How to Tell if a Wild Plant is Edible and Safe to Eat

The Universal Edibility Test is a series of steps you take to determine whether a plant is poisonous or safe to eat. The idea of the steps is to gradually expose your body to the plant and see if any reaction occurs.

This way, if the plant is poisonous, you won’t get it in a high dose and any negative effects will be minimal.

Step 1

For the Universal Edibility Test to work, you must first fast for 8 hours. This means you have eaten nothing and drank nothing but purified water. But, if you are in a situation where you have to eat unknown plants, then this will probably be the case.

Step 2

Cut the plant up into its parts: – Leaves – Stems/stalks – Roots – Flowers – Seeds The reason for doing this is because some parts of a plant may be edible whereas others are not or are even poisonous.

Step 3

Rub a plant part onto your skin to see if there is a reaction. Make sure that you are crushing the stalks and roots so the juices get onto your skin. If no reaction occurs within 8 hours, then you can continue with the next step.

Step 4

If possible, cook a small portion of the plant parts. You can also test them raw, but it is generally better to cook the plants.

Step 5

Put a small portion of the cooked or raw plant against your lips. Hold it there for at least 3 minutes. If the plant causes any sort of reaction (such as swelling or a tingly feeling), then do not continue with it.

Step 6

Put the small plant portion into your mouth. Do not eat it or chew it! Just let it sit on your tongue and see if any reaction occurs. You will need to hold the plant in your mouth for 15 minutes.