3 Common Edible Plants


One of the most common edible plants, the dandelion, can be eaten in its entirety. There are many edible plants, and many of them are commonly found. You simply need to be able to identify them.

The following edible plants are easily identifiable and are common in many regions.

Caution: Be aware whether or not pesticides have been used.




The entire plant is edible- roots, leaves, and flower.

Eat the leaves while they’re still young; mature leaves taste bitter.

If you do decide to eat the mature leaves, boil them first to remove their bitter taste.

Boil the roots before eating as well.




The young cob-like tips of the plant are edible as is the white bottom of the stalk, spurs off the main roots and spaghetti like rootlets off the main roots.

Cattails are usually found near the edges of freshwater wetlands and were a staple in the diet of many Native American tribes.

The mature cattail is unique and easy to identify. Cattail are oval at the base, not flat. They are also very mild tasting and without much aroma – therefore if you think you’ve got a cattail and it tastes very strong or aromatic, then you may have the wrong plant.

The flower heads in spring can be husked like corn and boiled. The brown-orange heads can be eaten raw or dried into flour in the summer. In the fall, the horn-shaped corms (the sproutings of next years’ plants) can be eaten raw or roasted.

You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, or rhizomes, of the plant. The rootstock is usually found underground. Make sure to wash it off.

The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil or eat the stem raw.

Boil the leaves like you would spinach.

The corn dog-looking female flower spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing. It actually has a corn-like taste to it.




Lucky you, the leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots of clovers are all edible, and they’re found just about everywhere there’s an open grassy area.

Clover is one of the most famous of weeds, commonly sharing space with grass in lawns.

You can eat clovers raw, but they taste better boiled.

The young leaves, taken before the plant flowers, can be eaten raw in salads. As the plant matures, cooking the leaves is recommended. The dried leaves are said to add a slightly vanilla-like flavor to baked goods.

The roots should be eaten cooked.

The flowers are used raw in salads as well as sauteed, stir-fried, or fried as fritters. They are also popular for making teas and wines.

The flowers and seeds can be dried and ground into a flour.

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants


  1. Dandelions and clover have often come into contact with pesticides. Be sure to only harvest from areas you KNOW are ok. Also, clover has a wide variety of tastes. Most NE clover tastes more like sour apple and less like vanilla. Cultivation of both is suggested for rabbit, goat, and chicken feed. If cultivating Dandelion be sure to mound over the plant a few days before harvesting. This will blanch out the bitter chlorophyll and drastically improve taste, texture, and digestion.

    1. Have lived in my home for seven years – have never used any type of herbicides or pesticides on my lawn, (or anywhere on my property) – tons of dandelions and clover – mow it long, looks great, (and very edible).


  3. I think this is greatly needed. We need to be looking at foraging and edibles. Thanks!

  4. Love this info – thank you and keep it coming!
    Wow I never knew that any of these things were edible, and this info could literally be life-saving for people! We live in the Idaho Mountains and I never knew of the buffet awaiting us should it ever come to that … and ughh to the pesticides – ofcourse we’d still choose “Organic” :0)

  5. I agree with the idea that this is a good subject for discussion. Wild edibles is kind of a hobby for me. Not so much the harvesting and eating as the learning to identify them. One of the problems though is almost all the wild edibles while generally good for you, lack sufficient carbohydrates and protein. My theory of the usefulness of wild edible greens in a SHTF situation is to be used to supplement the easily storable carbs (rice, wheat, oats, etc.) and the occasional fish and game.

    1. There are some wild edibles that have a good carb load; try Sunchokes, they have a good sized starchy root that is much like a potato.

    2. True–GWTW–and not in season very long here in Kentucky.
      Dandelions last only 3 weeks here. I know; my neighbor kills hers with sprays!!!

  6. Please educate yourselves on the best edible plant known to man..Purslane.

    Purslane is the best survival plant known. Easiest to grow, easy to harvest, and can be grown without anyone else knowing about it..or recognizing it as edible. It can be grown in vacant lots, or just about anywhere, even cracks in concrete. You do not need to cultivate it, or pay any attention to it, for it to grow. Look it up. Really.

    1. Found it.
      Tried it.
      It has a look alike, Spurge.
      Look that up also. Easy to tell apart. But look it up and be safe.

  7. I have also identified Queen Anne’s Lace(also known as wild carrots), fiddle heads, and a few other wild edibles on our property. We also have an overabundance of nuts like acorns, black walnuts, and pignuts which in turn bring a regular string of deer and turkey to forage the nuts. So we shouldn’t have too much trouble getting food for awhile.

  8. Add Lamb’s Quarter to this list. It’s another plant that is found everywhere and is entirely edible. I started out wild harvesting this green because it wasn’t growing on my property. Then I got a few areas seeded with it, and now it comes up abundantly every Spring. It has an inedible look-alike, but is easy to tell the difference by taste, since the look-alike is very bitter but not toxic. I’ve found that wild edibles improve in size and taste when you cultivate them in your garden. For instance, wild Lamb’s Quarter only gets about 2 to 3 feet tall, but the ones I water and trim and keep weeds away from grow well over 6 feet tall and have an even sweeter milder taste.

  9. Don’t forget–in a SHTF situation or total economic collapse situation, you will NOT be in the yards, forests, and fields alone.

    As many say–wait for the kill-off of those that will wait for the govt. handouts to come.
    Then, forage with the smart folks that stored 6-12 months of food on their shelves.
    Same advise for you ‘thinking’ you are gonna catch that fish, snag that buck, or shoot farmer Brown’s pig!

  10. I read a true story many years ago about a lady miner who lost her husband & had to get out of the far north by herself. Can’t remember all the details but she kept herself alive by digging & eating quack grass roots. I remember that detail because quack grass was the bane of our sandy soil. I then had something good to say about it.

  11. Every region has their own “weeds” that can be eaten. I suggest research of your local region of all edible plants. If in doubt watch the local animals…if they can eat it so can you.

    If you haven’t had “smash” your missing out on some good food. Smash is the root of a Cattail smoked and smashed in a grinding bowl. You add salt and pepper, wild onion, wild Garlic and grind again. Then you add your basic flour or corn meal, this stretches flour almost 10 times so one cup flour to 8-10 smash. You then cook them by “smashing” them flat and fried on a rock. This goes very well with a salad from the wood and wilderness stew with berries for desert.

  12. Hi,new here..just surfing. I think one of the best sustaining plants to be the collard plant,it will grow endlessly in any soil condition, year round high in nutrients and flavors well with simple spices/meats.I have grown one plant to 5 feet tall before it went to seed,then the volunteers were everywhere…

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