Nutritional Food Fact Sheet Series

Wild plants

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Wild greens are gathered during the warm months of the year.  Greens from the willow, mountain sorrel and fireweed provide nutrients such as vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium and fiber. These nutrients are important for healthy skin, bones, teeth and blood as well as to prevent infection.

What do we know about wild plants?

Wild plant greens are eaten raw, cooked, or added to soups. Some leaves and flowering stems are used in soups as potherbs.

When Mountain Sorrel is boiled, it adds a tart flavour to cooking. When eaten raw, Sorrel leaves have a refreshing flavour and are eaten either rolled into a ball or as a salad.

Nutrients in wild plants

Nutrients Contents per Serving

Arctic Willow
Leaves, raw

250 mL

Mountain Sorrel
Leaves, raw

 250 mL

Netted Willow
Leaves, raw

250 mL

Leaves, raw

250 mL

An excellent food source means it supplies 25% or more of a nutrient per day Vitamin C     Vitamin C (young leaves)
A good source supplies 15 - 24% of a nutrient per day   Vitamin C    
A fair source supplies 5 - 14% of a nutrient per day

B Vitamins



Fibre, Calcium
Vitamin A
B Vitamins

  • Reference Serving Sizes are from Canada’s Food Guide (raw, 250ml = 24.3g = about 1 plant).
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) amounts are based on the needs of a 14 – 18 year old girl.
  • Excellent, good and fair sources of nutrients have been standardized for any type of food source.

Did you know?

  • Wild plant greens are excellent sources of vitamin C. This vitamin keeps our gums, teeth and skin healthy.  They also help wounds heal and help our bodies fight sickness.
  • Young, raw Fireweed leaves provide more vitamin C and vitamin A than the amounts in more mature plants.
  • Vitamin C is lost when heated or soaked in water. Eat wild greens fresh, steam them or cook them in small amounts of water to get as much vitamin C as possible.

Eating a variety of wild plants

  • Fireweed leaves are often eaten raw with seal blubber or cooked and eaten like spinach. The flowers can also be eaten raw.
  • Seabeach Sandwort is added to boiling seal meat. Because of its high salt content, it adds flavor to boiled meat.
  • Plants, such as Labrador Tea, are brewed and steeped for tea and provide a source of vitamins.
  • Purple Saxifrage flowers are eaten where berries are not available.

Healthy Eating

Prepare foods in traditional ways to avoid too much added sugar, fat and salt.  Pick young green leaves of willows or fireweed and eat them raw or add them to a salad. They also taste great cooked as a vegetable or added to soups and stews.

Gathering for a healthy  lifestyle

Getting out on the land is part of our northern way of life. It is great to be active. Hunting, fishing, gathering, and eating traditional foods helps keep us healthy.

For more information contact:

  • Community Health Representatives
  • Registered Dietitians
  • Band Office and Local Elders
  • Territorial Nutritionist, Department of Health and Social Services