When we walk through forests, gardens or roads it is inevitable to find a variety of plant species. Have you ever wondered if any of them can be eaten and what contributions would it give our body to ingest them? These plants that can be eaten and they are wild, they have certainly served as the main food for the many generations from the first beginnings of man to the present.
The problem is the loss of this ancestral knowledge that helps us identify them and in certain situations help us. Luckily, we have prepared this article dedicated to those forgotten plant species that many times we find on excursions or outdoor walks. We show you 10 edible wild plants, with their names, features and photos so you know how to identify them.You may also be interested: How to keep spinach in the fridge
It is a proven fact that wild plants are more common than those used for agriculture. After all, for thousands of years humans have survived mainly thanks to uncultivated vegetation. And it is from just about ten thousand years, until today, that planting has replaced the collection of native plants.
Learn to differentiate edible wild plants Your region can help you at any time, after all, you never know when you will be in need. For example, if you go camping or hiking, you could get free food from nature just by looking where you are going.
Thus, some basic rules to find edible vegetation in non-urban areas tell us that you should do a brief investigation of the native edible species and the toxic ones of your locality or the place where you are going. Also, you should take into consideration the type of weather and relief where you are, as this will also help a lot when looking for the location of wild medicinal plants. For example, if you are in a humid region, you will most likely find them exposed to direct sunlight and in open spaces, or near the banks of rivers.
Then, in, we will give you a practical guide to the names of edible wild plants most wanted they are:
- Wild arugula (Eruca vesicaria).
- Bledo (Amaranthus blitum).
- Cardinal (Dipsacus fullonum).
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
- Mint (Mentha spicata).
- Purslane (Portulaca oleracea).
- Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa).
- Borage (Borago officinalis).
- Plantain (Plantago major).
- Horse Celery (Smyrnium Olusatrum).
Wild arugula (Eruca vesicaria)
This edible wild plant is from the Mediterranean and has been collected by our ancestors for thousands of years, being its first records at the height of the Roman Empire, where it was used as an aphrodisiac. Currently, it is considered as a species that belongs to the cabbage family and, since 1990 it has been incorporated into gastronomy, although today it still goes unnoticed in much of Western kitchens and can be seen especially in the Mediterranean
The wild arugula You can recognize it for its crunchy texture and intense and bitter spicy flavor. Of course, before eating it you must identify it by its leafiness and its height that goes from 20 cm to 1 meter. Its flowering, mostly appears in spring, and grows in clusters and is characterized by having 4 petals with the classic yellowish white cross shape. Remember that of this species you just have to eat the arugula leaves.
In this other article we tell you the Benefits of arugula.
Bledo (Amaranthus blitum)
The bledo belongs to the family of the Chenopodioideae The most consumed part of this wild plant is its leaf. The ways of eating this plant are very varied. You can eat it raw or cooked, you can also use its fruits to make infusions and even flour.
To identify the damn You must first look at its size. Generally, they grow between 20 and 60 cm. Its color is dark green and has a stem with reddish branches. You can look at its blunt and jagged leaves. This is also considered as a medicinal wild plant thanks to its large amounts of antioxidants and vitamins A, B, C, B1, B2, B3, and minerals such as calcium, iron and phosphorus. It is used in many cases to control fever, improve intestinal flora and even to detoxify the stomach.
Cardencha (Dipsacus fullonum)
Originally from the northern hemisphere of the planet, the cardinal is a medicinal wild plant consumed mainly in infusions, using the extract derived from its roots. This plant species has diuretic, sweat and purifying properties, it is also said to be effective against arthritis and, by macerating the roots, it also helps to heal wounds.
This plant is easy to recognize. It reaches the meter and a half high in a straight way, and its stem is full of fine thorns. It can also be identified by its low leafiness, with few jagged leaves that attach to the base for water collection. You should know that its flowering is pink and in the form of conical heads, as seen in the image.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
The dandelion leaves are edible since it is developing until its maturity, but don't wait for it to start to wilt. This species of the Asteraceae family is considered, in many places, as a weed, but the truth is that it has medicinal properties. Some of them are its purifying capacity against poisoning and its diuretic effect, besides being an excellent remedy against constipation.
The dandelion reaches about 40 cm high at maturity, and is composed of uniform triangular-shaped lanceolate leaves and jagged edges. Other characteristics for which it can be recognized is its short interlocking stem and a deep yellow bloom with a 5-pointed corolla.
