The inner core of
the Fishtail Palm offers a sweet starch (carbohydrate) along with a refreshing
taste. The downside is that you have to kill the whole tree to get it,
but in a survival situation this is a good idea. In Southern Thailand,
this is a very common plant. It can be found in both coastal areas as
well as thick old-growth jungles.
In the Nightshade family (Solanaceae - tomato, potato, chilli peppers, and tobacco) and the genus Physalis, this small bush offers a wonderfully tasty treat during the late dry season in Thailand. Once ripe, they taste like a very sweet Cherry Tomato.
In Chinese medicine it's used to treat sore throats, coughs, and a fever.
The Ginger family (Zingiberaceae) is big in Thailand. Globally, there are over 1,300 species! Ginger has B-5, B-6, potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Gingerols, the oils present in ginger, help the gastrointestinal tract as well as being an analgesic, a mild sedative, anti-inflammatory, and having antibacterial properties. Ginger is good for combatting motion sickness.
This important plant in Thai
religion also offers a popular snack food. The seeds are eaten raw or
made into sweets in the form of cakes, candies and syrups. The young leaves
are edible as are the roots.
This small tree is a relative
of both the peanut family (leguminosae) and the Mimosa family (Minosoideae).
It's very common throughout southern Thailand.
The shoots and young leaves
are edible. They are often eaten raw with chilli paste.
If not cooked however, the
tannic acid can be a bit strong. In fact, this plant used to be used to
The young shoots and leave
of this climbing plant are used in soups and curries. It is also a medicinal
plant. The bark is used to soothes mucus membranes and it's a cure for
The fiberous bark can be used
to make rope.
This bush grows in secondary
growth areas as well as along coastlines. The seeds are buoyant and they
tolerate salt quite well.
Locals cook it on
top of steamed fish. This versatile tropical plant can be used for food,
medicine, as a fish poison and as a soap substitute. It's sometimes called
the latherleaf as it creates a lather when rubbed vigorously.
this small tree most likely originated in Madagascar, it is found all
over southern Thailand. The fruit is very sour. The seeds make it difficult
to eat, yet some villagers make a chutney out of it. The young leaves
are also edible.
This tropical fruit contains
calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin C.
Wan Thale (Sea Sweet Mouth)
This coastal plant
is found all over Southern Thailand. The leaves are edible and though
not exactly delicious, contain needed vitamins and some sugars.
fruit of this euphorb looks similar to the Gooseberry and it's also sour.
But this fruit offers a lot of medicinal value. It is a laxative, an astringent,
it's hemostatic, it cleans the intestines, it's an aphrodisiac of sorts
and it contains a lot of vitamin C.
The flowers of this
useful tree are edible. They are used in curries for flavor and to add
The roots are used as a diuretic
and as a skin softener. The bark is useful for treating diarrhea and dysentery.
The sap (resin) can stop bleeding.
Thai tobacco is also very good at stopping bleeding.
The flowers help sooth burns.
And finally, the seed pod is
excellent stuffing for making mattresses and pillows. Kapok trees are
common all over Thailand. This cotton-like fiber is extremely good fire tinder.
are over a hundred species of ficus in Thailand. Only a few species are
edible for humans. The others are a very important food source for a wide
variety of both arboreal and terrestrial animals. Each species of fig
has its own species of fig wasp. The female goes inside the fig and lays
her eggs. Eating a fig with wasp and/or eggs is a souce of protein. So,
there is some carbohydrate value to the fruit and some protein value if
it's full of wasps or eggs. The fig is technically not a fruit, but a set of inverted flowers and
figs in the photo to the left are quite small, less than an inch in diameter.
Though not actually
an indigeonous plant (it's native to the northeast coast of Brazil), the
cashew tree has managed to spread all over southern Thailand. The cashew
tree offers several opportunities for food. First, the young leaves and
shoots are edible. They don't taste very good raw, but if you take a bite
with rice, it adds a unique new flavor. There is a fruit on the cashew
tree too. It is also edible. This succulent fruit is often tossed aside
as the nut is so valuable.
In a survival situation, the fruit is a good
source of vitamin C. This tropical fruit also contains calcium, phosphorous
pepper family leaf grows close to the ground. A popular Thai snack called miang kam utilized these leaves. You take a leaf, form it into
a sort of bowl-shape, then sprinkle with roasted coconut, ginger, small
purple onions, a sweet syrup, peanuts and, of course, chillies. Each crunchy
bite is a burst of different flavors.
The entire plant helps you
expel gas and the roots and fruit cure dysentery. If you've got a toothache,
crush the roots and leaves, then sprinkle on some salt.
tree that is common in the tropical jungles of southern Thailand comes
into seed in the early summer.
It's called Sataw in Thai. When
they're ready, Thais from all walks of life crave them despite the fact
that they give you very bad breath.
The young leaves are
edible, but it's the seeds that the Thais really desire. They dip the
raw or roasted seeds chillie paste and they cook them in curries.
This common weed is
found in secondary growth areas. The entire plant, exept the roots, are
This plant has a lot
of medicinal properties such as treating snake and scorpion bites. The
roots are a stimulant, yet they help cool the body. The flowers are a
dissinfectant. The seeds help get rid of tapeworms. And finally, the seeds
and leaves are useful as a skin softener.
This must be in the wild mango family. It's really sour when green and a little bit sweeter when ripe (more yellow).
It is easy to find in Khao Sok in March and April
This is a wonderfully sour jungle fruit. It's not common, but we find it in Khao Sok in the early spring months.
Paco Fern (Diplazium Esculentum)
The young ferns fronds are quite nice, especially the tops.
They can be eaten raw, but Thais usually blance them first. Eating them raw would provide more nutitional value.
I can't find the name of this one in any of my many books. The young fern fronds are edible. They are not that tasty, but they are plentiful and would be a good choice in a survival situation as this is a very common plant here.
The young leaves of this particular ficus species are edible. They don't have a strong taste. I'm sure they would have some nutritional value. They are plentiful, so they would be a good choice in a survival situation.
I have no idea what this is called in English, nor can I find the scientific name. It's quite common. I've got this in my yard and it's easy to find in the jungle.