The Doctors: Plant Edibility Test
Recently, a man swerved off a road and fell off a 300-foot cliff, where he was stranded for six days. His family discovered him and called 911 for assistance.
David, the survivor of this incident, appeared in the audience with his family. He was injured in the crash, but he managed to forage for plants and bugs to survive for those six days. “I hate camping,” David said.
He said he was in shock for a few days, because another man whose car went over the edge did not survive. He watched what bees did and ate those same flowers. He ate a bumblebee and found spearmint growing near the water.
Dr. Andrew Ordon: Wild Plant Warning Signs
Dr. Travis Stork said being near water is key to survival, and is more critical than food for multiple days. Dr. Andrew Ordon said David had good instincts, but there are things to avoid, such as mushrooms and wild, almond-scented plants, or things with milky sap. Beans, bulbs, seeds, spines, fine hairs, and thorns are all warning signs that you probably shouldn’t eat them.
For example, strawberry leaves and poison oak leaves are very similar in appearance. Since hunger is probably not going to kill you, it’s best not to eat something you are unsure of, because poisonous plants could kill you much faster than starvation.
Dr. Travis Stork: Universal Edibility Test For Wild Plants
There is a universal edibility test, Dr. Travis Stork said. It’s recommended that you not eat about eight hours before doing this test. Take a leaf or part of the plant that you are considering eating, and rub it on your elbow or the inside of your arm, to see if you have a reaction.
After 15 minutes, you can touch it to your lips. If you have no reaction and you think the plant is safe, you can chew and hold it in your mouth for about 15 minutes. After eight more hours, if you’ve had no ill effects, you can try to consume the plant.
Dr. Travis Stork cautioned that plants can kill you very quickly.