Learn more about how dandelion benefits us in this other article.
Mint (Mentha spicata)
The Mint It is one of the best known and used plants worldwide. Its intense aroma and flavor have made it a highly sought after species for gastronomy and cosmetics. On the other hand, it also has other properties, which make it a medicinal wild plant, such as antipasmodic, antiseptic and analgesic properties. The common form of consumption, which has been used for thousands of years, is through infusions, and the leaf extract is drunk, although it can also be eaten raw.
To identify this plant species we must pay attention to the intense aroma and intense flavor and that, in fact, we distinguish well by being menthol. We can also rely on their physical characteristics. Its average height is about 30 cm and its leaves are shaped like a spear. It can also be recognized for its flowering in the form of a calyx of various colors, such as lilac and white, and a total of 5 petals.
If you want more information about this edible wild plant, do not hesitate to consult this other post on What are the benefits of mint.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
Its nutritional and healing properties precede it since ancient times, thanks to its high content of omega 3 and its digestive action. Purslane, is a shrub creeping species familiar with succulents or Portulacaceae This wild edible plant has spread all over the world, but its origins are Indian and southern European. It can be consumed almost entirely, from its leaves to the seeds, which are used to make bread.
It is easy to identify by the acidic taste of its leaves, which can be eaten raw or cooked, just like the stem. If we talk about recognizing the medicinal wild plant because of its physical characteristics, then we must look at its smooth red stem that extends through the ground, due to its creeping nature. If we detail its flowers, these should be yellow with 5 petals hidden on the foliage.
Check here more Properties of purslane.
Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa)
Wild lettuce It is very close to lettuce that is used for crops. Like the commercial plant, it is sought to consume its leaves when it is in full development and before its first flowering. Is edible wild plant It also has psychoactive and analgesic properties. With this particular species you have to be careful, because although it can be eaten, it should not be done in excess, since you could suffer from severe poisoning.
To recognize it, just look at the stem, it must be straight, smooth and with branches, and its interior is hollow. Its height varies, but on average it can measure up to 1 meter. Its color, which prevails in its leaves and stem, is bluish green. Another characteristic by which it can be distinguished is its black pigmentation fruit and small proportions.
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Borage it is a wild plant that can eat in full. This is used in Mediterranean cuisine to prepare a large number of dishes, such as salads. Soups and broths are prepared with the whole body of the plant species to take advantage of the minerals it gives off and combine with water. In turn, it can also be consumed raw, but its stinging hair makes the process difficult.
This pharyngeal species of the Boragináceas is easily recognized by its tiny stinging hairs on the stem and foliage. Its average height varies between 50 cm and 1 m. Its flowers are 5 petals shaped like a triangle and blue in color. This plant is native to the African continent, but it has spread throughout the world, even in South America.
If you are interested in this rich edible plant, do not hesitate to know more about the properties and benefits of borage oil, as well as the best ways to clean borage.
Llantén (Plantago major)
Another of the edible wild plants most common is the plantain. This is a herbaceous plant species of European and Asian origin, but it has spread throughout several regions of the world, especially in South America. The use of this wild plant is medicinal. Its applications are varied, from being used as an anti-inflammatory in the form of paste, made with its boiled leaves, to as an expectorant thanks to the mucilages and the silicic acid it contains. In addition, it is also an excellent diuretic and healing. Here we show you more about the healing properties of plantain.
The identification of plantain begins by observing its stem, which must be unbranched. You can also take into account its height, which ranges from 30 to 50 cm and its yellow rhizome. If you pay attention to its leaves you will notice that they are jagged and green. Its spiky bloom is light green with white discolorations.
Horse Celery (Smyrnium Olusatrum)
Belonging to the family of Apiaceae, The horse celery is one of the wild medicinal plants They contain high levels of vitamin C, and also their properties are diuretic and purifying. Since ancient times, this species is consumed raw or cooked, and its fruits are used to flavor ointments and other foods such as rice and salads. You can learn more Celery Properties in this other post.
Recognize the horse celery it's simple. Look at its height, which can reach up to one and a half meters. Its stem is solid, but in older specimens it can be hollow. The shape of its leaves is jagged and its thin composition. Is edible wild plant It also gives flowers and fruits. As for its flowering, it is greenish yellow and its fruits have a black pigmentation.
If you want to read more articles similar to 10 edible wild plantsWe recommend that you enter our Food and Drink category.