What are Wild Plants?
Wild plants are those which have not been cultivated or domesticated. They include all living things other than manmade structures such as buildings, roads, railways and even aircraft. They may be found in any environment from sea level up to the summit of Mount Everest.
There are two kinds of wild plants:
Those that grow naturally, such as trees, shrubs and vines; and Those that have been grown artificially, including many types of fruits and nuts. (Source)
What Are Wild Edible Plants?
Edible wild plants include all plants native to the United States except those listed here. These plants are often referred to as “wild” because they do not belong to any known botanical family. Most of these plants are considered poisonous, but some may be eaten if properly prepared.
The following list includes the most common edible wild plants in Ohio:
Aloe Vera Aloe vera is a plant native to South America. It grows best in warm climates and is commonly used as a medicinal herb for its anti-inflammatory properties. Amaranth Amaranth is a plant native to Peru and thrives in hot, dry climates. It is commonly used as an ornamental plant, but its seeds can also be eaten. Balsam Apple Balsam apple is a plant native to eastern North America and can be found along the edges of forests.
Its fruit can be made into jelly or syrup.
Bitterroot The bitterroot is a plant native to western North America and can be found in mountainous regions. Its roots can be eaten if properly prepared. Chocolate Vine The chocolate vine is a plant native to South America and thrives in the tropical rainforests of Brazil. It grows on trees and can reach lengths of over 30 feet. Its fruit is sweet and syrupy.
Common Cattail Common cattail is a plant native to North America and is commonly found in wetland areas. Its brown, tubular flowers can be eaten and its stems can be boiled to make soup. Common Plantain Common plantain is a species of wild plant found all over the world. The leaves can be eaten boiled or raw and have a flavor similar to spinach. Cowslip Cowslip is a small yellow flower found in open fields across Europe, North Africa and central Asia.
It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Daylily Daylily is native to Eastern North America and thrives in fields and open forests. Its tuber can be eaten if baked or roasted. Elderberry The common elderberry is a plant native to Europe and grows in open forests or beside streams. Its red berries can be dried and made into wine or jelly. Flame Violet The flame violet is a plant found in open forests across North America.
Its purple flowers can be eaten raw or cooked, but should only be eaten in moderation.
Grub Grubs are the larvae of various species of beetles, which are sometimes eaten by people living in poor, rural communities. Lamb’s-quarter Lamb’s-quarter is a plant native to North America and grows in open fields. Its leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked like a pot herb. Morel Mushroom The morel mushroom is a fungus found across the world, but it thrives in open forests with oaks and hickory trees. It has a distinctive honeycomb shape and is often eaten fried in butter.
Nettles Nettles are common plants found all over the world. The leaves can be eaten cooked or raw. Oak Tree Oak trees are incredibly common across the world and can live for thousands of years. Acorns from mature oak trees can be ground into flour and baked into bread. Pigweed Pigweed is an edible green plant commonly found in farm fields.
Its thick, rugged leaves can be eaten boiled or raw.
Prickly Pear Cactus Prickly pear cacti are native to North and South America. They are a common sight in deserts and other arid, hot areas thanks to their ability to store water in their thick stems. Their purple fruit is edible. Silver Lime Tree The silver lime tree is a species of tree found in India and some neighboring countries. Its bark and fruit have medicinal properties.
Violet The common violet is a small purple flower found all over the world. It can be eaten raw or cooked as a sweet, or used to make tea.
Water Chestnut Water chestnuts are the tuber of a species of marsh plant found in Asia and North America. They can be eaten raw, boiled or baked and have a crispy, sweet taste. Water Scorpion Water scorpions are large aquatic insects with a painful sting, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. They can be eaten fried or dried and prepared with a variety of spices, although this is not recommended. Wolfberry Wolfberries are fruit native to Northern Asia.
They are the smallest fruit in the world and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Yucca Yucca is a species of plant found in dry, open fields across North and South America. Its root has medical and healing properties.
Cheese A strong-smelling dairy product made by curdling milk and draining off the whey. It comes in many varieties and is especially high in fat. Cheese makes a great snack anytime and is a quick energy boost.
Bread Bread is made by baking a dough of flour, water and often yeast or other leavening agents. It is a staple foodstuff all over the world and helps to increase your energy levels. Charcoal Charcoal is made from burning wood and can be used to make pigments or medicine. It’s extremely useful for certain types of crafting. Chocolate Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree and mixed with other ingredients to form a delicious, sweet paste.
Cloves A common cooking spice originally from Indonesia, cloves are made from the flower of a tree and have a powerful, unique taste. Honey Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. It’s a popular sweetener and food ingredient. Incense Incense is a mixture of fragrant spices and herbs that are burned to produce a smell. Different types are used for religious ceremonies, for soothing the mind or even for plain old decoration.
