Instead of consuming green veggie, you must wonder if there are edible tree leaves for you to be consumed. Either the trees are wild plants or from your own backyard, you can enjoy the cooked leaves that are good for your health as well.
Although it is safe to eat these leaves below, you should have to remember how to prepare the leaves before eating them with your family.
Take a look at our recommendation of edible trees that you can enjoy in salad or soup below! Also, make sure you know the characteristics of the trees, so you can eat it safely.
Table of Contents
- What type of tree leaves can you eat?
- How Do You Tell If A Leaf Is Poisonous?
- Edible Tree Leaves
- 1. Hawthorns Leaves (Crataegus)
- 2. Lime tree Leaves (Tilia cordata)
- 3. Mulberry Leaves (Morus)
- 4. Maple Leaves
- 5. Goji berry Leaves (Lycium barbarum)
- 6. Moringa Leaves (Moringaceae)
- 7. Black Walnut Leaves (Juglans Nigra)
- 8. Katuk Leaves (Sauropus Androgynus)
- 9. Rose of Sharon Leaves (Hibiscus syriacus)
- 10. Chaya Leaves (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius)
What type of tree leaves can you eat?
The type of edible tree leaves you can eat are usually the tender leaves. Sometimes, you can identify that the tree contains fruit or flowers that are edible to be consumed as well. Therefore, you can find out whether the tree leaves are edible or toxic.
How Do You Tell If A Leaf Is Poisonous?
By seeing the pattern and comparing it to the edible trees pattern. There is no exact pattern that can tell the leaf is poisonous, but you can learn from the patterns of edible trees.
Also, learning by doing is the best experience to distinguish between the toxic and safe leaves for you to be consumed.
Edible Tree Leaves
Edible trees are not always to eat, but the leaves can be used for medicinal purposes too. So, you better take a note whether the leaves are suitable for cooking, salad, or herbal tea.
1. Hawthorns Leaves (Crataegus)
Although this plant is native to Europe, it is well-known in the US too. Hawthorns have fruits as well that usually are used for making jams or jellies. You can consume its leaves as well since most people agree that the leaves are one of the most delicious spring greens.
You can munch it when out for a walk (clean it up first), or bring them home since it is a great salad ingredient.
Hawthorn leaves have a nutty taste and are rich, therefore people love making salad with this one. The leaves have a bright to deep green color and the edges of leaves are a bit round. If you are interested in growing Hawthorn in your yard, you have to realize that there is a potential invasive from this plant if they grow in non-native range.
Especially on the Pacific coast of North America, there is a potential problem if you grow there.
2. Lime tree Leaves (Tilia cordata)
The Crisp taste that will remind you of iceberg lettuce is the taste of Lime leaves. The leaves are small, usually and often used for a salad since it can enhance the aroma of your meals with a bright and pleasantly tangy taste.
You can crop them from spring to early fall.
The young leaves have a great taste as well, so you won’t be worried about the young leaves being consumed. If you like, you can mix these Lime leaves with spinach and other greens for the green salad, so you can have a flavorful and fresh meal.
You can grow Lime tree or Lindens for your garden since it will be great to grow them by yourself there. The wildlife will visit your garden too! So, if you have a concept to create a small forest garden, you can have this one as part of it. Also, you can use the tree for a shelterbelt or windbreak.
3. Mulberry Leaves (Morus)
This tree is not only delicious for its fruits but also for its leaves. Mulberry is rich in antioxidants inside the fruits, while the leaves can be used for your meals or tea! Before consuming Mulberry leaves, you have to boil or cook them first.
Although the dried leaves have a bitter taste, it fits for herbal tea that you can make by yourself. It is very tempting to enjoy Mulberry leaves after you just get excited by making Mulberry jams from its fruits.
So, this tree is pretty useful for you. Moreover, if you decide to grow it in your yard, then it is an excellent choice! The small trees are a fast growing plant, so you can crop a lot of berries and some leaves for a fresh meal from your kitchen.
4. Maple Leaves
Yes, you are not wrong that Maple leaves with its iconic shape are edible to eat. So, besides making maple syrup through its sap, in Minoh City, Japan, Maple leaf tempura is a pretty well-known and tasty snack to be consumed.
Red and silver Maple leaves can be your favorite to cook tempura and any other recipe.
First, you have to cover the leaves with salt and let it rest in a sealed container in a cool and dark space for around 10 months. Then, after coating it in batter, you can deep fry it and enjoy its delicacy and crispness.
It needs more patience, yes, but you can prepare it for your next year’s meal especially during fall. Or if you want to right away proceed the maple into your snack, you can find another recipe to cook Maple leaves tempura.
So, when you already have a Maple tree in your backyard, this tree can be used not only to harvest its sap, but also to create a signature delicacy in your kitchen. Simple and tasteful because the taste is crispy and slightly sweet.
5. Goji berry Leaves (Lycium barbarum)
Everyone knows that Goji berry is a super food with many nutrients inside. Many people consume it not only by eating its fruit directly, but also using it as the ingredients for skincare and body care. But, did you know that you can consume the leaves of Goji berries?
