Wild Edible Plants

Wild plants contain more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients than any cultivated source, and are more flavorful. Eating "in season" on what is available will also prove a more healthful solution for weight loss or gain as needed. Foods available in winter are meant to be eaten when animals need to store calories and energy for when food is scarce, Foods available in summer are meant to cool the body and feel light.

There is a wide variety of natual foods around us, but knowing what is safe and what is not is the key. Often, such as with tomatoes and potatoes, one part of a plant is safe to eat, while other parts may be deadly poisonous. Or, a plant requires cooking or leaching out toxins to make it safe to eat.

I have arranged the edible plants by family, and listed the family name, as well as the most common or edible members. When collecting your own wild foods, a little knowledge in botany is absolutely essential for proper identification, but it is fairly easy once you know what to look for.

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Agavaceae - Agaves
Alismataceae - Arrowheads
Alliaceae - Onions
Aloaceae - Aloes
Amaranthaceae - Amaranths
Anacardiaceae - Sumacs
Annonaceae - Pawpaw
Apiaceae - Carrots
Aquifoliaceae - Holly
Arecaceae - Palms
Asteraceae - Sunflowers
Berberidaceae - Barberry
Betulaceae - Birch
Brassicaceae - Mustards
Cactaceae - Cactus
Caprifoliaceae - Elderberry
Caryophyllaceae - Chickweed
Chenopodiaceae - Goosefoot
Commelinaceae - Spiderwort
Crassulaceae - Sedums
Cupressaceae - Juniper
Cyperaceae - Sedges
Ebenaceae - Persimmon
Ericaceae - Blueberry
Euphorbiaceae - Spurge
Fabaceae - Beans
Fagaceae - Oak
Juglandaceae - Walnut
Lamiaceae - Mints
Liliacea - Lily
Magnoliaceae - Magnolia & Sweet Bay
Malvaceae - Hibiscus
Moraceae - Mulberry
Myricaceae - Myrtle & Bayberry
Onagraceae - Primrose
Oxalidaceae - Oxalis
Passifloraceae - Passionflower
Pinaceae - Pine
Plantaginaceae - Plantago
Poaceae - Grasses
Polygonaceae - Knotweed
Portulacaceae - Purslane
Rhamnaceae - Jujube
Rosaceae - Rose
Sapotaceae - Chittamwood
Saxifragaceae - Currant
Scrophulariaceae - Mullein
Solanaceae - Nightshade
Tiliaceae - Basswood
Typhaceae - Cattail
Urticaceae - Nettles
Verbeaceae - Verbena
Vitaceae - Grapes

Here is also a list of very specific foods: