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Ever since the Neolithic Revolution, humans have focused mainly on other things than hunting and gathering. This is still true today. With today's high tech world, humans don't have to focus on their very survival. They can just drive to the store and buy everything they would ever need. Back in the Stone Age, the environment was their superstore. During the Paleolithic Age (Stone Age), humans relied solely on hunting and gathering for food. Once one knew what plants to eat and how to hunt game, they could live off the land. They were nomads, meaning they had no permanent home. They followed the animals, every season coming back to the same areas to gather plants they knew grew well in that area (and maybe exclusively). Once agriculture was established, there was no need to follow the animals and travel from place to place gathering food and supplies. Since there was a reliable source of food, they could stay in one place, developing permanent shelters and growing in numbers. Since their survival basics were covered, they could look at other ways to pass the time. Tools and arts were developed because of this. Eventually, they began to rely more heavily on trade from other villages for food and supplies. This has grown into today. Now people rely fully on others to feed and take care of themselves. Every person should know how to take care of themselves.Today I would like to share with you some wild plants that natives relied on for food and supplies. Nature will provide anything you need if you know how to look.

Step 1: Materials

Traditionally, men were the hunters and women were the gatherers but both knew each others' tasks. Step 1: Gather Materials The only materials needed are your two hands and common sense. Sometimes digging sticks were used but today we won't need one. A digging stick is a sturdy branch with a limb sticking out of one end. The stick acts as a foot peg much like on today's shovels. The digging stick is pushed into the ground like a shovel and is used to dig up under roots and break up hard ground, just like today's shovels are used.

Step 2: Violets

Blue Violets: Full plant. Likes shady spots. Leaves taste the best, but the whole plant can be eaten. Note the heart shaped leaf.

Step 3: Burdock

Burdock: Roots. Dig around the plant with your hands, a rock, or digging stick. The root will be about the size of a carrot. Eat raw or cooked.

Step 4: Ragweed

Ragweed is a medicinal plant that when the leaves are applied to bleeding cuts, it stops bleeding. This means it is styptic. If you get a cut, simply smash and roll the leaf in between your fingers and press onto cut. When it gets bloody, change it out.

Step 5: Pine Tree Needles and Inner Bark

The needles of pine trees can be chewed on and spat out, swallowing the vitamin c rich fluids. Also, the white inner bark can gathered by knocking the brown outer bark off and peeling the inner bark off. They both are slightly bitter, but make any easy meal.

Step 6: Sassafras Leaves

Sassafras, a small and usually slender tree can easily be misidentified. There are three types of leaves: single lobed leafs, two lobed leafs that look like mittens, and the classic 3 lobed symmetrical leaf. Leaves can be eaten raw, although slimy. The smaller the tree, the better. I usually look for under 5 feet because they taste the best. A little larger and they can taste bitter. They taste like fruit loops. Also, the root can be boiled to make crude root beer.

Step 7: Passionflower

Passionflower, or Maypop, produces a sweet tasting fruit that can be eaten raw. Consistency of bananas.

Step 8: Plantains

Plantains, such as broadleaf shown here, can be eaten like spinach. Also, the seeds can be added to soup to thicken it. If you are allergic to ant or bee stings, and you get stung or bit, chew up the leaf and apply to bite. It will save you a trip to the hospital.

Step 9: Dandelions

Common dandelion greens can be eaten raw or boiled like mustard greens. They are quite tasty.

Step 10: Yellow Woodsorrel

The whole plant can be eaten raw. Tastes great, has a citrus-lemony taste and freshens breath.

Step 11: Persimmon

Ripe persimmons taste sweeter than sugar. Unripe persimmons dry your mouth out they're so bitter (astringent). They are however, full of large seeds. A few minutes worth of gathering off the ground provides gallons worth.

Step 12: Grapes (muscadine)

Wild muscadine grapes provide a nice treat while gathering.

Step 13: Clover (white/red)

