SOme Edible Wild Plants

20 Edible Plants That Could Save Your Life

by Zen Gardner Jun 15, 2015

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Sometimes, you have to think outside of the freeze-dried food paradigm. You may find yourself in the woods forced to run from your home or camp because of marauders with nothing to eat. Fortunately, there are many edible plants that can save your life if you know what they are, how to identify them and are comfortable with preparing them.

I don’t personally think that I will love eating a bunch of weeds to survive, but I will if needed. In a long-term disaster, I would certainly consider them vital to preserving life and the right edible plants could augment your gardens and food stores. I wanted to write up this list of 20 edible plants that are found mostly in the temperate region. There are certainly others you could find growing near you, but this is a good start. If I am able to master 20 edible plants in the area where I live, I would consider that a huge benefit to my prepping needs.

There are a lot of very recognizable plants you can eat like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and so on, but I didn’t want to add those to the list.

Plants to avoid

Before you grab a good book on edible plants and run out into the woods with a bowl and a fork, you should practice some caution with this process. Not all plants are edible and knowing what not to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. Before you forage, here are some simple rules to follow when you are trying to identify a plant.

Do not eat any plants that have the following traits

  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Grain heads with purple/pink or black spurs
  • Beans, bulbs or seeds inside pods
  • Yellow, white or red berries
  • Soapy or bitter taste
  • Never eat plants with thorns.
  • Steer clear of plants with shiny leaves.
  • Don’t eat mushrooms. Many are safe to eat, but many are highly toxic and even deadly, so it’s not worth the risk.
  • Umbrella-shaped flowers are a bad sign. Stay away from these plants.
  • Avoid anything that smells like almonds.
  • Same as poison ivy, stay away from plants with leaves in groups of three.

In addition to avoiding all of those traits, you want to forage for wild edible plants in areas that are less likely to have toxins. Plants growing near homes could have been sprayed many times with chemicals. Plants in water that is contaminated will likely hold that same contamination. Plants by the road will have picked up many harmful chemicals and pollution.

Before eating, use the Universal Edibility Test

Before taking the test, you need to fast for 8 hours. If you are desperate enough to need to find edible plants, this might be already the case.

  1. Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
  2. Separate the plant into its basic components – leaves, stems, roots, buds and flowers
  3. Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate if a plant is edible or not.
  4. During the 8 hours you are fasting, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to get a reaction if there is going to be one.
  5. During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and that plant part you are testing.
  6. Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
  7. Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.
  8. If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue and hold it there for 15 minutes. DO NOT SWALLOW.
  9. If there is no burning, itching, numbing, stinging , or any other irritation, swallow the plant part.
  10. Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.
  11. If no ill effects occur, each ¼ cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If everything is still good after all of these steps, the plant is considered edible.

Note: Just because the part you tested is edible, that doesn’t mean the entire plant is edible. Test all parts the same way before eating them.

List of Edible Plants

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus and other species)

Amaranth is an edible weed found almost everywhere. You can eat all parts of the plant but some leaves contain spines. Boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Wild Asparagus grows in most of Europe and North America. This looks different than the fatter stalks you normally eat but can be eaten raw or boiled. Add a little butter and salt.

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Young plant roots and stems can be cooked by boiling for about 20 minutes, then season to taste. Before cooking however, the stems should be peeled, and roots scrubbed in order to remove the bitter rind.

Cattail (Typha species)

The lower parts of the leaves can be used in a salad; the young stems can be eaten raw or boiled; the young flowers (cattails) can be roasted.

Clover (Trifolium)

I have never been able to find a four-leaf clover but you can’t walk out in my back yard without stepping on this plant. You can eat the leaves raw or boil them.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Leaves and root. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.

Chickweed (Stekkarua media)

Chickweed is a very nutritious herb, containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E along with Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur and Zinc plus essential fatty acids. It can be eaten as a salad vegetable or cooked and eaten like cabbage.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion leaves can be added to a salad or cooked. They can also be dried and stored for the winter or blanched and frozen.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Persimmons are rich in vitamins A and B, and are a good source of fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons, it’s best to eat them raw.

Plantain (Plantago species)

The leaves can be eaten raw or steamed for a spinach substitute, and are awesome raw in salads and blended into green smoothies, especially the younger ones as the mature leaves may taste slightly bitter.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Pokeweed can be poisonous if not prepared carefully. You have to ensure you don’t get the roots and the shoots aren’t too long.  Make sure you learn more about the proper cultivation and preparation of this plant before eating it.

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species)

Both the pads and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus are edible.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)


Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

The leaves of Sassafras texture and can be used raw or cooked in salads or eaten right off the plant, unlike the berries, the leaves have a mild pleasant taste.

