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Thread: Easy way to identify edible plants

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    Senior Member mbarnatl's Avatar
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    Question Easy way to identify edible plants

    I am trying to learn how to identify edible plants. I was wondering what is an easy way of learning this? I have the Peterson Field Guide of Eastern/Central North America Edible Wild Plants. Is it easier to learn one or two at first, then several at one time?
    "The ability for a person to prevail in a survival situation is based on three factors: survival knowledge, equipment, and will to survive. All are important, but the most important is the will to survive." -Greg Davenport


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    Bush Master MCBushbaby's Avatar
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    I made a post a while back about making an edible wild plants field manual (someone can link to this if they want, I'm too lazy now). I find that unless you're going to go gung-ho into it, the easiest way to memorize edible plants is to take three or four at a time, get to know them by heart, and then add another couple. But be sure to find if any plants have similarly-looking cousins (i.e. wild carrot vs water hemlock) and know the differences.
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    Junior Member Survivor30's Avatar
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    I think this is what mitch.chesney is referring to

    here is the link to his post:http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...le+wild+plants
    "To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself."

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    Bush Master MCBushbaby's Avatar
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    nah I found it. Though my .pdf has since been removed after my fileden account expired


    http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...=edible+plants

    pdf relocated here
    Last edited by MCBushbaby; 01-06-2008 at 03:44 AM.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    mbarnatl - Mitch has a good plan there. Here's what I do. Find one or two plants you want to learn. Go out in the spring and see if you can locate a couple of good examples or at least what you think are good examples and mark them so you can go back to them. If you want to do three or four, that's fine. Just remember, you are trying to memorize leaves, stems, bark, color, etc.

    Revisit your plants every couple of weeks so you can see the changes that take place in the plant over time and do this until after a killing frost. You might even take pictures if you think it would help. That will allow you to see the plant through all the seasons.

    Pay attention to plants smells. Beebalm is an excellent example. Once you've smelled beebalm, even from a few feet away, it's almost mistake proof on smell alone. Also pay attention to animals and insects that visit the plant. That can be another safeguard to help you identify wild examples.

    Above all, learn what parts of the plant you can use and how it should be used. Some plants will allow you to use their leaves and punish you for using their roots, for example. Others can only be used after you cook them through a few changes of water. The guide you have does an excellent job of that so pay close attention.
    Last edited by Rick; 01-06-2008 at 10:53 AM.

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    I don't believe there is any "easy" way to learn what you ask

    But if you take your plant guides and every time your in the field, try to identify a couple, along with edibility and medicinal, you will start to get a good handle on it

    There are a couple plants I teach in my survival classes, because they cover the North American Continent and are easily identified

    Beyond that, it just takes time and perseverance
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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    Default i agree

    a'int no easy way to learn.
    you may look at an ox-eye daisy and say i know that one and you would but it tastes the best in the first year when there is no flower to tell you what it is you need to learn what the rosette looks like that is when it tastes better and more nutritious, i was taught that it takes tree to four years to truelly know a plant

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    Its like everything you want to master - only with time and experience will you get there.
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    Senior Member mbarnatl's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your input. I like what you did Mitch, neat idea. I also found out that several parks in my area offer guided hikes once a month. I will be taking these and asking the guides lots of questions. I talked to one of the Rangers that does the guided tour and said that she would be glad to assist in identifying the local edible and medical plants. So that is where I am going to start. What is nice is that they offer these hikes all year around and will be able to see the same plants through the seasons.
    "The ability for a person to prevail in a survival situation is based on three factors: survival knowledge, equipment, and will to survive. All are important, but the most important is the will to survive." -Greg Davenport

  10. #10

    Thumbs up Here are 2 very useful plant guides. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mbarnatl View Post
    I am trying to learn how to identify edible plants. I was wondering what is an easy way of learning this? I have the Peterson Field Guide of Eastern/Central North America Edible Wild Plants. Is it easier to learn one or two at first, then several at one time?
    Here are two "pocket guides" that I give to all of my students to carry into the field. They are laminated and cost $5.95 each. They are available at Barnes & Noble and Border's Bookstores.

    Each plant has a description of their uses, edibility and areas of common growth, as well as, cautions about which part of the plant not to use.

    The medicinal guide is broken down into sections of ailment, e.g; [coughs, colds, flus] [wounds, sores & rashes, etc.] Very Informative!
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    Everything I have posted is pure fantasy. I have not done any of the things that I have claimed to have done in my posts. I actually live in Detroit.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Oh, yea! What ND said. I have both of those and they are GREAT!!!

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    Default Who makes those books?

    Can someone post the ISBN or the publisher/names of those two pocket references?

    Thanks.

    sapper

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Medicinal Plants. An Introduction to Familiar Widespread Species by the Pocket Naturalist. Printed by Waterford Press. ISBN 158355190-5

    Edible Wild Plants. An Introduction to Familiar North American Species by the Pocket Naturalist. Printed by Waterford Press. ISBN 158355127-1

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    Gracias. That helps immensely.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    You're welcome but my name isn't Gracias.

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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    No it's more like grassy a**!

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Ooops. Too many letters. Gassy a**

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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    well,I was tryin to be nice...

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