Hot answers tagged

85

Just because there are grasses (Poaceae) with edible and nutritious parts does not mean that this applies to all grasses. That is pretty common-place. A quick Google search give you all the info you need: Many grasses are edible, in the sense that you can eat it; you simply won't get any energy/nutrients out of it. They consist mostly of cellulose, and ...


30

Here in Slovenia, the use of wild garlic is quite widespread. Although the whole plant, including bulbs, is edible, leaves are most commonly used. I tried only leaves so far, so I can share my experience with only them. Gathering Young, light-green leaves are a bit more aromatic, but smaller; older are darker and larger. I pick a mix of both and look for ...


24

Eating grass isn't smart because our bodies lack the enzymes to digest it, and because you never know if some animal came along and crapped on it. Don't eat grass.


23

These are not exactly the seeds, but the hull of the seeds of the horse chestnut. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aesculus_hippocastanum_fruit.jpg


19

Nettles should be blanched to destroy the formic acid before eating (Handle with gloves of course). Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil & prepare a bowl of ice water on the side. Once the water is boiling, plunge the nettles in the water for no more than a minute or so (the nettles should be bright green & not over cooked). Quickly drain ...


17

No. For one, you may not be capable of gathering any worthwhile nutrition. You could eat grass all day and still be hungry. Secondly, many animals are immune to toxins that are nasty to us. Best example I know of is that goats and many other new world animals can eat poison ivy. But if you try eating it, you're in trouble.


17

I have only had them as a tea with raspberry leaves. Refreshing enough, but nothing I'd actively forage to accomplish. However since the USDA report (direct PDF download) says that stinging nettles are 2.7% protein, and high in a number of vitamins and minerals, I think I'll try using them in a few dishes. Initial collection and preparation for cooking ...


16

This is not a survival technique. The way to determine how many calories is in a particular food item is to measure the amount of heat energy emitted when an item is burned. Anything burned to ash is basically calorie free as far as food value goes. Ash is composed of whatever was unable to vaporize into smoke in a fire. The hotter the fire, the more ...


16

To add to the existing answers, depending on where the grass is growing, there can be all sorts of synthetic fertilizers thrown onto it which would be very harmful to humans. You do not want to eat Scott's Lawn Fertilizer.


16

Apart from the low nutrients issue, grass stems are covered in tiny silica spikes, which act as an abrasive on your insides. These spikes are thought to have evolved as a defense against being eaten (Silica in grasses as a defence against insect herbivores:) -- which clearly didn't work in the long run. But anyway, if you don't have a tough lining like a ...


14

Poisonous plants are typically more dangerous when you burn them, at least that's true with plants that have oily toxins (poison ivy/oak). Toxins in plants aren't necessarily vaporized when burned. Smoke is a particulate, not a vapour. If you are burning something toxic, the toxins can potentially be carried by particles of smoke and be inhaled which is far ...


14

I doubt there are specific plants, but in general, yes, plants can be indicators of direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, snow will stay longer on the north facing slopes and pile up on the downwind sides of hills. This leads to more vegetation in general on the north slopes as there is water for longer leading to more plant growth. Here is a ...


13

That is a sweet gum tree. The distinctive compound fruit is hard, dry, and globose,1–1.5 inches (25–38 mm) in diameter, composed of numerous (40-60) capsules.[13] Each capsule, containing one to two small seeds, has a pair of terminal spikes (for a total of 80-120 spikes). When the fruit opens and the seeds are released, each capsule is associated with a ...


13

For a book-length answer, see Tristan Gooley, The Natural Navigator. The gist seems to be that plants are influenced by many factors: altitude, prevailing wind, soil type, shade etc. so any rule will at best apply under certain conditions, and even then have exceptions. One of Gooley's examples is that the leaves of broadleaved trees tend to be larger and ...


12

It looks like eating raw acorns won't kill you but its not likely to be pleasant and can harm you. That said, even “sweet” acorns should be leached to remove what tannins exist in them because several studies show that unleached acorns can make you constipated and can harm your teeth. Source If you've ever tried a raw acorn, and quickly spat it out, that'...


11

I cut new growth back and stick the dripping ends in a container. Sap collects quickly and after filtering through a coffee filter it is absolutely clear and tastes refreshing. Never had any health problems from it and the grapevine doesn't even notice as it's a huge vine. Stay away from the main shoots and just nip the new growth back. The vine actually ...