[Hat tip: Ariel – tx!]


Forests – Vanishing Species

Study Reveals the Sad Truth: There Are Only Two Truly Intact Forests Left on Earth

We are used to thinking that a forest that is carved up by roads and settlements can still be called a forest. However, the results of a new study suggest quite the opposite, claiming that forest fragmentation has lasting detrimental effects on our planet’s ecosystems. In other words, a fragmented forest ceases to be a good natural habitat for wild animals and plants, which has a long-term negative impact on the ecosystem and the environment in general. Moreover, the study concludes that there are only two truly intact forests left on Earth – the rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and involved 24 scientists from different countries led by Nick Haddad, a professor at North Carolina State University. Their task was to analyze the results of the experiments which have been conducted on five continents for decades and were aimed to simulate the effects of human activity on forests.

The researchers studied the impact of forest fragmentation on wildlife and came to astonishing and, at the same time, disappointing conclusions. It appears that the habitat fragmentation leads to 13 to 75 percent decrease in plant and animal diversity! It basically reduces the ability of animals and plants to survive and can even distort the food chain, as smaller patches of forest tend to have an increase in the predator population.

At the same time, forests with more edges have reduced core ecosystem functions, such as the ability to sequester carbon dioxide, which plays an important role in alleviating the climate change effects, and display a decline in productivity and pollination.

Thus, forest fragmentation affects the integrity of the natural habitat – that is why such forests exhibit a decline of wildlife. According to the results of the study, the most significant losses took place in the smallest patches of forest and closest to a habitat edge. What is even more disappointing is that more than 70% of the world’s forests lie within one kilometer of a habitat edge!

Nearly 20 percent of the world’s remaining forests are the distance of a football field, or about 100 meters, away from forest edges. Seventy percent of forest lands are within a half-mile of forest edges. That means almost no forests can really be considered wilderness,” said professor Haddad.

The researchers also emphasize that the effects of forest fragmentation may remain unnoticed for years and only get worse over time. It was found that, on average, fragmented forests have more than a 50% decrease in plant and animal species abundance within just 20 years!

The effects of current fragmentation will continue to emerge for decades. We still haven’t seen the full extent of what our slicing and dicing of the forests has wrought,” the researchers said.

Well, it is another study to show how terribly we, humans, treat our own planet… When will the humanity realize that, if we don’t change our attitude towards the nature and the environment, we will soon have no planet at all? The only way to save the environment and ourselves is to live in harmony with nature rather than to continue ruining and exhausting it with our activity. I hope the humanity will come to this understanding before it is too late.


On UFO’s & Montana

A Letter To The Montana Wilderness Association

Before reading this letter, I advise everyone to watch this video:

May 15, 2013

From: Richard O’Connor, M.D.

Dear Montana Wilderness Association,

My name is Richard O’Connor, M.D. My wife and I have for many years been financial contributors to the MWA. We both very much appreciate and support the work done by the MWA in its goal of preserving the wild and natural qualities which contribute to the beauty of Montana.

I am writing this letter in an attempt to draw the MWA’s attention to a matter that I believe could have very important implications with regard to how we will produce the prodigious amounts of energy which will be required to maintain human civilization into the future. We can all agree that the coal, oil, and gas industries which presently remain indispensible to the production of our current energy needs also together comprise, by far, the greatest source of threat to the integrity of Montana’s wild places. Just yesterday I saw an announcement from the Mauna Loa atmospheric observatory that measured atmospheric CO2 levels have now risen to 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history, yet there is no end in sight, no other energy technology, which holds promise to completely replace fossil fuels as the primary energy source of our civilization. This should be a matter of grave concern to all of us, and I am certain this is the case for those who provide the leadership of the MWA.

My goal in writing this letter is to introduce to the MWA a new awareness which I hope will spur a call to action. The “new awareness” of which I speak is that of the UFO. I believe that the UFO may hold the key to the discovery of a revolutionary new energy technology which could, in the very near future, lead to breakthroughs which might completely replace fossil fuels as the energy source of mankind’s future. In order for this to happen, we, all of us, must first come to realize that the UFO phenomenon is real, it is ongoing, and it is extremely unlikely that these manufactured craft are utilizing any form of fossil fuel to produce the energy required to arrive here. A significant number of civilian pilots, military pilots, FAA employees, CIA “whistleblowers”, and private citizens both from the U.S. and from other countries have recently come forward who have explained their first-hand experiences with the UFO phenomenon, thus making the argument that “there is no evidence of the existence of UFOs” increasingly indefensible. Ironically, the burden of proof seems to now be shifting towards non-believers. We can now know with a high degree of certainty that the UFO phenomenon is real, and the “Extraterrestrial Hypothesis” is the “least objectionable hypothesis” which explains their frequent observances in Earth’s atmosphere.

