in mind that the leaves and flower petals are edible.
An attractive plant with a tender, velvet-like physique. It is a tall, erect stem with soft leaves and yellow flowers at the top. They are capable of reaching heights of two meters. Its leaves and flowers are not a bad choice for a snack, although, you would be doing your taste buds more of a favor if they were used to make tea instead.