List of Edible Wild Plants in Texas

With its wide variety of terrain and climate, Texas contains an equally wide variety of wild edible plants. Whether you're thinking of roots, leaves or fruit, you'll find something edible to munch on in the wilds of Texas. Make sure you have permission to forage on private land. On most federal land, it's illegal to forage unless you're starving. Also, make sure the plant you're gathering isn't poisonous.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Despite its forbidding appearance, prickly pear cactus is eaten throughout the Southwest and Mexico. You can eat both its leaves and its fruit. Beware its spines and fine, tiny hairs, which can be dangerous if lodged in the throat. The leaves resemble okra when cooked; they have a similar, slimy texture when boiled.


Since the time of the Native Americans, people have gathered the greenbriar for food. You can eat many parts of this vine: its tip, leaves and stem, its berries, and its giant roots or tubers. Be careful---the greenbriar has thorns. You'll find this plant in shady forests, and you can harvest it all year. Eat any part of the plant growing above ground raw, cook tips and leaves like spinach, and the vines like asparagus. These above-ground parts are delicious. The tuber can be huge---up to 75 pounds. It's loaded with calories, but it can be bitter. Try using it as a thickener.

Wild Texas Salad

Texas abounds in wild plants you can enjoy as a salad. Red and white clover, miner's lettuce, wild onion (make sure it really smells like onions; there's a poisonous plant with a similar look), dandelion and spiderwort, to name just a few. You can find these growing as early as March in Southeast Texas.

Keywords: Cactus, Texas, Food, Plant, Edible

About this Author

Angela Alston works as a writer, community outreach consultant, and filmmaker. She has been published in "The Independent" and her award-winning shorts have screened on three continents. Clients include Susan Cohn Rockefeller and Niijii Films. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Texas and B.A. from Swarthmore College in philosophy and biology. Her interests include food and culture, travel and sustainability.