11

First of all don't scratch. blood sucking insects inject anti-coagulant under your skin to prevent your blood from clotting and forming a scab so they don't get their mouthes stuck inside you while sucking. If you scratch, you only manage to spread the anti-coagulant around under your skin, which intensifies the itch and makes things worse. Train your brain ...


11

If you're identifying a totally unfamiliar plant in the field, then typically you consult a field guide or botany textbook that has a key. These books can be broad or specific. For instance, I have one that's a pocket guide to conifers, and another that's a guide to Sierra wildflowers. They can also be designed for a technical audience or for laypeople. ...


10

Thimbleberry leaves are my favourite (Rubus spectabilis), They're all over the place in the Kootenays in British Columbia (Southern Canadian Rockies). They're soft and they're about the size of your hand or bigger. The berries are very tasty too, so you you can have a peachy-fuzz-tart-raspberry snack while you do your business. Hand for reference, this leaf ...


10

The leaves of the Striped Maple ("Moose Maple") are a no-contest winner, at least in the forests of the northeastern US. The leaves are large, and softer than some forms of toilet paper. As for availability: Anecdotally, I tend to see this plant in most deciduous forests of New Hampshire. It tends to grow bush-like near the ground, at least while it's ...


10

Yes & no. The U.S. Navy land survival training in Pensacola, Florida teaches students to chew on pine needles to obtain vitamin C. But you don't actually chew and swallow them.


10

The previous answers (1,2(now deleted)), unfortunately, exhibit why a simple google search doesn't always work. Two seemingly experienced SE users coming to two different conclusions. So is this an elderberry or is it pokeweed? This is where the extra work on the back end (and, honestly, front end) pays off. An initial google image search shouldn't be a ...


10

A look through the veterinary literature can show you some further reasons not to just go out and eat grass. Specifically, parasites like liver fluke, different species of tapeworm, and some nematodes can infect humans as well as sheep (or cows, or mufflons, or whatever lives on the pastures where you find your grass). So, in a real outdoors situation, ...


9

There are many sources of vitamin C in the wild. Some of the tricks that I have come across is to know how to extract it in ways that do not destroy the vitamin C. Berries are great in vitamin C and may be eaten raw. However there are a great variety of other sources of vitamin C in the wild. Let’s take a look at a few wild sources of vitamin C from ...


9

I think your plant is a pokeweed, Phytolacca americana. I have a lot in my yard in Massachusetts. Our sister site, Gardening and Landscaping has a number of questions about pokeweed. I think this has the best pictures and identification. To answer your question though, the simplest thing for me is to do an internet search. Choose words that characterize ...


8

As noted, the key is removing it quickly. If you like to carry around dishsoap, that will work great. However if you do not regularly carry that around, abrasives are a good alternative. I've effectively used the sand at the bottom of a small waterfall to remove the oils and of the entire hiking group, all of whom realized too late what we'd walked ...


8

At least for some species, Rhododendron wood is not especially toxic when burned. I've seen (and used) many species of Rhododendron in the Chinese Himalaya as firewood, in both outdoor and drafty indoor conditions. This included seasoned and unseasoned wood, and large enough quantities of smoke that my Rite-in-The-Rain notebooks still smell like bacon. Long ...


8

Sugar maples, like other maples, flower in early spring. The flowers aren't very impressive. The leaves of sugar maple are usually fully expanded three to four weeks after the leaf buds begin to swell in the spring. The flowers emerge soon after the leaves and are in full bloom within a week. ...Fruits that result from flower pollination usually mature in ...


8

There are quite a few plants like this. It's coded into their DNA. Some vines spiral in the right-handed sense, others left, e.g., morning glory and honeysuckle go the opposite way. There can also be a screw-handedness in various other things like the way the leaves are arranged around the stalk or the organization of petals into flowers. Similarly, humans ...


7

I'll start with a local favorite: great mullein or common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) Introduced to the North America. I've found it from New York to North Carolina. Apparently originated in Europe and Asia, I think. The leaves are large, moderately durable, thick, but soft and fuzzy. Their usefulness is somewhat limited by the fact that they tend to be ...


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