Wild Edible Plant Naming




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bulletIntroduction to Edible Plants
bulletAll information needed to lead contest included in description

This is designed as an introduction to the Wild Edible Plant Requirement. Before starting the game explain that the term "edible plant" includes all plants any part of which is edible, raw or cooked, including buds, fruits, leaves, seeds, bark, sap, roots or shoots. Explain further that rare disappearing plants, such as early flowering trillium, cucumber root and Jack-in-the-pulpit, are not to be included in the game.


The Contest

The game is to see which Patrol can identify the greatest number of edible plants. Instruct the Scribes to write no names unless at least one member of the Patrol has either seen the plant or knows something definite about it; just knowing the name is not enough. Each Patrol presents its list to the Troop for consideration and discussion.



Scouts know more edible plants than they realize. To stimulate their thinking give them the categories below, which will appeal to their palates, and read two or three plants in each category.

  1. Desserts. Sweet acorns, nuts, wild fruits, berries.
  2. Sweet Beverage Substitutes. Barberries (Indian lemonade), sassafras, wintergreen, black birch (birch beer), wild strawberry, chokeberry, etc.
  3. Ingredients for Raw Salads. Water-cress, chicory, strawberry, mulberry, salad berries, nanyberry, Juneberry, red and black chokeberry, violet leaves and blossoms, Jerusalem artichoke, prairie turnip, biscuit root, miner's lettuce, firewood, shepherd's purse and numerous nuts, berries, fruits, etc.
  4. Potato Substitutes. Cattail, groundnut, arrow root, Indian wappatoo, Jerusalem artichoke, bog potato, nut grass, Solomon's seal, biscuit root, spatter-dock, etc.
  5. Spinach, Boiled Greens and Asparagus Substitutes. Common milkweed, plantain, lamb's quarters, chickweed, pigweed, large-leaved aster, garden sorrel, chicory, marsh marigold (cowslip), skunk cabbage, curled dock and certain ferns.
  6. Coffee Substitutes. Chicory, Job's tears, Kentucky coffee tree, parched corn, dried roots of dandelion, etc.
  7. Tea Substitutes. Sassafras, New Jersey tea, Oswego tea, spice bush, catnip, black alder, black birch, Labrador tea, mountain tea leaves, spearmint, peppermint, wild bergamot, etc.



Be cautious in recommending the taste of wild drinks or foods. Your Scouts may have no liking for what tasted good to their grandfathers.

Do not tell Scouts to eat wild foods (raw or cooked) unless you are absolutely sure about it.


Avoid Danger

Do not teach Scouts to cook dangerous foods. For example, even though the young shoots and leaves of pokeweeds are a substitute for asparagus, do not recommend them, because the root of pokeweeds are poisonous.

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Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Tree ID Contest ] Cross Fire Leaf Quiz ] Tree Identification Hike ] Matching Leaves ] Tree Hunt ] Guess My Name ] 20 Questions Game ] 20 Tree Questions ] Second Life Tree Sock Ball ] [ Wild Edible Plant Naming ] Patrol Flash Nature Review ] Nature Go Down Review ] Service Project Contest ] Nature Projects ] Nature Treasure Hunt ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
How to Use This Book ] Scout Ways ] Tenderfoot Requirements ] Scout Knots ] 2nd Class Knife Axe Fire ] 2nd Class Wildlife ] Compass Treasure Hunts ] First Class Wood Love ] First Aid Games ] Signaling Games ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.