List of more common edible wild plants

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.

What are the most common edible wild plants

List of wild plants than can be eaten

From A to C

From D to O

From P to Z

Name Edible parts Habitat

Alfalfa

Medicago sativa

Tender leaves as a vegetable. Crushed and roasted seeds like bread

Widely cultivated as a forage plant and often naturalized. It can be found next to the roads, in fields, on the edge of the roads and dry terrain of cold or temperate climates.

Agave

Agave spp.

The buds of the base of the floral stalk baked or roasted on the fire. Pulque from the fermented sap

Garden plant, native to India.

The flowering of these plants is very slow. Sometimes it takes many decades to bloom

Amaranth

Amaranthus retroflexus

Tender leaves in salads or boiled. Harder boiled leaves.

In cultivated fields, uncultivated places in spring and early summer

It is a plant that should be eaten in moderation because it is very easy to accumulate nitrates from the soil. Medicinal plant (More information)

Bamboo

Phyllostachys spp.

Young stems and boiled roots. Water inside the hollow stems to drink

From the East, they can be found as a cultivated form in many gardens around the world and in some fields next to ditches.

Chinese bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens) is the best known and used

Baobab

Adansonia digitata

The pulp of the fruit to eat directly or for drinks. Leaves cooked in soup or dried and turned into powder

In tropical Africa

Barberry

Berberis vulgaris

Berries to make jams, alone as fruits or in drinks. Barberry jelly  can accompany meats.

In forest hedges in  the autumn.

Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Its use to season foods in the form of crushed dried leaves and mixed with other herbs is quite widespread. It can be taken fresh in salads

In Mexico and, as plants grown in many warm regions of the world. Sometimes semi-naturalized.

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

The fruits (beech nuts) to eat tender or roasted and as a substitute for coffee. The tender leaves in spring. The oil of the fruits for cooking.

In humid forests of Atlantic climate during the spring and  the summer.

The beech trees were widely used throughout history during periods of hunger. Ground crust was used to make flour. Beech nuts, in addition to feeding people, were used to feed livestock, especially pigs and chickens. American beech   (Fagus grandiflora) was widely used by native Indians and the first settlers. The fruits were eaten raw and roasted, as coffee substitutes. The tender leaves in spring and the inner bark.

Birch

Betula spp

The inner crust raw or cooked food. The sap as a subsistence drink

Mountain forests

Medicinal tree used as a cleanser in cases of rheumatism, arthritis and with harmful properties for the external treatment of the skin

Bistort

Bistorta officinalis

Boiled tender leaves and buds

In grassy mountain areas.

Blackberry

Rubus ulmifolius

 

The fruits, very rich in vitamin C, to eat alone in salad or combined with other fruits. To make jams. The young spring shoots

In roads, walls, hedges and Mediterranean forests in the  late summer and the  early fall.

Medicinal plant whose leaves, rich in tannins, are used in infusion to soothe diarrhea and to lower blood sugar (More information)

Black locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

The flowers to make fritters. The seeds as if they were legumes

North American species introduced in many parks around the world.

The rest of the plant is poisonous

Black mustard

Brassica nigra

Tender leaves in salad or cooked. Chopped mustard seeds

On roads, highways or uncultivated places during the spring and  the summer.

Older leaves have a more bitter taste. To eat them they should be boiled a couple of times changing the water. The flower buds can be boiled and are edible.

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

Fruits for salads or liquors (Navarrese Sloe Brandy , also called “Pacharán” )

In hedges next to fields or forests during the fall

Borage

Borago officinalis

Tender leaves in salad or cooked.

On roads, highways or uncultivated places during the summer

Medicinal plant. (See information)

Blueberry

Vaccinium myrtillus

The fruits to eat by themselves or to make jams.

In mountain forests during the summer.

Medicinal plant (See information)

Brassica rapa

The leaves as a vegetable

In damp places and fields during spring

Plant from which the cultivated turnip comes, which is used more by its root, than by the leaves. (More information)

Bugloss

Anchusa azurea

Flowers in salads and cooked leaves as a vegetable

In cultivated fields and wastelands during spring and summer.

Broadleaf cattail and  lesser bulrush

Thypha latifolia

Thypha angustifolia

Young shoots that arise from the water in spring, after peeling them, are eaten raw or cooked. When the reeds are very young – about 1 m) they have a spinal cord that can be eaten raw or cooked.

At the edge of rivers and ponds throughout the year.

The spike, before opening, contains inside a bunch of flowers that can be boiled and eaten like corn. When the spike opens and the set of yellow flowers is seen, these can be shaken to collect the pollen that can be used as flour. Adult roots produce small buds that can be eaten like spring sprouts.

Burdock

Arctium minus

Fresh leaves in salad and roots as boiled vegetable

Along the roads and uncultivated mountain lands during the spring and the  summer.

Cabbage

Brassica oleracea

Buds and tender leaves

In coastal areas by the sea

From it comes the cultivated cabbage (See information)

Caper

Capparis spinosa

Buds, fruits and flower buds in vinaigrette to accompany meals.

Plant native to North Africa, Turkey and India. It grows as a plant grown in some warm regions of southern Europe from early spring to late summer.

Medicinal plant, used as a diuretic to increase urination in rheumatic diseases, as an appetite stimulant and for its aphrodisiac properties.

Caraway

Carum carvi

The tender leaves in salads. Seeds to scent bread or pasta

In grassy mountain areas.

Do not confuse with hemlock, a very poisonous plant

Carob tree

Ceratonia siliqua

The fruits, carobs, to eat raw or prepare cakes or chocolate.

