Wild Edible Plants Quiz
Test your knowledge of wild edible berries, roots and leaves
These quizzes will test your knowledge of wild edible plants by allowing you to identify a photograph of each plant, as well as giving you the chance to specify which parts of each plant are edible, and which are not.
Have fun, but be careful: there may be a few non-edible or even poisonous plants tossed in here, just to keep you on your toes!
I hope you enjoy these quizzes, and perhaps even learn something in the process!
All photos taken by the author, unless otherwise noted
Why learn about wild edible plants?
There is such a bounty of fresh, nutritious food--greens, berries, seeds and even starchy, filling roots all around us for the taking, if we will only go to a bit of trouble to learn which are good to eat, and when and how to harvest them. These wild resources helped to sustain our ancestors, and can do the same for us, both now when they can supplement expensive produce bought from the market or grocery store, and later if we find ourselves in a situation where such luxuries may not be available.
The study and use of wild foods is both a fun, rewarding hobby that gives us an opportunity to spend more time in contact with the wonders of nature and a serious pursuit which can add a beneficial variety of nutrients to our diets.
While there are literally hundreds of tasty and beneficial plants out there to discover, many less savory and even poisonous ones exist right alongside them, so one must not, of course, ever consume a plant which has not been positively identified as edible, so now is the time to start your journey in learning to know and identify wild edible plants!
Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) is a relative of the also-edible purslane, and is widely distributed throughout the continental US, appearing in the mountains of Colorado, on Oklahoma prairies, and in various places along the East Coast, to name a few areas of its range.
All parts of the plant are edible and tasty, the succulent leaves and stems providing a tasty snack when hiking, but the most valuable food source coming from their enlarged, starchy corms that resemble new potatoes in appearance, flavor and nutrition. They can be eaten raw, but are best boiled first for a few minutes.
Arrowleaf balsaroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) is widely distributed across the foothills and high, arid mesas of the American west, growing in some places nearly up to treeline and subsisting well on minimal water.
Its roots, which release a strong pine or balsam smell when broken, are edible and quite nutritious if first steamed or otherwise cooked to convert the inulin sugar they contain into the more digestible fructose.
The seeds of this plant are also edible, resembling tiny sunflower seeds.
Wild edible plants books - Learn to identify wild foods in your area!
Avalanche lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) are also known as glacier lilies, and have large, starchy roots that were harvested in great quantity by the Blackfoot, Flathead and other tribes, and slowly roasted in pits to convert their poorly digestible sugars (mostly inulin) to fructose, before drying for the winter.
These dried roots, often eaten cooked up into a soup with dried serviceberries, deer fat and spring beauty corms, were an important winter food source, as well as a valuable trade item. While these beautiful alpine wildflowers cover wide swaths of meadow in some areas, they are fairly rare in others, so care should be taken not to harvest too heavily in places where they may be more sparse.
Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) is a common sight in the high mountains and on the subarctic tundra alike, its uniquely colorful blooms adding some spice to otherwise drab landscapes. The plant does especially well on areas which have recently been burned in wildfires, and is often one of the first to return.
Young shoots can be peeled and eaten much like asparagus, blooms are edible and the leaves are good both added to soups and made into a tea. Roots, also, can be eaten, and are sweetest when harvested in the spring.
This plant's seeds produce a fuzzy down similar to that of dandelions, and this can, somewhat ironically, be used as tinder for starting fires.
Never, ever eat any part of a wild plant unless it is one you have positively identified.
(Avalanche lily roots, spring beauty roots--just like little potatoes!)
While the best way to learn these plants is to find someone in your area who already has the knowledge and can personally take you out and teach you what you need to know, this information can be learned from careful study of a variety of different edible plants books, as well. The study and collection of wild edible plants can be a fun and rewarding hobby and a way to spend more time out in nature as well as adding valuable and renewable nutrient sources to your diet!