Native plant salad. Photo: Nadia Navarrete-Tindall
Native plants are the foundation of nature’s web of life, providing food for thousands of insects, which in turn become food for songbirds and other cherished wildlife.
Many native plants also provide food to people. Fruit from pawpaw and persimmon trees can be used to make many kinds of desserts, for example, as can nuts from black walnut and hickory trees.
Note: These resources on native edibles are intended as general information only. As with any foods, there is a potential for allergic reactions when consuming native edibles. Always seek the advice of a health professional with any questions about touching or eating any plant matter.
Gather native edibles only with permission from landowners, and, ideally, grow them yourself.
Planting native plants in or near your vegetable and fruit gardens helps support pollinating insects that also pollinate your food crops–resulting in better harvests for you. Consult this fact sheet for details.
Please consult the resources below for more information:
- Paw paw information card
- Common native medicinal and edible plants — article from the Missouri Prairie Journal
- Nadia‘s Backyard–Edible Native Plants
- Wild Edibles of Missouri by Jan Phillips, a 1979 publication from the Missouri Department of Conservation
- List of edible plants from Jan Phillips’ 1979 publication Wild Edibles of Missouri
- Wild Edible Recipes from the Missouri Department of Conservation
- MO Wild Cooking YouTube Channel