Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America

There are a lot of books out there on survival, some good, some bad, and others to the extreme of one end or the other. This Peterson field guide stretches towards the very good side of the scale of book reviews in my opinion. Many is the survival food guide that just pick a few plants and go from there to nowhere, with nothing to show for your investment except another book on your shelf. This one has a place in my bug out bags side pocket.

A lot of so called survival guides simply repeat what somebody else has already said or demonstrated, especially with the military survival guides, and for that reason you really should extend your reach for knowledge into other genres. I bout this little gem at a conventional book store not under the survival guide settings, but under the grouping of nature/field guides. I was actually looking for something else, but bought this book for $19.00 instead. I’m glad I did, too!

Edible Wild Plants (EWP) is not a how to survival guide type of book, but it is a very valuable resource for those times when you may have to rely upon wild plants for sustenance in an emergency situation. It’s laid out in similar fashion as the Audubon field guides, but this one is better in many aspects. There are over 400 plants described in this book, with 370 of them being edible and safe to eat, relatively speaking. Most of the survival guides you come across only have a few, and many of those plants listed are limited in range or season, so the use of that information can be considered limited in most cases.

EWP lists many plants that are available year round, and which parts of plants can be used for different needs. The front piece is a pictorial glossary of flowers and roots which comes in handy if you are not well versed in the terminology of plants. Many people aren’t and to most people a flower consists of four parts, the root, the stem, the leaves and the petals themselves. There’s a bit more to the name game than that of course and because other books limit the information to simple terms you can miss out on some delicious meals while out in the wilds. Ever had fresh caught brook trout with a side of sautéed violet and marigold leaves, topped off with a steaming mug of chicory root coffee substitute? MMMMGood!

But we must bear in mind that there are also many poisonous plants out there too, and EWP lists nearly 40 of these little dangers we need to keep away from.

Here’s what’s in the book;

Aside from the usual frontal stuff nobody ever reads you’ll find a good guide on how to use the book, p1; poisonous plants, p7; conservation, p11; glossary, p. 13; and explanation of symbols, p15. These sections are well worth going over. The nitty gritty part of the book covers flowering plants, woody plants and miscellaneous plants, all subdivided into different plant styles and description groups. You can also find a section on finding edible plants and another on food uses. At the tail end of the book you’ll find a recommended reading list as well as the usual index.

An especially useful section of the book is the color plates section found in the middle. The photos are divided into the areas you may find different plants as opposed to the usual method of grouping the photos into color groups.

The main section of the book lists the plants under various descriptive headings, and each plant shows its common name, followed by its scientific name. A description of the plant follows along with where they can be found, its flowering dates and some of the uses. To the left of the description can be found the symbols the author, Lee Allen Peterson, uses as a sort of quickie reference guide.

Overall, I suggest you pick up a copy for your survival and preparedness library. I found it well worth the investment and it has become a favored tool in my bag of survival knowledge.

ISBN-13/EAN: 9780395926222; $19.00
ISBN-10: 039592622X
Trade Paperback; 352 pages
Publication Date: 09/01/1999
Illustrations: Covers more than 400 wild plants. Includes almost 500 illustrations (b/w and color).
Trim Size: 4.50 x 7.25

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