The Pacific Northwest is full of edible wild plants that are not only fairly easy to find, but also quite tasty. From the rain forests of western Washington to the arid plains of eastern Washington and Oregon, backpackers can sample edible plants as a treat or to help sustain themselves in an emergency.
Wild Cascade Huckleberries
Huckleberries grow wild in the Pacific Northwest. Evidence indicates that huckleberries have been harvested since the first native inhabitants arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Their sweet taste has led to them being commercially harvested as well.
Huckleberries are similar in appearance and taste to blueberries. Leaves of the huckleberry plant are a dull green and have a red stem that the fruit develops on. They are found in alpine meadows and near lakes and streams. Cascade Huckleberries mature in summer. They also are a favorite food of bears and raccoons.
Salmon berries are a lot like raspberries, but are a lighter color when ripe. They mature in late summer (Labor Day weekend is a great time to find them), and they grow in large patches near streams and lakes.
These berries often are found alongside wild blackberries and are sought after for use in jams and pies. Their flavor is more subtle than that of a blackberry or raspberry. The leaves of the salmon berry plant have a shiny finish, and the stems are protected by needles.
This purple flowering plant is easy to find when it is ripe. The flowers are edible and taste a bit like an onion. The plant also produces an edible bulb below ground. There are few leaves visible above ground. The flowers generally bloom at the top of a long stalk.
Hooker's Onion is generally found in dry areas. It was used by some native tribes as a food source, but is now more recognized for its beauty as a wild flower.
Article Written By Mati Bishop
Mati Bishop has been a freelance writer since 1999. He has been published in "Hawaii Skin Diver Magazine," the "Hawaii Wellness Directory," "Kailua-Kaneohe Sunpress" and a collection of Web sites. Bishop studied journalism at Windward Community College on Oahu, Hawaii.