50 Essential Wild Edible, Tea, and Medicinal Plants You Need to Know

I’ve been often asked in reference to a survival or bug-out situation “which wild edible and medicinal plants should I study and know?”.

Unfortunately there is no clearcut answer for this since it’s highly dependent upon where you live. But if I would boil it down to the top 50 essential wild edible, tea, and medicinal plants that occur in most areas of the northern hemisphere this would be the list:

Note: I’ve added links to the plants which I’ve covered in detail on this site on how to identify, prepare, and use for food or medicine. Bookmark this page since these links will continue to grow as I demonstrate the uses of these plants in upcoming articles.

50 Essential Wild-Edible, Tea, and Medicinal Plants

  1. Amaranth/Pigweed (Amaranthus) – Food
  2. Arrowhead/Wapato (Sagittaria L.) – Food
  3. Balsam Fir (Abies balsamia) – Food
  4. Blackberry (Rubus L.) – Food
  5. Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) – Food
  6. Blueberries (Vaccinium L.) – Food
  7. Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) – Food
  8. Burdock (Arctium lappa) – Food
  9. Bulrushes (Schoenoplectus L.) – Food
  10. Bur-Reed (Sparganium L.) – Food
  11. Birch (White) (Betula pendula) – Food, Drink
  12. Catnip (Nepeta L.) – Medicine
  13. Cattail (Typha L.) – Food
  14. Chamomile (Anthemis L.) – Tea
  15. Chicory (Cichorium L.) – Food
  16. Clover (Trifolium pratense L. and Trifolium repens L.) – Food
  17. Curly Dock (Rumex crispus L.) – Food
  18. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Food
  19. Daylily (Hemerocallis L.) – Food
  20. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) – Food
  21. False Solomon Seal / Treacleberry (Maianthemum racemosum) – Medicine
  22. Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) – Food
  23. Goldenrod (Solidago L.) – Tea
  24. Heal-All (Stachys L.) – Medicine
  25. Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) – Food, Medicine
  26. Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.) – Food
  27. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) – Tea
  28. Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) – Food
  29. Mints (Mentha L.) – Tea
  30. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.) – Medicine
  31. Mustard (Sinapis L.) – Food
  32. Oak (acorns) (Quercus L.) – Food
  33. Pine (Pinus L.) – Food
  34. Plantain (Plantago L.) – Food
  35. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) – Food
  36. Queen Anne’s Lace / Wild Carrot (Daucus carota L.) – Food
  37. Rose Hips (Rosa L.) – Food
  38. Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella L.) – Food
  39. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.) – Food
  40. Sumac (Rhus typhina L. and Rhus glabra L.) – Food
  41. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) – Medicine
  42. Thistle (Cirsium L.) – Food, Medicine
  43. Violet (Viola L.) – Food
  44. Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) – Medicine
  45. Wild Lettuce (Lactuca L.) – Food
  46. Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum) – Food
  47. Wild Rice (Zizania L.) – Food
  48. Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) – Food
  49. Wood Sorrel (Oxalis L.) – Food
  50. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – Tea, Medicine

Most Common Places to Find these Plants

ROADSIDES

  • Chicory
  • Curly Dock
  • Daylily
  • Elderberry
  • Fireweed
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Meadowsweet
  • Milkweed
  • Mullein
  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Yarrow

WOODS

  • Balsam Fir
  • Blue Aster
  • Bracken Fern
  • Oak (acorns)
  • Pine
  • White Birch
  • Wood Sorrel

BROOK AREAS OR SWAMPS

  • Arrowhead/Wapato
  • Bullrushes
  • Bur-Reed
  • Cattail
  • False Solomn’s Seal
  • Weeping Willow
  • Wild Rice

FIELDS, LAWNS and GARDENS

  • Amaranth
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Burdock
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Dandelion
  • Daylily
  • Field Sorrel
  • Goldenrod
  • Heal-All
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Mint
  • Mustard
  • Plantain
  • Purslane
  • Raspberries
  • Red & White Clover
  • Rose Hips
  • Sumac
  • Strawberry
  • Tansy
  • Thistle
  • Wild Lettuce

Some Helpful Hints on Identifying and Getting Started

Be sure to check out my article on How to Identify Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants for some helpful tips and recommended resources in getting you started.

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