Edible plant foods of western Washington State

Salmonberries on the bush.

Salmonberries on the bush.

I live in western Washington, and I have always felt fortunate to live in such a bountiful and beautiful area. In fact, there probably isn't an easier place for wilderness survival! I attribute this mainly to the huge selection of edible wild plants in the region. To list just a few:





-Berries (salmonberries, thimbleberries, blackberries, red and blue huckleberries, watermelon berries, elderberries, and more)

-Tubers and Stems (wild carrot, fiddlehead ferns, and shoots, cattail)

-Tree foods (crabapples, indian plum, birch nuts, and maple and birch sap)

-Wild (and introduced) Greens (nettle, dandelion, and plantain weed)

-And more besides!


I'm afraid I can't accurately describe to you all of these (there are so many!), so I encourage you to go look up a couple of these plants--it may save your life someday!


Comments for Edible plant foods of western Washington State

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wishs
by: Anonymous

I am a survivalist and a prep-per. I feel that If I have the knowledge I need to survive during or after a major catastrophe that i am always prepared, No 20 yr supply of food and water here, I am prepping to be out in the wild. My only concern with these type web sites is they tell the names of the edible plant but, lack the descriptions and photos to accompany what they are. Great you tell people You can eat stinging nettles but, what about that idiot who rubs up against the poison oak then tries to eat it. I wish someone would list the edible foods, with image and brief discussion so we do not have to search each individual plant and hope it says in description do not get confused with blah blah which has a similar leaf but when consumed is highly toxic.

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Eull Gibbons
by: John Turner

Some general information about edible wild foods in North America can be had from the writings of Euell Gibbons.

See "Stalking Wild Foods On A Desert Isle", his July 1972 National Geographic article about spending a month on a Maine island eating off the land. Many of these foods are also found in the Pacific Northwest.

Also see "Stalking The West's Wild Foods" from the August 1973 National Geographic, which is more about the Basin and Range country of Utah and Nevada but mentions plants that can be found east of the mountains in Washington and Oregon.

And of course look for his "Stalking" books:

Stalking the Wild Asparagus (1962)
Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop (1964)
Stalking the Healthful Herbs (1966)
Stalking the Good Life (1966)
Beachcomber's Handbook (1967)
Stalking the Faraway Places (1973)

most of which are still in print and available on Amazon for $4-$13 each.

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nettles
by: jim

I made a puree with the food processor.
The plants were only 8" at most, discriminating only the
more colorful purple ones. Most were days old and full of buds. Wow, the best spinach with amazingly rich flavors.
For the nettle and tofu spaghetti, with morrels and onions, the boiled juice made the egg noodles really flavored. Maybe a fieldtrip where we meet at Freddie's parking lot can get organized soon. Or a coffee shop to share what and where to go.
JIM.

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Choke cherries
by: nlgarcia42@yahoo.com

I am looking for a group in Yakima County that does wild food foraging as a group. I have tried steamed showy pink milkweed pods...they are delish..I have made choke cherry juice...and some wild blackberry jam..I want to go after catail roots and base. You can chopp them like celery? I could use some recommended reading , and some ideas. I feel its important to teach our younger folks the wild forage idea and to get them into the natural native foods and the idea is to get them into the wild more..and way from the sedentary life. Does anyone have a resource for maps to the best wild food areas or is this a well kept secret?? Thanks so much.....Me

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Herbs of Washington
by: Aidan

Well in the area i live in we have Salmon berries, Huckle berries, and black Berries to eat.Some herbs can be used as medicine substitutes so that's a great thing to learn too. Be prepared!

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i live in washington too!
by: keith carter

By my house theres wild red cap berries, some wild blue berries, black berries, salmon berries, huckle berries, elder berries, and some wierd berries

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Know your wild plants...
by: Winyan Staz Wakien

The spring shoots of both salmon berry and the thimble berry are edible. Native American Indian children love the sweet stems of the thimble berry in the spring.
Salal, bunchberries, blackberries..so many berries to chose from but if you dont know your berries..a good rule of thumb until you do know is do not eat the red or the white ones unless you know them very well.
While we do have an edible red huckleberry, it bears a resemblence to other red berries that are not so good for you so know your plants.
The bright red berries of the bittersweet may look delicious but can kill a small child if enough are eaten and will make an adult very sick or even kill them.
Bittersweet vines however make excellent weavable vines that make great Yule wreaths and baskets too.
Again...know your plants well.
That little low ground cover you see all over the cities for landscaping is called knick-knick by Native American Indians and the berrys are also known as bear berries. Edible berries (not a favorite of mine but are better mixed with other berries) that were dried and used in pemmican. The leaves were also used for a smoking mixture (mixed with red willow inner-bark and some salal leaves) by Natives.
Oregan grape berries were also used in this manner. You will find the oregan grape berries are sweetest after a mild frost.

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more berries
by: Anonymous

salal berries too

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two cents
by: Anonymous

You ought to have a comprehensive list of edible indigenous plants in WA state.

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Needs More
by: Anonymous

needs more plants i think its the whole point of a page on plants plus the plant shown is extremely common and found every were!!

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There should be more pages like this!
by: Anonymous

I think this type of page is a great idea. People should make their own pages like this for where they live. It would be so cool if there was a page for every part of north america!

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