Plant grown in the warm Mediterranean regions of calcareous and subspontaneous soils in dry and stony places not far from the sea.

Celery

Apium graveolens

Leaf petioles and tender stems in salads

Next to the streams, water currents, ditches in coastal areas.
There is the cultivated species that does not have such a strong flavor.

Chard

Beta vulgaris

Young leaves in salad. Boiled more mature leaves

Abandoned Fields on top of the stony places in the summer and the autumn

It is the plant from which the beet is derived

Chestnut

Castanea sativa

The fruits (chestnuts) to eat raw or roasted or for flour.

In humid forests during the fall

Other species of chestnut are also edible, such as Korean chestnut or Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata), American chestnut (Castanea dentata) or Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) What is known as horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) should not be eaten because it is very toxic , although it can be found very easily because it appears cultivated in many parks and gardens.

Chicory

Cichorium intybus

Basal leaves and gems when they are very tender cooked or in salad. It has a bitter taste, if preferred, it can be boiled with several waters to remove the bitterness. Roasted dry root as a coffee substitute

Next to roads or highways in  the spring.

The flower should not be ingested with pollen to avoid allergic reactions.

Medicinal plant. (See information)

Chickweed, chickenword

Stellaria media

The tender leaves in salad, cooked as vegetables and in tortillas. .

 In fields, roads, banks and gardens throughout the year

It is the main survival plant because it can be found  throughout the year.

Chive

Allium schoenoprasum

The leaves at the beginning in salads or soups

In wet grasslands in the spring or  the summer

Chufa sedge, nut grass

Cyperus esculentus

Tubers for eating raw or cooked. They can be crushed to make flour that will be mixed with wheat in bread making. The drink called horchata is produced from its tubers.

Plant native to Egypt and cultivated in many parts of the world.

Clover

Tiifolium  sp.

 

Tender leaves in salad or cooked. Dried flowers and seeds to flavor the bread.

 

 

In meadows and grassy places in spring and summer. Sometimes grown as fodder

 

Clovers are edible, provided they are consumed in moderation. In large quantities they cause belly swelling. Some ancient peoples, such as Native Americans, even watered the wild fields to produce more.

Coltsfoot

Tussilago farfara

 

 

Tender leaves or flowers to flavor salads or cooked as a vegetable

 

On roads, paths or wet sandy places during the spring and  the early summer

Medicinal plant used to treat cough and to purify the body. (See information )

Comfrey

Symphytum officinale

The tender parts in salad, the boiled or fried leaves

In wet mountain grasslands during the spring

Common broom, Scotch broom

Cytisus scoparius

Floral buds before opening for raw or vinaigrette salads

On forest edges and slopes during spring and summer.

It is a plant rich in alkaloids so it can produce side effects. (See information )

It can be confused with the Spanish broom or weaver’s broom (Spartium junceum) that is toxic.

Common evening primrose

Oenothera biennis

The roots were boiled or caramelized. The first winter roots, cooked before bloom, are eatable. They have a very strong flavor so that they should be boiled a couple of times. The flowers can be used to perfume salads.

Native from North America, it was introduce in Europe in the XVII century. Now it can be found as a naturalized plant by the side of the roads, lanes

Medicinal plant (See information)
Common hawthorn

Crataegus monogyne

The leaves for cooking. In spring and autumn forests, hawthorn also has edible berries, which are generally used to make jams, such as the Texas hawthorn (Crataegus aestivalis) whose fruits, unlike most hawthorn, do not ripen in the fall but rather late spring Indians use dried thorns to flavor dried meat.

Common mallow

Malva sylvestris

The floral buds pickled with vinegar, the tender fruits in salads, the tender leaves cooked in the soup

 Next to the roads, fields and areas of waste during the summer.

Common marigold

Calendula officinalis

Raw petals in salads

It appears as a gardening plant in many places, sometimes also feral.
Medicinal plant (See information)

Common nipplewort

Lapsana communis

Tender leaves in salad or cooked

Along roads or highways during spring and summer.

Common pear

Pyrus communis

Fruits to eat in jams

In forests during the fall

From this tree  the cultivated species come, which have managed to produce softer and sweeter fruits

Common  sowthilstle, milk thistle

Sonchus oleraceus

The tender leaves in small quantities to flavor salads.

In fields and roads in summer.

As it grows, it  becomes more bitter, so you have to choose the very young samples or boil them a couple of times, throwing the water. Sometimes there is a need to boil even the young leaves

Common thistle, Spear thistle

Cirsium vulgare

Tender shoots peeled in salads or boiled
On roads, highways or uncultivated places

In the  spring and the summer.

Coriander

Coriander sativum

The fruits to flavor foods and fresh leaves.

In hedges, ridges and edges of non-dry forests

Medicinal plant. (See information)

Corn marigold

Chrysanthemum  segetum

Its tender leaves are collected in early spring and consumed raw in salads. They are also cooked  just like spinach.

Annual plant that abounds in dryland fields, such as harvests and wheat fields, throughout Europe and especially the Mediterranean region.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum  spp

Raw petals in salads

Plants grown in many gardens that bloom during the spring and the summer.

Curly dock, yellow dock

Rumex crispuns

Young leaves for salads and the oldest for cooking. Ground seeds to produce flour that is next to wheat to make bread. Boiled roots.

Plant that grows in the wastelands, next to buildings and on roads

From A to C

From D to O

From P to Z

punto rojo More information on wild flowers and wild edible plants

 

Montserrat Enrich
Written by Montserrat Enrich Journalist specializing in edible wild plants and plant uses.

7 October, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.
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