14 Edible Plants in the Wild: How to Tell Which Ones are Safe

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Surviving in the wilderness or during a disaster can be one of the hardest things to do in life. Beginning an ordinary life can take a lot of time.

When you are forced into such circumstances, knowing a few wild edible plants and flowers can be of great value into your life.

Having the knowledge and experience of how to identify known wild plants that are edible is extremely valuable. You will realize that most of these edible wild plants finding their way into your kitchen regularly and it will be of a significant boost to your diet.

If you happen to find yourself surviving in the wilderness after going for hiking or camping or a raw fate comes your way, try some of the edible plants listed in the article.

How Can You Tell If A Plant Is Edible?

Selecting plants to eat in the wilderness is somehow trick since they can either make or break you. We all know food is essential when it comes to surviving in the desert.

A starving individual has high chances of not making it to the end of the tunnel, but there is light at the end of the tunnel if you know what to choose as food in the wilderness.

Not all plants in the forest are edible since some are poisonous and they can either result in death or gastrointestinal problems.

What’s the good news? A lot of research has been undertaken, and several survival experts have devised ways on how to test which plants are edible while in the wilderness.

You should note that the following steps are only applicable during emergencies. Unfortunately, the steps are regarded as a slow process. Let’s find out:

Step One

Pick a plant and separate it into parts such as roots, stems, leaves, and buds. Focus on each piece at a time. Take time to make an informed decision in the long run.

Step Two

Smell each part sliced from the main plant. If you notice a weird smell or unpleasant odor, then it is a sign of a poisonous plant. Stay away from the plant.

Step Three

Another option of testing the edibility of the plant is by placing the leaves on the inner elbow or wrist. In case the skin around these areas itches, burns, feel numb or result in the formation of rashes, don’t dare try to eat the plant. It is a sign of a poisonous plant.

Step Four

In case a particular plant passes the above three stages, then plan on how you are going to eat it. The best option is boiling them down rather than eating them as raw.

Step Five

Once the boiling is done. Put a small portion of the plant on the lip and wait for 15 minutes. In case there is no burn or itch, take a little bite and chew. If the plant tastes bitter and soapy in the mouth, then spit it out. It is not edible for survival.

Step Six

If the plant test sweet and no formation of weird reaction in the mouth, then swallow the small portion. Wait for some time to deduce any ill effect in the stomach. If there is no unfortunate effect, then assume the plant is edible.

Note: Follow the above steps in case you want to identify another plant as food during survival in the wilderness. Remember to stay safe and drink plenty of clean water.

List of Edible Wild Plants

Bushcraft survival tactics are quite essential for a regular scavenger in the wilderness. Learning these skills can enable you to stay long in the desert without any problems.

The critical factor to consider in learning how to identify edible wild plants and creating clean water for drinking. Once you these survival skills, then nothing can come on your way during exploration.

Here are some of the common tested wild plants that are edible. Let’s have an overview of each plant and see what it got for us.

Wood Sorrel

It is commonly known as oxtail spp, and it is consumed while raw. They are usually green with pinkish flowers. It has a refreshing acidic taste to the mouth pellet. The stems are edible and if you fear bitter tastes then avoid the red parts as well as the leaves. These are common plants in the deep forest or after clearing the lawns.


There are a lot of berries in the wilderness, and most of them are not suitable for human consumption. Blackberries are have been tested and proven to be safe for use while in the forest. The plant producing the blackberries have long stems that are thin with jagged green leaves. The berries occur in the cluster, and they are common during spring.

Wild Asparagus

These are plants that occur in abundance in North Africa and European nations. These plants are regarded edible since they’re used frequently in the kitchen. They happen to be the primary source of vitamin C, Thiamine, Vitamin B16, and potassium ions. They facilitate better growth and development in the body.


The shrub producing these berries grows about 10 feet, but it provides a large number of edible seeds for survival in the wilderness. The plant has about seven leaves coming from the stem and stretches out. The leaves have long jagged edge appearance. The white flowers spread out and look like an umbrella. The berries are common during September.


Pecan trees are quite common in the central part of North America. The trees grow about 20 to 30 feet tall. This is a credible food coach while in the wilderness, and it is regarded to be highly nutritious for forest scavengers.


Another common tree found in North America. The fruits can easily be spotted from a far distance while wandering in the forest. The leaves of the plant look like that of a pecan tree, and the nut develops on a long stem that has about six leaves on either side.


They are also known as Oak nuts. The fruit has some bitter taste. The shape of the shells makes them be conspicuous and stand out from other nuts on wild trees. It is recommended to cook the acorns before eating and remember to eat them in small quantities to avoid stomach problems during your survival.

Shepherd’s Purse

Young leaves from the plant are edible. Most people in homes prefer to add them in cooked soups, cooked greens and also in salads. The good thing with the plant leaves is that it can probably be added in any cooked greens and still taste sweet. It is advisable to eat young leaves as old leaves usually taste peppery on the tongue aside from having an appealing appearance.

Beach Lovage

Another large wild plant that is edible while survival in the wilderness. It is commonly consumed while in a raw state. Fortunately, the leaves of this plant have found its way in most home kitchens recently, and many people add the fresh leaves in the salads, salsa, soups, etc. It can also be mixed with green cooked vegetables.

Herb Robert

All the parts of the plant are edible. The leaves are typically used for making tea or salads. Furthermore, the stems and roots can be dried then later used in the preparation of tea. At night in the wilderness, you can rub the leaves of the plant on your skin since it acts as mosquito repellants a great plant for survival in the desert.

Wild Lettuce

This is another credible plant for forage. Unfortunately, it is not edible, but it is typically used for medicinal purposes while surviving the wilderness. You can harvest the plant and process the extracts as you wander in the wilderness. Most people prefer using it while having stomach discomfort.

Milk Thistle

The plant is common in North America, and it is widely considered to be edible. It has a purple flower, and this makes them stand out from other plants in the forest. Remove the spines from the leaves and eat the leaves with other greens. Boil the stalk before eating to enjoy the mouthwatering taste.


This is one of the plants I have tasted during my Boy Scout camp sometimes back while in high school. They are staples of Native Americans, and they’re among the best wild edible plants to try out. The tips and colored bottoms of the stalk are edible. They are typically consumed in the raw state but avoid eating the fiber part since it can result in a stomach ache.


This is a common lawn weed. Most people around the world have never known that it can be eaten from top to bottom. You can pull the yellow flowers from the plant and eat while raw. Both the leaves and roots are also edible, but the leaves taste better when the plant is young.


Research about a plant before putting it in your mouth. Some plants may look appealing, but they can make or break you.

Follow the guidelines on how to tell if the plant is edible or not before beginning to eat any plant in the wilderness. It can add you an extra burden during the survival time.

The best way is to be cautious about what enters your mouth and beware of plants that are near civilization in your location.

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