Figure 6-8.--Water chestnut.
1. WILD POTATO. This is an example of an edible
that grow on mountaintops and ocean floors. Of these,
tuber. The plant is small and found throughout the world,
120,000 varieties are edible. Obviously, you will not be
especially in the Tropics. (See fig. 6-6.)
able to learn about all of these plants from reading this
2. SOLOMON'S SEAL. Tubers of Solomon's seal
manual. But if you know what to look for in the area in
grow on small plants and are found in North America,
which you find yourself stranded, can identify it, and
Europe, northern Asia, and Jamaica. Boiled or roasted,
know how to prepare it properly, you should find enough
they taste much like parsnips (fig. 6-7).
to eat to keep you alive. You may even surprise yourself
3. WATER CHESTNUT. The water chestnut is a
with a delicious meal.
native of Asia, but it has spread to both Tropical and
Although plants may not provide a balanced diet,
Temperate areas of the world, including North America,
especially in the Arctic where the heat-producing
Africa, and Australia. It is found as a free-floating plant
qualities of meat are essential, they will sustain you.
on rivers, lakes, and ponds in quiet water. The plant
Many plants, such as nuts and seeds, will give you
covers large areas wherever it occurs and has two kinds
enough protein for normal efficiency. All edible plants
of leavesthe submerged leaves that are long and
provide energy and calorie-giving carbohydrates.
rootlike and the feathery and the floating leaves that
Plants are available everywhere to provide the
form a rosette on the surface of the water. The nuts borne
necessary energy while you forage for wild meat. You
beneath the water are an inch or two wide with strong
can depend on them to keep you alive if you are injured
spines that give them the appearance of a homed steer.
The seed within the horny structure may be roasted or
and unarmed in enemy territory or in an area where wild
life is not abundant.
boiled. (See fig. 6-8.)
It is generally safe to try wild plant foods if you see
4. NUT GRASS. Nut grass is widespread in many
them being eaten by birds and animals; however, you
parts of the world. Look for it in moist, sandy places
find few plants of which every part is edible. In addition
along the margins of streams, ponds, and ditches. It
to the obvious sources of plant foods (fruits, nuts,
occurs in both Tropical and Temperate climates. The
grass differs from true grass because it has a three-angle
berries, etc.), many plants have one or more identifiable
parts that have considerable food value. For example,
stem and thick underground tubers that grow 1/2 to 1
inch in diameter. These tubers are sweet and nutty. Boil,
certain roots and other underground parts of plants are
rich in starch and are excellent source of food. Some
peel, and grind them into flour. This flour can be used
examples are the following:
as a coffee substitute. (See fig. 6-9.)