Edible Wild Plants in Okinawa

Edible Wild Plants in Okinawa
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.


Taiwan Tangerine

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.

Looking-glass Mangrove

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.


Article Written By Anne Marie LeFevre

Anne Marie LeFevre has been a freelance writer since 2009 and works full-time as a copy editor in New York. She has been published in "Vox" magazine and the "Missourian" in Columbia, Mo. LeFevre holds a Bachelor of Magazine Journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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