Just like hunting and fishing, recognizing which plants are safe to eat in the wild is an important survival skill. However, it can often be complex and difficult to master this technique. Here are some  great outdoor survival tips that are great for any adventure.  

From the very beginning of human civilization, when we were living in caves and gathering food for survival, we depended on plants. Scientists are still discovering many of the miraculous properties of plants. However, plants can also be deadly. There are many plants that look just like an edible variety, but can be harmful or even deadly when consumed.  Therefore, when it comes to survival, it is important that you know which plants to pick and how to forage wild edible plants safely.

Safe wild edible plants

There are plants all around us. But if you are like most people, you probably wouldn’t be able to identify most wild plants around us. There are hundreds of different plants growing in the wild, not only in forests and fields but also in city parks, alongside highways, or even your sidewalk. These plants that have been growing around you all your life, that you see on a daily basis, may remain unknown to you. Because, like many people, you never thought about learning about wild plants.

rose-677689_1280We have become so used to buying food from supermarkets and grocery stores that we often forget that fruits and vegetables may be growing all around us. many wild varieties of edible plants have a higher nutritional value than their domestic counterparts. Food found in the wild can be better than food that has been processed and preserved. The knowledge to recognize the right plants to eat is vital in a survival situation. Picking the wrong plant could cause skin irritation, stomach upset, hallucinations or even cause death.

There are thousands of plants that grow in the wild and there are thousands of plants which are safe to eat. But there is no way you can learn about all of them.

Only 10% of all plants are edible for humans.” – survivallife.com

So, how do you make sure what plants are safe to eat? You need to study them and master identification of  these edible plants. Below you will find a few simple rules that may help you to learn about edible wild plants and possibly save your life in an emergency situation.

1. Identify the plant beyond doubt

Make sure the plant you are considering to eat is identifiable. Learn about the plant and get as much information as you can. A poisonous lookalike of the same plant might be present and that could become a problem. You will need practice and training to look for identifiable traits. For example, the cow parsley has a poisonous look alike called the poison parsley, and you need to study these plants to be able to differentiate between them with confidence.  A mistake could be disastrous, so try to stay away from plants that have poisonous lookalikes, if you are not confident about identifying  them.

2. Make sure the plant is plentiful in nature

The next step to learning about plants is to find out whether the plants you want to study are plentiful in the area you are seeking to forage.  It doesn’t do you any good to learn about a plant if they are relatively rare. Dedicate your time studying plants which is found in abundance for a potential emergency source of food for survival.

3. Find out how widely distributed those plants are

Another key to successfully finding edible plants is to know where these plants grow the most. If you are studying about a plant that grows in tropical forests but you are lost hiking in the desert chances are you will not come across those plants in case of an emergency. The key here is to match the area you will be exploring with the plants that are most likely to thrive there naturally.

List of 10 edible plants to master

cactus-526005_1280Here is a list of 10 edible wild plants that you could safely forage on when you have a survival situation. Study these plants based on the criteria mentioned above.

  • Acorn from oak
  • Acacia
  • Bamboo
  • Cactus
  • Cat tail  
  • Cane
  • Dandelion
  • Seaweed
  • Pine
  • Roses


The ability to identify safe edible plants could be an useful survival skill in an emergency survival situation as well as a fun adventure on it’s own. We are so used to eating store bought food that we often forget these herbs, vegetables, and fruits come from trees, shrubs, and roots. Wild plants could be a healthy alternative to store bought food, and often has a higher nutritional value.  It can also be a fun adventure to forage for foods in your local forest.

Caution: When foraging, practice safety, wear protective clothing, use gloves and keep a first aid kit handy. Don’t eat anything unless you are sure of it. Also consider if you have picked the right species and not its poisonous look alike.

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Source: Nourish the Planet

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