Description: This plant is a common evergreen shrub with reddish, scaly bark and thick, leathery leaves 4 centimeters long and 1 centimeter wide. It has white flowers and bright red fruits.
Habitat and Distribution: This plant is found in arctic, subarctic, and temperate regions, most often in sandy or rocky soil.
Edible Parts: Its berries are edible raw or cooked. You can make a refreshing tea from its young leaves.
Description: Beech trees are large (9 to 24 meters), symmetrical forest trees that have smooth, light-gray bark and dark green foliage. The character of its bark, plus its clusters of prickly seedpods, clearly distinguish the beech tree in the field.
Habitat and Distribution: This tree is found in the Temperate Zone. It grows wild in the eastern United States, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is found in moist areas, mainly in the forests. This tree is common throughout southeastern Europe and across temperate Asia. Beech relatives are also found in Chile, New Guinea, and New Zealand.
Edible Parts: The mature beechnuts readily fall out of the husklike seedpods. You can eat these dark brown triangular nuts by breaking the thin shell with your fingernail and removing the white, sweet kernel inside. Beechnuts are one of the most delicious of all wild nuts. They are a most useful survival food because of the kernel's high oil content. You can also use the beechnuts as a coffee substitute. Roast them so that the kernel becomes golden brown and quite hard. Then pulverize the kernel and, after boiling or steeping in hot water, you have a passable coffee substitute.
Description: Bignay is a shrub or small tree, 3 to 12 meters tall, with shiny, pointed leaves about 15 centimeters long. Its flowers are small, clustered, and green. It has fleshy, dark red or black fruit and a single seed. The fruit is about 1 centimeter in diameter.
Habitat and Distribution: This plant is found in rain forests and semievergreen seasonal forests in the tropics. It is found in open places and in secondary forests. It grows wild from the Himalayas to Ceylon and eastward through Indonesia to northern Australia. However, it may be found anywhere in the tropics in cultivated forms.
Edible Parts: The fruit is edible raw. Do not eat any other parts of the tree. In Africa, the roots are toxic. Other parts of the plant may be poisonous.
Eaten in large quantities, the fruit may have a laxative effect.