Edible Wild Greens

Edible Wild Greens WatercressEdible wild greens are often harvested in the spring, when the flora of the forest and the fields comes back to life after the dormant winter season. Fresh greens in the wild are an abundant treat as the growing season starts anew, but choices for fresh greens diminish as the summer advances. There are a few good choices for the avid hiker or camper who can correctly identify wild plants.


The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common weed that can be eaten raw when it first breaks the surface of the ground, or older leaves can be boiled in water and enjoyed as a cooked vegetable. Because the dandelion is so common and easy to identify, this is a good place to begin with the consumption of wild greens. The flowers are good fried, or you can even make dandelion wine.



Cattails (Typha latifolia) has been nicknamed the "supermarket of the great outdoors," because so many parts of the plant are edible. The young, round stems that rise from the base of the plant are edible after the outside layer has been peeled off. The inside shoot can be boiled and eaten. The plant is easily identified by the sausage-shaped spikes that form on the tips of a long, narrow stem and by the fact that it grows at the edge of most marshes.

Grass Shoots

Wild grasses are an overlooked food source that is abundant, easy to identify and nutritious. Some mature grasses are bitter, but the fresh shoots are often edible raw. If it is late in the year, the seeds can be consumed as well for extra protein. Grasses should be eaten in the early stage of growth (shoots), and they can be boiled first if the taste is slightly bitter.

Green Tea

Make a healthy green tea by boiling the green needles of any North American pine tree. This tea is full of vitamin C and makes a tasty addition to your selection of wild greens.

Watercress (pictured above)

Watercress (Nasturcium officinale) is a good choice for a green supplement to a camper's or hiker's diet, as long as you make sure the plant is taken from clean and unpolluted water. This is imperative. Watercress is edible and succulent all summer long. You can find watercress growing on top of small springs and brooks. It is a leafy plant that forms a mat on slow-moving water. If there is any doubt about the condition of the water, pass it up or boil the plant in water several times.

Article Written By Henri Bauholz

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

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