If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to live off the land while you find your way to civilization in west Texas, edible wild plants will help you survive. These plants include the Mesquite tree, wild plums, prickly pear cactus and claret cup.
The honey mesquite tree's pods and leaves are edible. The seedpods can be eaten raw or cooked. Treat the leaves like spinach. The tree likes open spaces with sandy soil, and has thin, spindly branches with bright green, thin leaves and equally green pods hanging from the top. If you end up needing firewood in west Texas, the Mesquite tree is an excellent source.
Wild Plum Trees
Despite the arid desert environment of a portion of west Texas, wild plums can--and do--grow here. The main wild and native plum to west Texas is Harvard's plum. The fruit can be harvested and eaten.
Found in the desert of west Texas, the prickly pear cactus offers several life-saving and edible possibilities to the wild plant enthusiast or lost individual. This cactus grows eye-shaped "leaves" made of a durable, thick green skin complete with thorns. Avoid prickly pear cactuses with orange thorns, as they are poisonous. Also, avoid unripe fruit. All other prickly pears provide two forms of food---the leaves and fruit. Cut the fruit open, remove the seeds, eat the pulp and throw away the shell. It makes great jelly. Eat the leaves raw or cooked. Remember to remove the thorns first. Cut open a leaf and place the leaf inside down on the sunburn.
The claret cup is another form of Cactus. It is barrel-shaped and possesses sharp spines that hinder gathering. The small cactus produces edible pink or red flowers. It grows on rocky, gravel-like soil. The plants cluster together, allowing them to survive in higher elevations. Be prepared with thick gloves and a sharp knife.