We have the largest print-on-demand fulfillment network in the world with 15 manufacturing centers in five different countries. If you can't find the answers to your question on our FAQ page, please submit a support ticket, and our staff will respond to your question(s) right away. Plants are valuable sources of food because they are widely available, easily procured, and, in the proper combinations, can meet all your nutritional needs.
It is important to be able to recognize both cultivated and wild edible plants in a survival situation. Plants growing near homes and occupied buildings or along roadsides may have been sprayed with pesticides. Plants growing in contaminated water or in water containing Giardia lamblia and other parasites are contaminated themselves. Plants of the same species may differ in their toxic or subtoxic compounds content because of genetic or environmental factors.
Many valuable wild plants have high concentrations of oxalate compounds, also known as oxalic acid. You identify plants, other than by memorizing particular varieties through familiarity, by using such factors as leaf shape and margin, leaf arrangements, and root structure. These leaves may be lance-shaped, elliptical, egg-shaped, oblong, wedge-shaped, triangular, long-pointed, or top-shaped (Figure 9-2). The basic types of leaf arrangements (Figure 9-3) are opposite, alternate, compound, simple, and basal rosette.
The basic types of root structures (Figure 9-4) are the bulb, clove, taproot, tuber, rhizome, corm, and crown. Learn as much as possible about plants you intend to use for food and their unique characteristics. Before testing a plant for edibility, make sure there are enough plants to make the testing worth your time and effort. Remember, eating large portions of plant food on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramps. You can see from the steps and time involved in testing for edibility just how important it is to be able to identify edible plants. Using the above criteria as eliminators when choosing plants for the Universal Edibility Test will cause you to avoid some edible plants. An entire encyclopedia of edible wild plants could be written, but space limits the number of plants presented here.


Although some plants or plant parts are edible raw, you must cook others to be edible or palatable. Methods used to improve the taste of plant food include soaking, boiling, cooking, or leaching. Boil leaves, stems, and buds until tender, changing the water, if necessary, to remove any bitterness. This 15 inch survival knife with drop point blade features a thick quality stainless steel blade with serrated top edge. We have vastly expanded our edible plants information with far more information, and far more plants.
Poison hemlock has killed people who mistook it for its relatives, wild carrots and wild parsnips. In this instance you may not have had the chance to learn the plant life of the region in which you must survive. Most of the information in this chapter is directed towards identifying wild plants because information relating to cultivated plants is more readily available. To lessen the chance of accidental poisoning, do not eat any fruit that is starting to spoil or showing signs of mildew or fungus. Oxalates produce a sharp burning sensation in your mouth and throat and damage the kidneys. Tasting or swallowing even a small portion of some can cause severe discomfort, extreme internal disorders, and even death. Each part of a plant (roots, leaves, flowers, and so on) requires more than 24 hours to test. More important, these criteria will often help you avoid plants that are potentially toxic to eat or touch.
Learn as much as possible about the plant life of the areas where you train regularly and where you expect to be traveling or working.
Edible means that a plant or food will provide you with necessary nutrients, while palatable means that it actually is pleasing to eat. Leaching is done by crushing the food (for example, acorns), placing it in a strainer, and pouring boiling water through it or immersing it in running water.
In this case you can use the Universal Edibility Test to determine which plants you can eat and those to avoid.
In more highly developed countries with many automobiles, avoid roadside plants, if possible, due to contamination from exhaust emissions.


Some chokecherry plants have high concentrations of deadly cyanide compounds while others have low concentrations or none.
If you are extremely sensitive to poison ivy, avoid products from this family, including any parts from sumacs, mangoes, and cashews. Cloves are those bulblike structures that remind us of garlic and will separate into small pieces when broken apart. Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt about a plant's edibility, apply the Universal Edibility Test (Figure 9-5) before eating any portion of it.
Listed below and later in this chapter are some of the most common edible and medicinal plants.
The corm (bulb) of the jack-in-the-pulpit is known as the "Indian turnip," but you can eat it only after removing these crystals by slow baking or by drying. Symptoms of the most dangerous mushrooms affecting the central nervous system may show up after several days have passed when it is too late to reverse their effects. Others may have poisonous relatives that look very similar to the ones you can eat or use for medicine. Survival kit includes a hollow grip with a compass top to store items within the knife itself, as well as additional pouches on the sheath to hold the rest. Avoid any weed, leaves, or seeds with an almondlike scent, a characteristic of the cyanide compounds. Taproots resemble carrots and may be single-rooted or branched, but usually only one plant stalk arises from each root. Large quantities of seaweed in an unaccustomed stomach can produce a severe laxative effect. Tubers are like potatoes and daylilies and you will find these structures either on strings or in clusters underneath the parent plants. Rhizomes are large creeping rootstock or underground stems and many plants arise from the "eyes" of these roots. A crown is the type of root structure found on plants such as asparagus and looks much like a mophead under the soil's surface.



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