Am I a believer in “conspiracy theories”? When it comes to the UFO, my answer is an unqualified “yes”. I have but only the slightest lingering doubt that the real existence of UFOs has been covered-up by our nation’s military for well over 6 decades and counting. Over that time, just what the U.S. military has learned about the operation of UFOs, and specifically about how they produce the energy required to arrive here we cannot know for certain, but I feel that it is imperative that we discover the answer to this question in the very near future. There can be little doubt that those “in the know” have already undertaken a serious scientific study of the UFO in pursuing their own perceived interests of our national security, but their definition of “national security” very likely differs markedly from my, and likely the MWA’s, definition of national security. My definition of national security would definitely include the preservation of Montana’s wild places, and this is a goal that cannot and will not be accomplished under our current fossil-fuels-for-energy paradigm.

What I hope to accomplish in writing this letter to the MWA is to encourage the MWA to become the world’s first major environmental organization to formulate and publicize a public statement which would include the following points:

1. It is very likely that the UFO phenomenon is real. This statement is supported by abundant witness testimony provided by dozens of reliable and highly credible people, NASA astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper being but two examples among many.

2. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the real existence of UFOs, which are very likely of interplanetary origin, has been deliberately and methodically covered-up by our nation’s military. CIA agent Chase Brandon, and more recently another individual previously employed by the CIA, have gone on the record in stating that the Roswell UFO crash did happen, and a UFO disc was recovered by our U.S. military in July of 1947. Strong evidence also indicates that an intact UFO was recovered by our nation’s military near Kingman, AZ in 1953.

3. There can be no question that our nation’s military would have undertaken an in-depth study of the energy and propulsion systems of these, and possibly other, recovered UFO craft through highly compartmented, “black” projects (Unacknowledged Special Access Projects) which are known to exist and are carried out in our national laboratories (Los Alamos, Sandia, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, among others).

4. It is every U.S. citizen’s right to know the results of any scientific studies of UFO energy and propulsion systems which have been financed by all of us.

5. Any results of such studies which might be applicable to the development of revolutionary energy technologies must be made immediately available to the wider scientific community in an effort to determine their possible applications toward solving our current energy conundrum and obviating the need for combusting hydrocarbons to produce the energy we require.

It is my hope that the MWA will muster the foresight and the courage to take such a public stance in supporting a “truth out” movement regarding the UFO, thus providing an example to other environmental organizations around the country that will soon follow suit. Believe me when I say that there is a plethora of solid witness testimony which would be considered satisfactory evidence in any courtroom in this country, and which will be considered by any reasonable person to be adequate evidence to support the contention that the UFO phenomenon is real. The MWA, the Sierra Club, and The Nature Conservancy, all to which my wife and I financially contribute, can go on fighting what will be a losing battle with the coal, oil, and gas industries, or each can “step out of the box” which currently constrains the conversation. Instead, let us open up a whole new conversation about another topic, the UFO, which may potentially fulfill the role of replacing any and all currently proposed but inadequate-to-the-task energy “solutions” which threaten, and which will eventually annihilate, Montana’s wild places.

We seem to be living in an age of “coming out”. People, and nations, are feeling the need to “come out” to relieve themselves of long-carried burdens which weigh heavily upon their spirits and inhibit their social, spiritual, and intellectual development. The UFO is just such a burden carried by our U.S. military, and perhaps a very few individuals in mainstream government who have had a “need to know”. With a push from an informed citizenry, a momentum may be established which will result in our military finally unburdening itself of this heavy load, the UFO, which it determined so long ago it must carry in the interest of our nation’s security. Let us help them open up this conversation. Montana’s wild places, and indeed Earth’s entire biosphere, are in desperate need of a new and revolutionary energy solution. The UFO may provide that solution, but we cannot and will not know this unless we demand to hear the truth.

I can guarantee that this topic is going to eventually explode into our reality, and I believe that it is the responsibility of all environmental organizations which are truly interested in finding a way out of our current energy conundrum to help light that fuse. I would be most happy to work with the MWA in developing a statement which incorporates the points listed above, and I await the MWA’s response to this proposal. The MWA may publish this letter on its website, and I encourage this action.

This path has the potential to lead to a meaningful and much needed revolutionary energy solution which will relegate coal, oil, and natural gas only to the production of manufactured graphene, plastics, paints, and other myriad applications which future generations of Americans will need. Let us not continue the practice of combusting these hydrocarbons and throwing their pollutants into our atmosphere. Instead, let us turn our attention toward the UFO and determine just what it may have to teach us.

Richard O’Connor, M.D.