Edible Plants

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Edible Plants

Many common Weeds are Edible





It is interesting to note, especially during these hard times, that among the 300,000 species of plants in the world,120,000 varieties of plants are edible.

Many are classed as weeds and are destroyed for their ability to produce well. 


When in a survival situation, especially, it would be very helpful to know the plants that are edible and not. 


A site called, art of manliness.com, (yes, I laughed at the name) has information from their experience, and the American Army has a 1969 edition of SAS Survival Handbook, which lists, describes, and has drawings of a long list of plants that are edible, and how to cook them. This is also found on this site. 



In their article Surviving in the Wild: 19 Common Edible Plants, they say that if a bird will eat a plant, it is safe for humans too. 


Traits that poisonous plants have are:


Milky or discoloured sap

Spines, fine hairs, or thorns

Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods

Bitter or Soapy taste

Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsley-like foliage

“Almond” scent in the woody parts and leaves

Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs

Three-leaved growth 


There are a few that have these attributes but are still edible. 


The common ones they mention are Amaranth, Asparagus, Burdock, Cattail, Clover, Chicory, Chickweed, Curled Dock, Dandelion, Field Pennycress, Fireweed, Green Seaweed, Kelp, Plantain (not the African kind), Prickly Pear Cactus, Purslane, Sheep Sorrel, White Mustard, Wood Sorrel. 


Of course, the Army manual for plants is worldwide and covers 100s of others. It depends on the area you live in.  I’m not going to go into detail here but hope to perk your interest.  You might be willing to scavenge in the wild, though not in a survival situation.  Many of the world’s edible plants have been used for medicine by indigenous people. 


Many leaves, stems, underground bulbs, pods, nuts and even flowers of various plants are completely edible. 


Photo byAugustine Fou onUnsplash




I want to talk a bit about mushrooms, which are often readily available in the summertime. 


Many that sprout up in your yard after a rain, are edible too. 

Don’t eat mushrooms if they are old, smell bad, are wrinkly, and getting darker, or if you think that the land has been sprayed with weed chemicals. 


Some say to take out the gills when cooking, but it is not necessary if well cleaned from their growing medium. 


Edible mushrooms have gills that are brown or tan. Choose mushrooms with white, tan or brown caps and stems. 


Mushrooms with white gills may be from the family Amanitas, which are very poisonous, and you can become sick just by handling them.  Also, don’t choose mushrooms that are red, white-spotted.


If in doubt, taste only a tiny bit, they will burn your tongue. Mushroom poisoning is usually not deadly, if you do get mushroom poisoning, you will be sick within an hour, and remain sick for 4-6 hours with severe cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. 


Long-term exposure to mushrooms spores can lead to lung inflammation and acute lung disease, and in time, turn to chronic lung disease. 


If you are intrigued by this topic, please look into it further.  I’m sure you will see there is truly an abundance all around us. 



Shirley Langton 2021


Submitted: January 28, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Shirley M. Langton. All rights reserved.

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