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Wild Native Edible Florida Plants & Weeds

This board has information on foraging for wild, native plants and weeds that can be found in Florida and the South. These can also be planted and cultivated in the garden or yard for presumably easy care food plants - why fight nature when we can work with it?
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Poke (Ink Weed) Berries in the treatment of Cancer; Rheumatism, Arthritis and Bone Spurs - The truth is that Poke, when properly used, is both safe and effective. It can also be a serious poison when ingested improperly, but is far less poisonous than some other plants and many pharmaceutical drugs.

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from The Survival Mom

Storing and Using Amaranth: A Tutorial - Survival Mom

High in protein, amaranth is a versatile grain that has a long shelf life. grain can be popped like popcorn (for instructions click here or here), or made into a hearty porridge by cooking it similar to oatmeal. Popped amaranth can be used as an add-in to homemade granola or as a crunchy topping for salads. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten like spinach or kale.

Storing and Using Amaranth: A Tutorial - Survival Mom

Usnea (Old Man's Beard): Food and Pharmacy Lichen - Usnea “Has unmistakable white core when main stem is pulled apart… I like it right off the tree in amounts about one/third to one half the size of a cotton ball... Larger amounts should be leached of the acid [by soaking in several changes of water] or it will irritate your lower digestive track… For external wounds is can be a lifesaver to prevent infections and gangrene. Internally it is a pain reliever, broad spectrum antibiotic…”

Usnea: Food and Pharmacy Lichen

Hydrocotyle bonariensis, and its cousin, Centella erecta, a.k.a. Pennywort or Dollarwort and gotu kola. These weeds have a chemical, like celery, that helps the aorta and blood vessels relax. They do that by increasing the amount of nitrous oxide available and that can lower blood pressure. In India, Centella has been used for that purpose for some 3,000 years. Eat raw or cooked like any green.

Pennyworts Making Sense

Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium carolinianum) - The plant is high in tannins, which is why it is bitter and used for diarrhea. You can eat it raw or cooked.

Stork’s Bill, Cranesbill

Spanish Needles, Pitchfork Weed, Bidens Alba - Young leaves (a few at a time; high saponin content) and flowers for salad. Shoots, tips and young leaves are good potherbs. It’s dried leaves are also a favored in Hawaii for tea. Related Biden pilosa lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, stimulates the immune system and is anti-inflammatory.

Spanish Needles, Pitchfork Weed

Edible Elderberry, or Poisonous Water Hemlock? How to Tell. Image: Elderberry blooms are irregular flattops. Photo by Green Deane

Look Alikes

from And Here We Are

Harvesting Pine Pollen- How & Why

Harvesting Pine Pollen, How and Why

Harvesting Pine Pollen- How & Why - And Here We Are


Foraging DOs and DON'Ts -

Foraging DOs and DON'Ts

Foraging DOs and DON’Ts

Black Nightshade « Forager's Harvest - "I began eating wild black nightshade berries at the age of twelve and have avidly sought them since. I have eaten the berries on many hundreds of occasions—sometimes more than a cup at a time. I eat them because I find them delicious."

Black Nightshade

Solanum americanum, American black nightshade - Toxicity varies widely depending on the genetic strain and the location conditions, like soil and rainfall. Poisonous plant experts advise: "...unless you are certain that the berries are from an edible strain, leave them alone.

Solanum americanum

Solanum americanum, American Nightshade leaves and flowers

Tortoise Preserve

American Black Nightshade, Solanum americanum - it is frequently encountered on lists of poisonous plants. However, and rather paradoxically, it is just as frequently encountered on lists of edible plants! Strong evidence of its edibility has come from feeding experiments with cattle that ultimately were unable to demonstrate any toxicity (Rogers & Ogg 1981). Additionally, there are numerous instances of the leaves and ripe berries being used as food both by aboriginal and modern cultures...

American Black Nightshade

American Nightshade - Green Solanum americanum berries are toxic. Totally ripe berries are edible. Young leaves and shoots of some Solanum types are used as a green, boiled twice or more like pokeweed iin some places. But, to cover myself legally because there are a lot of fools with lawyers, I am not suggesting you eat any part of any wild nightshade.

American Nightshade: A Much Maligned Edible

Step by step nopalito fritata - This is how they use the young prickly pear cactus paddles in a traditional Mexican egg dish.

Nopalitos Frittata

Florida Wildflowers (western Florida Panhandle) - not all edible, but great for identifying plants. Shown: Cut-leaf Prairie Dock flowers

Florida Wildflowers (Florida Panhandle)

ISB: Atlas of Florida Plants - - not all edible, but great for identifying plants.

ISB: Atlas of Florida Plants

Eating Sprouted Acorns - collect in Spring instead of Fall. Sprouting increases the simple sugars, reduces tannins, and makes acorns more digestible. Also, cold process acorns for flour, so the fats aren’t lost to heating.

Eating Sprouted Acorns

from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

How to Make Acorn Flour

Best Way to Make Acorn Flour. You can store acorns ~ a year before making flour; freeze for easy-to-remove skins; shell into water to prevent oxidation; cold process w/ water in blender or food processor to preserve starch; store in fridge, strain thru cheesecloth & replace water daily for 3-10 days til flour tastes bland, not bitter; pour into bowl w/ a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth; pour off water, scrape good starch and fat from bowl back on flour; spread & dry at low temp ~ 95…

The Best Way to Make Acorn Flour

Wood Sorrel - Wood sorrel tubers have less oxalic acid than other parts of the plants so they aren't as tangy. Their flavor is somewhat like a carrot and so that's how I use them: raw, steamed, or tossed into stews. Excessive amounts of oxalic acid can lead to kidney stones in some people. Be sure to drink plenty of water when eating wood sorrel. Also avoid dairy products...

Wood Sorrel

St. John's wort.... let it grow if you find it as a "weed" and it will reward you with yellow cheer! Tough Florida native plant.

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Christina Mendoza

Amaranth/Pigweed is a common weed that is highly nutritious! Use the greens in soups, stir fries, or salads. Eat the dried seeds raw or roasted. The seeds are very high protein and have lysine, fiber, and calcium. A single plant can produce 100,000 seeds! The leaves have vitamins A and C, iron, fiber, calcium, and manganese. Amaranth is a highly sustainable food crop because of its drought resistance and fast rate of growth and proliferation.

Foraging Texas: Amaranth

How to tell the difference between cattails and their poisonous look alike

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from eHow

Which Pine Trees Are Poisonous

Which Pine Trees Are Poisonous?

Which Pine Trees Are Poisonous? | eHow

How to Make Sycamore Syrup, Easy And Cheap | Outdoor Life - “Sap flows best on days that are above freezing following nights during which the temp dropped below freezing… You’ll need ten gallons of sap to make one quart of syrup. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. Each productive tree can yield one gallon of sap per day at the height of the sap run.”

How to Make Sycamore Syrup, Easy And Cheap