Whether you do it for fun or you find yourself in a survival situation, being able to identify wild plants that are safe to eat is a valuable skill. Here’s a look at some of the most common wild edible plants you’re likely to encounter while hiking. However, it’s important to make sure that you can absolutely, positively identify a plant as safe before you eat it. Consuming the wrong plants could make you extremely sick or worse. With that in mind, here are some safe options.
Cattails are one of the more recognizable edible plants. They usually grow around wetlands and swamps. The tops of the plants look like cigars. You can eat the entire plant, but you’ll want to give it a good washing first because it will likely be covered in mud. Cattails are pretty bitter, so if you have the means, cook it up first.
Another common and easily recognizable plant, dandelions are completely edible. You can eat the yellow flowers, the roots, and the stems.
Prickly Pear Cactus
This one is especially beneficial because if you find yourself lost in the desert, it can literally be a lifesaver. This form of cactus will grow on trees and shrubs and can be identified by the right pear-shaped fruit it produces. The fruit can be orange, red, or purple. You can eat the whole thing, but take the time to carefully remove all of the spines first!
It’s probably no surprise to learn that sunflower seeds are totally edible. However, wild seeds will likely be much smaller than what you’re used to buying in the grocery store.
Broadleaf Plantain is another very common plant and it grows all over the world. Chances are, you have some growing in your backyard right now. The leaves and tall shoots are both edible. Try to get the leaves from younger plants, as the older ones are tough and bitter. You can shake the seeds out of the tall shoots and eat them, too.