Milkweed Wild Edible Plant
The Common Milk Weed Plant in and Around the Rocky Mountains Is A Wild Edible
As the heading suggests this is a very common plant. The flowers are grouped in several spherical umbels with many pink or purple flowers in each umbel. You will likely notice a red vein in the main part of the leaf. These are frequently lighter green color as well, so this is not a good indicator. The undersides of the leaves are somewhat hairy or fuzzy. The easy way to determine if a plant is a milkweed is to puncture a leaf or the stalk. Each part of this plant will emit a latex like substance that is very identifiable.
Many species of insects rely on these plants as their only source of food. So if you are not hard up for food it might be a good idea to leave these alone, or at least don’t take too many of them.
There are some tricks to make this a good tasting wild edible plant. You can consume most parts of this plant, but you will have to properly prepare it for consumption. The Milky substance that gives this plant its name tastes quite bitter. You can consume the shoots, stems, leaves, flowers and young pods of this plant.
Preparation for Eating the Milkweed Plant
To eat this plant and avoid the mildly toxic milk like substance you will need to boil it. This will usually require you to bring the water to a good boil, pour out that water and repeat these steps at least 3-4 times. This will eliminate the bad flavor of the milk and also draw out all the toxins. They say these are not common in the rocky mountains, however I found this one in western Wyoming just a few days ago. I have also seen them many times in southeast Idaho at pretty high elevation, so they clearly do exist here.
Little Known Facts About the Milkweed Plant
This tidbit I am about to tell you is very exciting! Did you know that the pods of the milkweed that have all that fuzzy stuff similar to that of down makes great insulation? Actually some say it is an even better insulator than down. So if you need some high quality insulation in a down jacket that has suffered a hole here is a good replacement material! They used in during world war 2 as jacket insulation in the armed forces.