Description: These plants, which grow 90 centimeters to 150 centimeters tall, are abundant weeds in many parts of the world. All amaranth have alternate simple leaves. They may have some red color present on the stems. They bear minute, greenish flowers in dense clusters at the top of the plants. Their seeds may be brown or black in weedy species and light-colored in domestic species.
Edible Parts: All parts are edible, but some may have sharp spines you should remove before eating. The young plants or the growing tips of alder plants are an excellent vegetable. Simply boil the young plants or eat them raw. Their seeds are very nutritious. Shake the tops of alder plants to get the seeds. Eat the seeds raw, boiled, ground into flour, or popped like popcorn.
Description: The arctic willow is a shrub that never exceeds more than 60 centimeters in height and grows in clumps that form dense mats on the tundra.
Habitat and Distribution: The arctic willow is common on tundras in North America. Europe, and Asia. You can also find it in some mountainous areas in temperate regions.
Edible Parts: You can collect the succulent, tender young shoots of the arctic willow in early spring. Strip off the outer bark of the new shoots and eat the inner portion raw. You can also peel and eat raw the young underground shoots of any of the various kinds of arctic willow. Young willow leaves are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, containing 7 to 10 times more than an orange.
Maranta and Sagittaria species
Description: The arrowroot is an aquatic plant with arrow-shaped leaves and potatolike tubers in the mud.
Habitat and Distribution: Arrowroot is found worldwide in temperate zones and the tropics. It is found in moist to wet habitats.
Edible Parts: The rootstock is a rich source of high quality starch. Boil the rootstock and eat it as a vegetable.