Wild Edible Trees in the Southern States

Wild Edible Trees in the Southern StatesThe southern regions of the United States hold a wealth of wild edible trees. The warm climate makes it a perfect habitat for these trees to grow and be sources of food. There is something ready to be eaten all year long. The weary backpacker or hiker won't go hungry trekking through the South. Wild southern trees offer nuts, berries and other fruits, and more. As with any wild edible, make sure you know what you are eating before you eat it. Many plants are toxic.

Black Walnut

Black walnut trees are found throughout the South. They are very large trees, growing to 50 feet tall, and have leaves that are divided. The thick outer shell of the walnut needs to be removed to get to the edible nut, which is usually ripe in the fall. Then nuts are very high in protein and oil.

Pine Trees

Pine trees are recognizable by their odor, gooey sap and needle-like leaves. All species of pine have edible seeds, which can be eaten raw or cooked. The young male pine cones can be harvested in spring and can either be boiled or baked. Peeling off the outer bark of your saplings will reveal a juicy and sweet inner bark, which you can chew.

Oak Trees

Oaks are classified into two main groups: red and white. They are large trees with alternate leaves and acorns as their fruit. All parts of the oak are edible, though they are often bitter because of the tannic acid. White oak acorns usually taste better than red. Soak the acorns for several days to remove the bitterness or boil them for 20 minutes. Pour off the water and eat them raw, grind them into flour or roast them.

Sea Grape (pictured at the top)

Sea Grape is a tree that can grow up to 40 feet tall and has spreading branches and thick heart-shaped leaves. It is found in the tropical or warmer regions of the country, usually by coastal areas. The green grapes grow in clusters and can be eaten raw or made into a jam.

Red Mulberry

Red Mulberry trees are dense and busy, reaching a height of 50 feet. The tree is deciduous and the leaves are ovate with tips that are pointy. The purple to red fruits appear spring through autumn and can be eaten raw or cooked. You can also store the berries and eat them days later.


Hackberry trees can reach a height of 30 feet. The bark is gray and ridden with warts and ridges. The tree will bear small, round berries that fall to the ground as they ripen. The berries that fall to the ground are edible.

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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