|Easily Prepared, Edible Plants commonly found while Cruising
Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana) carpets many dark forests, especially in Oregon. The leaves, which look like clover leaves, can be eaten raw and have a very strong tangy sour taste. As is often the case, this is because the plant contains oxalic acid, which can be potentially harmful if eaten in large quantity. Eaten in moderation, the plant doesn't represent a danger as many common garden plants also contain oxalic acid, including spinach, rhubarb, several members of the cabbage family, and many others.
Sea Plantain (Plantago maritima) also called Gooses Tongue. Its leaves are a lot more fleshy than the other plantains and older leaves can be somewhat tough. They are better when they're young. The salty flavor is interesting. Try steaming quickly with almonds or sesame oil for a side dish or on pasta.
Berries, especially Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) as the most representative berry bush of the coastal area. The berries are reminiscent of watery raspberries and are plentiful. Earlier in the year, the young green shoots can be peeled and eaten raw. They are quite good and tender when they're young but become too tough later on.
The blackberries, though commonly scorned for their invasiveness and impenetrability, do offer very tasty berries. The rounded leafed, Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor) and
Evergreen Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus) with their deeply incised leaves can form dense thickets while Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) (right) is a little more subdued and offers slightly smaller berries. It is the only native blackberry.
Unripe Trailing Blackberry
Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is one of the tastiest of the native berries and grows abundantly in dense shrubs. The fleshy sepals forming the fruits can be a little weird-looking and make the berries quite fleshy, but still are very flavorful when ripe.
Another favorite is Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) which ripens later in the fall and can remain on the bushes until December.
The Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), ripen earlier and though small, are quite good too!
Pick several varieties of blueberries, especially in Alaska. Most abundant on the coast are the Oval-Leaved Blueberry (Baccinium ovalifolium) with its bluish bloom. It is often found with slightly smaller and darker Alaskan Blueberry (Vaccunium alaskaense) without a bloom.
Oval Leaved blueberry
The best and easiest of the seaweeds, Purple Laver or Nori (Porphyra spp) is edible raw and consists of simple blades only one or two cells thick and up to a meter wide, which are almost transparent. This plant is the tasty seaweed wrap used in sushi.
The Roth Nodding onion (Allium cernuum) which is in the lily family, has soft, grasslike leaves and a 1-2 ft., leafless flowering stalk rise from a bulb. The stem bends so that the pink flowers, borne in a cluster at the top, nod toward the ground. Gather bulbs which only have strong onion odor and use as domestic onions. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water. Nodding Wild Onion
Sea Asparagus (Salicornia Virginica) is a small, salt tolerant plant that thrives across the shorelines, wetlands and salt marshes of North America. Known by a number of names –including samphire, pickleweed and sea asparagus — this nutrient-rich green vegetable adds a not-too-salty crunch when served cold, and is especially good pickled.
Edible Plant for Cruisers, FYC – Weideman 2016 Page