Edible Wild Plants in Florida

Edible Wild Plants in FloridaEdible wild plants in Florida are nearly everywhere you look, from several varieties of wild plums to the state tree, the cabbage palm. Fruits, trees and flowers all grow in Florida in edible varieties. You can easily fill your plate with a cornucopia of edible wild plants that give a new level of relevance to the phrase "locally grown."

Edible Wild Berries

Wild Plums: Wild plums grow in the forests of Florida and produce small, sweet fruits. Blooming in early summer, their bright white flowers are a dead giveaway. The dark purple plums are delicious when eaten fresh or stewed.
Horsewood: This plant produces wild, dark red, grape-like fruit. Late summer is the best time to harvest these juicy fruits.
Wild Cherries: One of the most prolific blossoming fruit trees, wild cherry trees in Florida produce plump, bright red fruit each summer. Eat them fresh or cook them in pies.


Edible Wild Greens


Dandelion (pictured above): The leaves of dandelions are used in salads, steeped in tea or steamed/cooked as a vegetable. Slightly bitter, it is best to pair them with another food.
Yucca: Although Yucca can be bitter, even in a ripe fruit, it is edible. Its flowers are also eaten as salad or fried as fritters.
Purslane (pictured at the top): Considered by gardeners to be a weed, purslane is a succulent ground plant that is quite delicious. Pick it fresh and eat it as a salad or steam it as a side dish. It has a flavor similar to fresh green beans.


Other Miscellaneous Edible Plants

Wild Garlic: Growing throughout the state, wild garlic has a sharp, wild flavor. It is best to boil, roast or cook the bulbs of wild garlic before eating them. Their flowers are also edible and impart a potent flavor and aroma.

Cattail (pictured above): Cattails grow throughout Florida's vast wetlands. Their roots are edible and high in vitamins. Boil or roast them to use in soups and stews, or ground them into a simple flour.
Cabbage Palm: The cabbage palm is Florida's state tree. It's leaves can be eaten fresh as a salad, or steamed or stewed as a vegetable dish.

Article Written By Jake Kulju

Jake Kulju is a Minneapolis-based freelance outdoors writer with 10 years' experience. He is an outdoors guidebook author for Avalon Travel and his work is regularly published in "Outdoor Traditions Magazine" and "Naturescape News." His nature-based poetry is published in "Poetry Canada" and "Farmhouse Magazine." Kulju holds an English degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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