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Wilderness Survival. Edible Plants.

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wilderness survival

Wilderness Survival

Edible Plants

lamb s quarter chenopodium album

Lamb’s Quarter is one of the earliest spring plants. Both the leaves and seeds are edible. Most people consider this plant to be a weed, since it grows in gardens and crowds out other plants. Because Lamb's Quarters does not have beautiful flowers, it is not wanted by most gardeners.

Lamb’s QuarterChenopodium album
lady fern athyrium filix femina

Lady ferns grow in the deciduous forests of North America. The young fiddleheads can eaten in the spring—boiled like asparagus.

Lady FernAthyriumfilix-femina
broadleaf woodland aster aster macrophyllus

This, deciduous ground cover has heart-shaped leaves that turn mauve in autumn. Purple, blue, or white flowers appear in late summer to early fall. Native to woods of eastern North America, the leaves can be gathered in early spring and eaten like spinach while the roots can be cooked to make a starchy soup.

sweet fern comptonia peregrina
SWEET FERNComptoniaperegrina

Not a fern, but a low, deciduous, rhizomatous shrub that grows 1'-4' tall. It is native to eastern North America. They give off a sweet odor. Its leaves can be dried and brewed to make a tea.

common mullein verbascum thapsus
COMMON MULLEINVerbascumthapsus

Found in poor fields and waste places common mullein is considered a weed. It is biennial that produces flowers the second year. The leaves can be dried and steeped for tea. The tuberous roots can be boiled and eaten like potatoes.

staghorn sumac rhus typhina

Staghornsumac is a deciduous, large shrub to small tree that can attain a height of 30-35 feet. Compact clusters of greenish-yellow flowers form round, red, hairy fruits that mature from August to September. The berries can be bruised and steeped in cold water to make a lemony-flavored drink.

common dandelion taraxacum officinale
COMMON DANDELIONTaraxacumofficinale

Dandelions are found in sunny, open fields, lawns and roadsides. The leaves can be eaten from spring through fall, though they are best in early spring before they flower and in late fall when they are less bitter. Leaves can be boiled or sauted The flower buds and yellow petals can also be boiled and eaten. The long tap roots can also be boiled and eaten.

common cattail typha latifolia
COMMON CATTAILTyphalatifolia

Common Cattails are a familiar sight along ditches and shorelines. All parts of the cattail are edible. The shoots can be peeled, boiled and eaten in spring before the flowers form. The top part of the immature flower head and the roots can be boiled and eaten; however harvesting the roots can be very messy.

wood violet viola sororia
Wood VioletViola sororia

The state flower of Wisconsin is known by several common names. Beyond its use as a common lawn and garden plant, Viola sororia has historically been used for food and for medicine. The flowers and leaves are edible, and some sources suggest the roots can also be eaten. The Cherokee used it to treat colds and headaches.