Edible leaves from trees and shrubs are an often overlooked source of nutrition.
Edible leaf sources
- Moringa Oleifera - A small, tropical, drought tolerant tree used as a multivitamin.
- Yam / Sweet Potato These plants not only produce the below ground tuber, but the leaves & young stems are edible when cooked. DO NOT however attempt to eat the leaves and stems of any potato.
The folks at Plants for a Future point out that "...Just twenty plants provide the majority of food eaten, yet there are thousands of other useful plants which have not reached mainstream attention. You can find details of many of them by a search of the database here...."
The folks at Leaf for Life indicate, "...Over 1000 species of plants bear leaves that are eaten, to some extent by humans. We've chosen 16 of these as "our favorites" and 50 others as "honorable mention." Our favorites are plants that we feel have, by virtue of their botany and history, shown great potential for providing food for humans in a sustainable way..."
At his site, Green Deane regarding "wild" plants as food, says, "… The main rule is: Never, ever eat a wild plant without checking with a local expert. Where do you find a local expert, and is there a cost? You can locate a local expert through your local Native Plant Society online or in the phone book… " His warning presented, he does have a significant list, with photos, of edible wilds.
Purdue has a Famine Foods Database: Plants that are not normally considered as crops which are reported to be consumed in times of famine.
- Leaf for Life The folks at Leaf for Life indicate they have identified over 1000 species of plants with leaves edible by humans. They have a "favorite" list of 16 followed by 50 others as "honorable mention."