Clover leafs and blooms can be eaten raw and added to salads.
Wow I bet even Bear Grylls could get information from this! I have some of those plants growing around where I live but I never knew i could actually use them! Great job!
<p>Great job for opening up your eyes to the natural world! Make sure you're 100% certain of the plant you're looking at before you eat it though.</p>
<p>Thanks for the instructable! it was very well put together, a while back i read a book on this but had forgotten it since! now that my memory is jogged i can again become my own survival man when im with my friends</p>
<p>This is really nice information. Thanks!</p><p>I actually knew most of the plants and greens before this instructable, but this just made me realize how much I'm not noticing.</p>
<p>I found a good picture by typing lambs quarter image in my browser. Anyone can do that. Even my 5 yo grandkid.</p>
<p>lamb's quarters are very tasty and nutritious. Better than spinach.</p>
<p>What does lamb's quarter look like?</p>
<p>Please be careful when stripping inner barks; taking too much can effectively kill a tree. It's generally safer for the tree itself to stick with the needles.</p>
<p>WOW!! Awesome instructable. I've lived around most of these plants all my life and never knew that they were edible. I had some sassafras growing right out my bak door and wondered what in the hell it was for a long time before I cut it down thinking it was a weed. I'd never seen any plant with 3 different leaves before. And the maypops, we just always popped them. And dandelions, I actually knew they were edible but looked at them as a weed. LOL </p>
<p>Sassafras leaves taste best the smaller the tree is, and they sort of taste like Fruit Loops when they're ready to eat. Also, the highly aromatic roots can be boiled into natural root beer in the field.</p>
<p>How do I know when they're ready to eat?? I ate one the other day and it didn't taste like anything to me. Wasn't bitter or anything. My daughter tried it and said it kinda tasted like Fruit loops but I think that might have been the power of suggestion. The plants are only about 6 inches tall right now.</p>
<p>They are ready to eat once they develop leaves. Sassafras tastes better in the spring to early summer and also taste best when the plant is under 6-10 feet. Your daughter is right, they do taste like fruit loops.</p>
<p>Thanks for sharing this amazing instructable.</p>
<p>Uh, I would be careful when eating sassafras becasue it has a bunch of adverse reactions. This was taken from http://www.drugs.com/npp/sassafras.html</p><p>&quot;Besides being a cancer-causing agent, sassafras can induce vomiting, <br>stupor and .... It can also cause abortion, diaphoresis, and <br>dermatitis.&quot;</p>
<p>As one of my instructors said, these so called &quot;adverse reactions&quot; are mainly worst-case scenarios and usually just people who are allergic to the plant. If you are unsure, try a little of the plant before eating a whole meal of it.</p>
<p>That's true but some of the adverse reactions can't be undone like miscarriage; perhaps if the safe amounts to take are made availble (on the site) it would be useful. I myself use natural herbs daily, but the intake amounts and even the duration is very important. For example oregeno is excellent for wet coughs, but ingesting too much and for too many days can be unsafe. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer back - that was really considerate and all the best! </p>
<p>That's true but some of the adverse reactions can't be undone like miscarriage; perhaps if the safe amounts to take are made availble (on the site) it would be useful. I myself use natural herbs daily, but the intake amounts and even the duration is very important. For example oregeno is excellent for wet coughs, but ingesting too much and for too many days can be unsafe. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer back - that was really considerate and all the best! </p>
<p>That's true but some of the adverse reactions can't be undone like miscarriage; perhaps if the safe amounts to take are made availble (on the site) it would be useful. I myself use natural herbs daily, but the intake amounts and even the duration is very important. For example oregeno is excellent for wet coughs, but ingesting too much and for too many days can be unsafe. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer back - that was really considerate and all the best! </p>
<p>That's true but some of the adverse reactions can't be undone like miscarriage; perhaps if the safe amounts to take are made availble (on the site) it would be useful. I myself use natural herbs daily, but the intake amounts and even the duration is very important. For example oregeno is excellent for wet coughs, but ingesting too much and for too many days can be unsafe. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer back - that was really considerate and all the best! </p>
Thank you!<br>I live in the more backwater part of central ky and I've been looking for something like this<br><br>It might be too much to ask where you are located but a lot of this can be found around here, it's nice to finally find a guide on not only what's safe to eat but also how to eat it
<p>I am located in the westernmost Piedmont of NC, in the foothills of the mighty Appalachian Mountains that dominate in plant life. The plants I focus on can be found in fields, mountains and riversides.</p>
<p>incrediably useful. Are you making any more for different climates?</p>
<p>Yes, I hope too, but woodland plants are my main focus.</p>
<p>Please Please please people be very careful about what you eat that grows wild , I have worked and lived my entire life in the bush and in order to learn to eat wild plants you need to get very good plant identification books( or get mentored by an expert) which show key features for I.D and learn them extremely well .Start with one or two plants at a time There are many plants that differ by small details one which you can eat and one that will kill you ! A lot of roots need to be boiled , rinsed and reboiled several times to get rid of toxins,alkyds etc just as an example.This post is great to spark interest in eating wild plants but it is in no way a comprehensive plant ID lesson. On a side note by removing the bark and inner bark of a pine tree you open it up for disease or if you remove enough you effectively girdle the tree and kill it. just my two cents , sorry to be a wet blanket , I just want people to be safe</p>
<p>Yes, stripping too much bark off the tree will kill it. Also, pine tree inner bark is a VERY easy to identify food source. Pine trees have so many uses ranging from food to healing cuts, glues from teas, to amazing firestarters.</p>
