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Knowing what wild plants are edible when exploring the outdoors can turn out to be a lifesaver in certain situations.
Asparagus – This plant is quite a bit longer and skinnier than the grocery store variety, but it can be found in many different places, including North America, Europe and North Africa.
Cattail – This distinctive plant is usually found near standing water, with its long stalks sticking up far above the waterline. Clovers – Clovers grow abundantly in open areas and are edible – although they tend to taste better boiled than they do raw. Conifer – In the spring conifers will begin generating new growth in the form of shoots, soft and lightly colored extensions at the tip of each branch. Berries – There are a number of berries that can be found on different bushes outdoors, including blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and huckleberries. The best way to be prepared for an outdoor adventure is to practice finding edible plants beforehand – when one is not starving and desperate.
From Tim Low's book: Breeding experiments show that prickly lettuce is the ancestor of all forms of cultivated lettuce. The problem is that the best time to utilise Cow Parsley is over winter and early spring (by summer it becomes tough and bitter tasting) but the stems haven’t developed so identiication is a little bit harder. Miles Irving’s The Forager Handbook has some very useful tables for identifying several Apiaceae species and is highly recommended.
The stems on Hemlock leaves are round and hollow they tend to be green and smooth and hairless.


The stems on Cow Parsley have a groove on the upper surface (like celery stems) are generally solid all the way through, often take on a purplish tinge and have fine downy hairs.
Woodland Ways Blog - Bushcraft and Survival is proudly powered by WordPressEntries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). There are numerous edible wild plants that can be consumed safely – the problem is knowing which plants are actually safe.
Native Americans used cattail for food quite often, eating the roots, the softer white part of the stem and even the bushy flower at the top – which can be eaten when it is still soft in the early summer. Berries are a great source of food and can be easily identified once one knows what to look for.
We strive to develop innovatively simple, yet durable equipment that won’t break your back or your piggy bank and are targeted towards solving specific needs or problems that one may encounter whether in combat or on a camping trip. I had my muddy boots and ruck under the vestibule and my rifle in the tent along with a pistol near my head (I was in bear and mountain lion territory after all) and I wasn’t cramped at all.
I snapped this photo (below) with my mobile phone while sitting at the traffic lights, waiting for them to change. Also Cow Parsley tends to be shorter and flower a few weeks earlier although niether of these features on their own should be used to identify it.
Here we are focusing on simply distinguishing between Cow Parsley and Hemlock at this time of year.
The leaves are a slightly bluer-green colour, rougher and with a more mat appearance.  The smell of Cow Parsley when crushed is sweet and parsley like with a slight aniseed scent to it.


It also goes well with potatoes; chopped and mixed into mash or with new potates, olive oil and lemon juice. It is best to become familiar with the grapes in the area one will be exploring to avoid eating something unpleasant or dangerous. One should be careful when harvesting blackberries or raspberries, however, as the plants are quite thorny. There can be a lot of variations in the shape of the leaves of wild lettuces, but they will all have flat leaves, not heads like an iceberg lettuce. When crushed the plant has an unpleasant, fetid smell described as smelling of mouse urine (these days most people don’t know what mouse urine smells like).
Some people say that hawthorn stems were used to make the crown of thorns given to Jesus before his crucifixion. Unlike most of the edible weeds on this website, Hawthorn grows into a full sized tree, up to 10 metres tall. Breakdown, still in the rain, was just as fast and I was able to stow the interior dry in the stuff sack and separate the wet fly.



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