Alaska hosts many varieties of plants that you can live off of, but animal meat with fat is the best energy source. Eating plants can be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. Many plants look similar, one could be okay to eat and the other could be fatal if eaten. Paying careful attention to the plants leaf shape, spacing and root structure are of the utmost importance.

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There are many berries for a sweet treat in the wilderness of Alaska. Your common blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are plentiful as well as the above unusual ones. The first picture shows the crowberries and the next two are salmonberries.

Edible trees in the wilderness are the Cottonwood ( Balsam Poplar), Birch tree and the Spruce tree. The inner bark of the cottonwood can be eaten cooked or raw and the tips of the Spruce tree are used to make tea. One could also add the tender leaves of the Birch tree to a salad.
Choices for greens in the wilderness are Horsetail, but only when young; Dandelion, also when it is tender and young; Lamb's Quarter; Plantain; Chickweed; Clover leaves and Clover roots. All the parts of the common cattail are edible.



General rules for selection of plant NOT to eat:
  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Beans, bulbs or seeds inside pods
  • Bitter or soapy taste
  • Spines, fine hairs or thorns
  • Dill, carrot, parsnip or parsley like foilage
  • Almond scent in woody parts or leaves
  • Grain heads with pink , purplish or black spur
  • Tree leaf growth pattern, such as poison ivy ( if it is bad for your skin, it is bad for your stomach!)
  • Stay away from green, yellow, and white berries ( 90% of purple, blue and black berries are edible)

Remember that just because you can eat something does not necessarily make it taste good.