<p>Our primitive forbears learned to pick the plants from their parents...who originally learned thru trial-and-error which plants were poisonous and which caused intestinal distress. If you are learning these skills from books, the internet or instructables - you should be prepared for a few unpleasant days in the bathroom at the least, and possibly a trip to the ED or an early death. Most of the plants listed are relatively easy to identify, but what happens if you make a mistake? Find someone local who already knows the local plants, and have THEM show you. Most folks who know this stuff are happy, even eager, to pass on their knowledge. Just make sure THEY didn't learn it only from books, too!</p>
<p>Thanks for the concerns! I am trained by a professional who mainly lives off the land. Here's his website bio </p><p>http://www.lovetheearth.com/instr.htm</p>
<p>You should specify what part of the country you are finding these in. I live in Arizona desert and don't find many of these, but there is an abundance of other great pickings here. </p>
<p>I live in the Southeast, so you probably know more about desert plants than I do.</p>
<p>I love your instructable. We need more from you. Please tell us how all the plants smell and taste. How we should prepare them, and how to use them. I'll bet you have a book inside waiting to burst out for everyone's benefit.</p>
<p>Thanks, I'll have to make an Instructable on each. I hope I will be able to make a book on this and other things later.</p>
Where would you find these plants?
<p>You can find dandelion, wood sorrel, pine trees, clover and plantain almost anywhere. Most others can be found almost anywhere, but I would check the range of each. I live in the Southeast so I may have different plants than you.</p>
<p>passionfruit? consistency of Banana? heheh</p><p>the fruit when dark brown is full of seeds in slippery jelly. cut the fruit open, and eat the contents. The seeds and jelly are rather tart in taste but quite delicious and i believe highly nutritious too! it is a delicious additive to many sweet deserts like pavlova or made into a cake icing.... but who is going to do that when scrounging from the wild.</p>
<p>Passionflower has the consistency of bananas earlier in the season and then turns into a rather slimy, but good-tasting fruit.</p>
<p>Pine needle tea not recommended over long periods . </p>
<p>Pine needle tea contains 4 times the amount of vitamin c per cup than orange juice. If you use the young, green needles then you will be fine.</p>
Just a word of caution about the Wood Sorrel - it contains oxalic acid (which gives it the pleasant sharp taste) and too much oxalic acid is bad for the kidneys.<br>
<p>Very true. I usually stay away from the underground counterparts for this reason. Boiling in several changes of water removes it though.</p>
<p>we have oxalic acids in tea, too. i guess wood sorrel would be harmless unless you eat it more than you drink tea.</p>
<p>Passion Flower is a vine, the fruit is filled with small black seeds sitting in a yellow liquid. The taste is very acid, when made into a drink by adding water and sugar it develops into a very nice taste. The only disadvantage is the use of too much sugar. The flower is a beautiful work of art. It don't grow wild ,only if abandoned.</p>
<p>The flower is very intricate and beautiful, but I couldn't find any that were fully opened yet.</p>
<p>There was an OLD book out there called &quot;EAT THE WEEDS&quot; BY EUELL GIBBONS. If you can still find it at the library...it's a gold mine of information about wild edibles!</p>
<p>EUELL GIBBONS; Wow ... there's a name I haven't heard in a long time.</p><p>&quot;Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.&quot;</p><p>Nice instructable! Just be careful. Be sure to perform adequate research for the flora in your locale. Become adept at identification before experimentation; especially with fungi such as mushrooms. </p><p>Best case scenario, find an expert who can offer tutelage into the wonderful world of wild edibles. If this person is 'old' and 'still alive', chances are they know their plants. </p>
<p>Thanks for the concerns, but I am professionally trained but someone I trust. When he told me his age, I didn't believe it because he looked at least twenty years younger than he was. I think this is because he eats mainly all wild plants and uses traditional medicine. Oh, and yes-- you have to be 110% sure of what mushroom you're looking at before you eat it because they can be deadly. If any of you want to watch some of my instructors videos, visit here </p><p>http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGNT6loZ-xDF3BgLVYJ9rMg</p>
<p>He also had a book called &quot;</p>Stalking The Wild Asparagus&quot;<ul> <br><li><strong>ISBN-10:</strong> 0911469036</ul>
<p><strong>COOL</strong>!! <em>THANX!</em> <strong>:D</strong></p>
<p>Plantains can also be used to draw out infections in cuts. Take a full leaf place it over the cut that is infected vein side of leave towards the cut and wrap it. Change approximately once daily until infection is gone. I just used this method 2 weeks ago on an infected ingrown hair. SPend 5 days putting triple antibiotic sauve on it with no results, used the Plantain leaves and it cleared up with in 3 days. Have used it on infected hang nails usually clears them up with in a day or two. Native American Medicine. I live on a Reservation.</p>
<p>Yes, wild medicine most always works. Also, medicine from nature has almost 100% no side effects. Lastly, with wild medicine, you know one hundred percent of what you're taking, so that is a big factor.</p>
<p>Here in Africa as a young boy , I was taught by one of the tribes people that first crushing the leaf and smelling it was a big part of finding out I'd a plant was edible or not . If it smelt odd or pungent or bad , probably best not to try eat it . Next is the taste. If it tasted bad , spit it out and wash out your mouth thoroughly . My son nearly died as he popped an Oleander bush flower bud onto his mouth as a teenager . Although he spat it out after a few sucks thinking it looked like fruit , it cost him a trip to the ER and a night on oxygen as well as weeks of hot cold sweats etc . That stuff is deadly and is used as a common ornamental bush here in Africa . One of my uncles also tried sucking a root of a tree some workers has exposed . Apparently the white juicy flesh looked edible so he tried a piece without following the correct procedure of smell and taste . He also was rushed to the ER for a stomach pump . </p>

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