The leaves from the small or even the large shrubs are delicious and nutritious. Moreover, you can eat it raw–but it tastes bitter or you can cook it, such as stir fry for a taste that is similar to cress, or any recipes you find like boiling it for tea.
One thing you have to take note of is that this tree belongs to a family where the plants are often toxic. So, you have to make sure that the goji berry is the real one.
Generally, goji berries leaves have a green color, the shape is longer than usual foliage with a bit pointed shape. If your zone is in USDA 6 – 9, then you can have this tree or shrub in your yard.
6. Moringa Leaves (Moringaceae)
People in Asia may already know about Moringa. It is often used for the health benefits and skincare products. In the USA, where the zones are 10 – 22, you can grow Moringa and enjoy its benefits for you and your family.
Moringa leaves can be eaten raw for your salad or cooked for a simple soup. The taste is fresh, crisp, like matcha with notes of spirulina a bit, and by consuming it, you can recharge your energy.
The taste of Moringa leaves is like horseradish with a slight nutty taste while you munch it. Moringa is good for your health since the leaves are rich in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron.
Therefore, you can eat it as a simple soup. You don’t have any issue when cooking it since the size of Moringa leaves usually is small like a button but a bit oval.
7. Black Walnut Leaves (Juglans Nigra)
The trees which have an anti-bacterial and anti parasitic on the leaves are the best trees to grow for medicinal benefits. It happens in Black Walnut leaves. The leaves can help solve illness, such as diarrhea, diabetes, perspiration, anemia and many more, although the taste is bitter.
This is such a natural healing for your body. Moreover, you can harvest the leaves every year since Black Walnut tree is easy to grow.
If you plan to crop the leaves, the best time is in June and July because the color of leaves are still fresh and you can have a bundle by hand easily. Find out the fresh green one color with the vein that you can see clearly on the leaves.
Let them dry under cover by hanging it for a week until the texture is crisp and curly.
8. Katuk Leaves (Sauropus Androgynus)
Katuk can be grown in wet soil and can tolerate a bit of shade. This plant loves tropical climates, therefore you can grow them in a greenhouse too. The leaves are high in protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and C.
Also, it is good to boost breast milk for nursing mothers.
So, as the new mother, you can consume Katuk leafy greens during the breastfeeding year by cooking it as a soup. The taste is a pea-like or nutty flavor. Katuk leaves have a vein that you can see on the bottom and the edge is a bit rounded.
These edible plants are relatively easy to grow, as we mentioned before that as long as you can build a greenhouse where you can mimic the real environment temperature inside, then you can grow Katuk shrubs for yourself.
9. Rose of Sharon Leaves (Hibiscus syriacus)
While the flowers are pretty to look at with its vibrant red or pink color, the leaves of hibiscus syriacus are already well-known for medicine tea. The plant is very beautiful and famous for another name “Chinese Hibiscus”.
The shrub produces large bell-shaped flowers that will beautify your yard, while you can enjoy its leaves as the tea in the evening.
The leaves have a bright green color and an oval shape. If you want to taste the leaves of Rose of Sharon,it will be like lettuce but the texture is different yet still refreshing for you. So, besides making it as a tea, you can substitute lettuce in your salad with this one.
Usually, you can plant it directly on the ground or inside the pots.
10. Chaya Leaves (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius)
his plant especially the leaves are high in calcium, iron, carotene, protein and vitamins, such as vitamin A, B and C. Consuming green leafy from Chaya will be good for those who are low in protein intake.
For instance children and mothers (preggo or nursing moms).
You may consume it as tea or soup since the vitamin C inside the leaves can meet an adult’s daily basis. The taste of Chaya is like spinach, therefore people call it as Mayan Spinach, especially when it is cooked.
The leaves are simple with dark green color and some hairs on it. It will remind you of Okra leaves.
So, after exploring the edible tree leaves, now you can start to consume them safely. Always ensure the leaves are clean before you taste it. Also, if this is your first time eating or drinking it, it is better to take a small amount first.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Which tree leaves are good for health?
Katuk, goji berry, hibiscus, moringa and chaya are most edible tree leaves and importantly, the leaves good for health. They are rich in vitamins, iron, calcium, protein and many more.
Consuming those leafy greens regularly by cooking them or boiled them for tea will boost your immune system as well.
Are oak leaves toxic?
Yes, oak leaves can cause digestive issues while you consume it. Some sources find that the leaves can be poisonous. So, you can find other leaves to be consumed instead of exploring oak leaves.
Can you eat fruit tree leaves?
Yes you can, as you know that goji berry and mulberry are fruits from the berries family and you can consume their leaves on your cooked meals. For instance, you can stir fry it or you may find another recipe as long as you consume it as cooked leaves or already boiled ones.
Are pine leaves edible?
Yes, pine leaves are edible. You can forage them in the forest or pick them while you already have them in your garden. Pine trees are rich in vitamin C. You can make it for tea after exploring the leaves.