Nearly half a globe away, the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan is a chain of islands that stretches more than 600 miles through the Pacific Ocean. With some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Japan and a culture unique to the prefecture, Okinawa is an adventurer's destination. Before you pop your tent along this gorgeous coastline, take some time to learn a little about the edible indigenous plants of Okinawa.
The guava tree is easily recognizable with its smooth, thin copper-colored bark that flakes off to reveal a greenish trunk underneath. It's a relatively short tree with far-reaching branches, which gives it a wide diameter. The fruit of this tree is to be savored, but you might also use the wood or leaves to smoke or season meat. Because Okinawa has such a tropical climate, these trees can be found throughout the region.
The Taiwan tangerine, also known as the hirami lemon, is a small, bitter yellow fruit similar in appearance and use to the lemon. The juice of the Taiwan tangerine can be used as a drink when sweetened or as a garnish. The fruit is also edible, but the bitterness may not be pleasant to all.
The looking-glass mangrove, or the heritiera littoralis, is a tall tree with white-gray bark and rounded, oval-shaped leaves that are green on top and silvery white on bottom. The tree is found on the farthest edge of a mangrove forest surrounding freshwater rivers of the wet tropics. The fruit of this tree can be greenish-brown or brown and have a prominent ridge on one side, likely used to aid seed distribution. To safely consume the nuts, peel them, soak them in water, then rinse them.