16 Plants You Can Use To Survive In The Wilderness

plants to survive in wilderness

Whether you’re on a wilderness camping trip, hunting, or in the wilderness for another reason, becoming stranded is a definite possibility.

Just the thought of being stranded in the woods with dangerous animals, insects, and other undesirable conditions is enough to give the average person a heart attack.

However, if you prepare yourself in advance, there are ways to survive in the wilderness until you can be rescued.

Here is a list of 16 plants you can use to survive:

1. Cattail

cattail plants - shaped like a cigar plants

This plant is easy to recognize, as the head is shaped like a cigar, and its long, stalk is sturdy.

Also referred to as Bullrush, Cattail can be used to make a number of usable items, such as mats, packing material or insulation, baskets, and much more.

These items can really come in handy, regardless of the length of time you’re stuck in the wild.

Cattail can be eaten as well. The roots can be ground into a very nutritious high protein/high carbohydrate flour, and the inside portion of the stalks can be made into a delicious and simple dish.

2. Wild Asparagus


This wild vegetable looks much different than the variety that you’re probably familiar with.

With much thinner stalks than traditional asparagus, this wild variety can be eaten raw or cooked.

Wild asparagus is chock-full of nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and thiamine.

3. Clovers


Clovers grow wherever open grassy areas exist. You don’t need to find four-leaf clovers in order to feel lucky, as all clovers can be safely eaten.

While they can be eaten raw, cooking is often the preferred way to prepare them, as they taste better.

Luckily they’re usually found in many places in the wilderness, so if you can’t find anything else to eat, you can eat least eat as many clovers as you can collect.

4. Chicory

beautiful blue chicory

This plant is known by its beautiful blue, pink or white flowers. It is documented for its anti-parasitic abilities. The entire plant can be consumed, whether raw or cooked.

5. Creeping Charlie

Creeping charlie (run-away robin, catsfoot, ground ivy, gill-over-the-ground and tunhoof)

If you think that the name of this plant is scary or strange, it does go by many other names, including run-away robin, catsfoot, ground ivy, gill-over-the-ground, and tunhoof.

The edible part of this plant with a thousand names is the young leaves, which can be eaten in a variety of ways, including both raw and cooked.

6. Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard plant

This plant has a spicy zing to it, similar to horseradish and the flowers, roots, seeds, and leaves can all be safely consumed.

You can cook them or even add them to a salad. The roots can only be picked in early spring, and then again in late fall.

7. Herb Robert

Herb Robert

This plant, which is in the Geranium family, can be utilized in a number of ways. First of all, the entire plant can be consumed, and fresh leaves can be eaten in a salad or made into tea.

You may also want to rub fresh leaves on your body to ward off mosquitoes and similar biting insects.

8. Plantain

Plantain plant

The leaves of this plant can be consumed, and many people toss it in salads. However, it can also be steamed or sautéed in the same manner as similar greens.

9. Watercress

Watercress (water cress, garden cress, rock cress, and pepper cress)

These spicy, leafy greens bloom beautiful white flowers and include watercress, garden cress, rock cress, and pepper cress.

While these plants taste great in soups, salads, stews, etc., they must be carefully washed prior to consumption, as they might be contaminated with a waterborne parasite.

10. Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed - beautiful lavender-colored flowers

Beautiful lavender-colored flowers bloom from this weed, but even though the entire plant is edible, it’s best to consume it prior to the flower buds open.

This plant can be made into tea, eaten in salads, and more.

Named after a well-known Indian healer, this weed was made into a tonic and used to treat various illnesses, including typhus fever and constipation. It also has the ability to ward off infection.

11. Fireweed

Fireweed - beautiful purple flowers

This plant is easily identifiable, as it has beautiful purple flowers. High in vitamins A and C, Fireweed can be consumed in a number of ways.

First of all, the leaves can be eaten, but they are more desirable when they are young and tender. If they’re allowed to mature too long, they become tough and bitter.

The stalk may also be eaten, either cooked or raw. The seeds and flowers are also edible and have a mild, peppery taste.

12. Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherd’s Purse

The young leaves of this plant can be prepared and consumed in any number of ways. While the leaves can also be consumed if they’re allowed to mature, they’re not always so appealing, due to their strong, peppery taste.

13. Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus

The fruit of this plant looks similar to red or purple pears and tastes delicious. Not only is the fruit delicious, but it also offers a lot of vital nutrients.

This could make the difference between life and death if you’re ever stranded in the desert, that is, as long as you’re careful to remove all the sharp needles prior to consuming it.

14. Wild Grape Vine

Wild Grape Vine

The edible parts of this plant are the grapes and leaves. While the grapes can be eaten anytime, they taste better once the first frost has arrived.

A popular and nutritious Mediterranean dish is made using the leaves, which are stuffed with meat, rice, and seasonings. The leaves can be prepared and consumed in any number of ways.

15. Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle

This plant is well known for its liver-rejuvenating abilities. In addition to these abilities, this plant can be consumed, practically in its entirety: its leaves, flowers, stems, and roots.

Milk thistle is said to have a pleasant taste, and it can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, or prepared like you would prepare vegetables.

16. Yellow Rocket

Yellow Rocket flowers

With a tendency to grow in moist places like hedges and banks, this is tasty if the leaves are eaten when they are young. Yellow rocket can be steamed, sautéed, or eaten any way you desire.

About the Author

Rick Coleman
Rick Coleman
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona Rick Coleman is a Lifeofadventure.com featured contributor who has written for a wide range of international travel publications. He loves the outdoors and has covered thousands of miles in the pursuit of his next adventure.
Rick Coleman
Rick Coleman
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona Rick Coleman is a Lifeofadventure.com featured contributor who has written for a wide range of international travel publications. He loves the outdoors and has covered thousands of miles in the pursuit of his next adventure.
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