Lard Lard is the rendered fat of a pig. It’s solid if chilled but softens at room temperature. In modern times it’s chiefly used in cookery and as a coating for foods such as deep-fried potatoes. Oil Oil is a term used for several distinct fluids. In general, however, oils are liquid organic chemicals that are hydrophobic (they hate water) and soluble in themselves but not in water.
Sausage Sausages are a staple meat product found in almost every culture in some shape or form. The basic recipe is simple: Cut meat, add salt and flavorings of choice, fill into intestine or bladder, hang to drain, then cook.
Weapons and other equipment needed for your journey can be purchased from one of the many supply stores found in towns.
Bronze Dagger (5 coins)
This dagger is made of bronze and is very durable. It is also easy to conceal.
Copper Sword (30 coins)
This sword is made of copper and isn’t quite as durable as a steel sword. It can still kill easily enough, however.
Knives (3 coins)
These knives are the perfect size for throwing or stabbing. They could also be used as regular knives, though their short blades make them somewhat ineffective.
Short Sword (15 coins)
This sword has a short blade that is good for thrusting and stabbing, but fairly weak for swinging.
Spear (10 coins)
This weapon is good for thrusting and stabbing, but not very effective for slashing.
Boomerang (20 coins)
This is a returning boomerang which means it has been specially designed to return to the owner. Whether or not it will actually do this is, however, fairly hit and miss.
Shield (15 coins)
This small shield can protect you from attacks to your forearm and is handy for blocking smaller projectiles such as arrows or bullets. It may also be used to bash into an opponent.
Armor (20 coins)
This suit of armor consists of a Hauberk (chain mail shirt) and Vambraces (arm protectors). It isn’t particularly good at protecting from anything, but it can make the difference between life and death if properly worn.
Bag (1 coin)
A simple bag for storing belongings. It’s not particularly durable, but it will do for short periods of time. Anything inside the bag gets soaked when it rains though…
Bedroll (2 coins)
This special kind of blanket is made of very tough material. It’s fairly comfortable to sleep on and rolls up small enough to fit in your backpack.
Lantern (1 coin)
A lantern with a Baghera oil lamp which produces a bright light for 12 hours before it run out. It can be bought again to refill. It has a vent at the bottom to prevent heat buildup inside the lantern. It can also be hung from a nail or something similar while in use.
Tinder Box (1 coin)
This small box contains flint, steel, and tinder that can be used to start a fire. It’s very windproof but tends to get a bit messy when it rains.
Soap (1 coin)
This bar of soap was made from animal fat and wood ash. It helps remove dirt and smell from the body, though it’s a bit harsh and can dry out your skin if you use it too much.
Adventuring gear (1 coin)
This bag includes a small flint and steel, a tinderbox, a waterskin, 12 pitons, and 50 feet of rope.
Crowbar (3 coins)
This tool is designed to pry things open and crack nuts. It’s fairly handy in a variety of situations.
Healing Poultice (1 coin)
This isn’t really a poultice at all, rather it’s a special salve. When applied to an open wound or swallowed, it helps your body heal 1 HP in 2 minutes. When used properly, it can be very useful.
Rope (1 coin)
This is a special plant fiber rope. It’s more durable than normal rope and doesn’t bake away in sunlight, but it’sheavier. It can hold up to 900 pounds and is 50 feet long.
Sleeping Bag (1 coin)
This small bag is a blanket and pillow all in one. It’s made of a very thin, but tough material and is very light to carry. It can be rolled up and stuffed into its own pocket.
Waterskin (1 coin)
A very popular item among travelers, this waterskin can hold up to 4 quarts of water. It’s light, but not airtight so don’t throw it around too much.
Backpack (2 coins)
This is a very handy tool for carrying around your tools and supplies. It has straps for putting it on your back and a place for your arms to stick through so you can carry things in your hands as well.
Bedroll (1 coin)
This is a sleeping bag of very tough material. It can be rolled up and stuck into its own pocket. Makes a very comfy place to sleep.
Caltrops (1 coin)
Small spiked darts about the size of a quarter. They can be scattered on the ground to hurt people that walk over them.
Crowbar (1 coin)
This is a small but surprisingly strong bar of iron. It’s useful for prying things open.
Flint & Steel (1 coin)
This is a bit of iron that has a flint rock stuck to one end and a piece of leather attached to the other end.
Sources & references used in this article:
Potential role for wild vegetables in household food security: a preliminary case study in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa by M Modi, A Modi, S Hendriks – African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition …, 2006 – ajol.info
Wild food plant use in 21 st century Europe, the disapperance of old traditions and the search for new ciusines involving wild edibles by L Luczaj, A Pieroni, J Tardío… – Acta societatis …, 2012 – agro.icm.edu.pl
Nutritional quality of some wild leafy vegetables in South Africa by AJ Afolayan, FO Jimoh – International journal of food sciences and …, 2009 – Taylor & Francis
Wild edible fungi: a global overview of their use and importance to people by ER Boa – 2004 – books.google.com