Common Wild Edible Plants in North America

Being a prepper is very much about a person’s ability to survive under challenging circumstances. The same ability is slowly built over time, during which a person learns crucial elements that could save their life. At the same time, many scenarios, no matter how different they are from each other, share some common elements. One of the biggest ones of these shared traits all disasters entail is lack of food. History also shows that when unforeseen circumstances occur, whether they are wars, natural disasters or some other event, the food supplies quickly become scarce.

Also, access to food becomes harder to a point where people might find themselves starving. In fact, some claim that the modern civilization is always close to a point of complete shutdown in terms of food availability. When supermarkets end up looted and empty, while the food shipments stop appearing, what can a prepper do to make sure they and their family are safe?

The answer lies in the great outdoors and all the natural riches that can be found there. Not that long ago, our ancestors were able to keep themselves and their families alive using nothing more but the resources found in nature. All this took place during the hunter-gatherer period of the human species. While this period included animal protein attained through hunting and gathering of fruits, berries, and other high-calorie nutrients, much of it included the eating of common wild plants.

Yet, many wild plants are not digestible by humans or worse, they could be poisonous or even lethal. This is why having the knowledge to distinguish the useful from dangerous wild plants is essential for finding food in the wilderness, regardless of what scenario brought a person there. Here is a list of the common wild edible plants in North America.


Wild Asparagus

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Incredibly, Asparagus abundantly grows in the wilderness of North America, but also Europe and West Asia. Here, this plant can be found during the spring and summer season in areas rich with moisture but also sunlight, which is usually the space between a forest and a meadow. Unlike its domestic cousin which was selected to be more nutritious, the wild Asparagus has a thinner stalk, but aside from this, they are basically the same plant. A prepper should know that it is rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, making it a great aid to the human health. To consume it, a person can either eat it in their raw form or simply boil it in water. The other alternative should include drinking the broth because it will drain out some of the minerals, vitamins and nutrients that should not go to waste.



Cattail (Typha)

This plant is known as cattails in the US and as reedmace in the UK. It is very distinct and instantly recognizable, especially because of the fact that grows near inland bodies of water. These can be anything from a small pond to a water pockets made by big rivers. Cattail needs shallow and slow-moving water, so it will rarely grow in streams or rivers themselves. But, in the surrounding area, where the ground is constantly soaked, there can be plenty of them. In North America, the plant was a regular part of the Native American tribes who first discovered that almost all of it is edible. Cattail rootstock is located underground and it, along with the lower part of the steam is most often consumed. The easiest way to eat it is to boil and then mash them. The plant’s flower spike can also be eaten in early summer in the same manner as corn on the cob. The plant even has a taste that is very similar to corn.


Wild Chicory

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

This plant is almost a regular part of the natural landscape in North America, but also Australia and Europe. It grows as a bush and features small white and blue flowers. It is most often found in open field-like areas where it rises above the surrounding grass. The entire plant is edible and the fastest way to get nutrients from it is to pick flowers and eat them directly. They are slightly sweet in taste and will do a great job to stave off hunger for a short time period. But aside from that, the root of Chicory is its most nutrient-dense part. The way to consume it is to boil it, after which it will be ready for the dinner plate.



Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

For most, this weed is the thing that regularly spoils their perfect lawn, but the same plant has been able to save countless lives over the centuries. All of the Dandelion can be safely consumed. Its leaves taste best when they are still young and in this phase seem like a regular green salad. Older plants are still perfectly edible but come with a slightly bitter taste which can be taken out by boiling them. The flower of the plant can be used to make tea where it gives off a slightly sweet aroma. It also comes with some Vitamin C so it could be a great aid in the colder springtime. Another Dandelion advantage is the fact that it thrives in urban areas as well as in the wilderness, so a prepper could use it in an urban disaster scenario.



Plantain (Plantago)

This plant is found in virtually any part of the world and this is why almost all cultures have recognized its value as a source of food. Plantain clings to wet locations, especially bogs and marshes, but also their vicinity. Because of their adaptability, the plant can also be found higher up in the mountains as long as there is water access. Its oval leaves are usually close to the ground and taste best when they are young. For a prepper, Plantain is great because it usually grows in colony-like setup, so finding a lot of them should not be a problem. They can be eaten raw or boiled and they come with a lot of calcium and vitamin A.


With this knowledge of common wild edible plants in North America, any prepper will be able to find easily accessed food in the natural environment.

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