11 Edible plants in the Sahara Desert

When someone says the name of any desert than you think of hot, arid, rocky and sandy places. Desert is the most difficult place to live in and especially the Sahara desert which is located in Northern Africa. It is the world’s hottest desert and What if you get in a situation where you get trapped in the Sahara for some reason and have no water and food supplies. What would you do? How you would be able to eat and drink water in the harsh conditions of Sahara? The only solution is to not take your body into the starvation mode. If you managed to eat well than you could easily find your way out of Sahara. 

The first thing which you should keep in mind is that every plant is not edible. Most of the plants or even small animals are poisonous and could be very dangerous in your survival. The most important thing for survival is water and I recommend that if you get lost in Sahara than first go and search for water. You could live without food for 3 weeks but if you do not provide your body with water then you could die within 3 to 4 days. Do not eat more unless you get the source of water because once you start eating your body would require more water.

Luckily there are some edible plants in the Sahara Desert from where you could get water. But be very careful because there are more than 500 species of plants in the Sahara Desert and all of them are not edible. Anyway, in this guide, I will show you the Eleven edible plants in the Sahara Desert.

  • Prickly Pear Cactus

The good news is all the prickly pears cactus are edible, they may taste horrible but very good sources of water and essential nutrients. Although in the Cactus family the taste of prickly pears is fabulous. It has high sugar and fiber with more than 85% of the water in it.

The light green leaves with it are also edible called pads. You could consume it like a salad or even boiled them. The red fruit attached to it is called tuna and very tasty. They are dry but have decent water in it and has a good taste.

  • Saguaro Cactus

These can be found abundant in the Sahara Desert. These are very tall cactus like 45 feet tall and live more than 200 years. In May they produce white flowers with the yellow shade in the center of it. From early spring till monsoon they bear edible large pink and red fruit.

Even if you do not find the white edible flowers you could still get benefit from its spongy, fibrous interior that acts as a sponge for keeping the water in the plant. You can eat it and extract the water from it to quench your thrust and survive in the desert.

  • Desert Christmas Cactus

They look like a small shrub and can grow up to 2 feet. They usually produce little red berries spikes on them but you can cut those spikes with a knife and use it. They can easily be found alongside bushes.

Their taste resembles the taste of Strawberries and they are a very good source of Vitamin C and A.

  • Chia Sage

The seed of these plants provides a short term boost in your energy. They are also known as golden chia or desert chia. This short plant with dim purplish spiky balls with periwinkle-hued small blooms and little leaves can be eaten crude or utilized as a flavoring for soups and stews. You can eat this plant as a whole. It may grow as an individual flower in moist areas. It can grow up from a few inches to 2 feet.

  • Agave

Agave plants look similar to aloe and fluctuate in shading from almost blue to bright or dark green. Although some of its species are too dry to be eaten if we talk about as a whole then you could eat the full plant without any worries.

  • Pinyon Pine

There are two assortments of the pinyon pine and they resemble a blend of a Christmas-type pine tree and a pine tree that develops in a thick shape. The seeds, known as pine nuts and they are stuffed with nutrition and the taste of it is Yummy.

  • Mesquite

Mesquite trees produce cases that look similar to beans.  You can dry them and pound them into a flour that can be blended with water to be eaten crude or heated into a cake.

  • Cholla Cactus

Hikers do not like this plant but if you want to survive in the desert then this would be your best friend. The flowers and seeds are chewable and you get a hell of nutrition from it. The plant is busy and has spikes on it so, be very careful because it could be very painful to touch them.

  • Yucca

Yucca plants are made of numerous spiky leaves that fan into a round plant and they grew the fruits in the summers which could be boiled or can be eaten raw. The leave would be oily and could be eaten by peeling the outer skin and boiling the inner part. Even the roots of these plants are edible. You could even consume it without boiling. But you could not eat the roots without boiling because in roots there would be toxic called saponin. Boil them and remove the saponin out of it.

  • Miners Lettuce

It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable and it is very good to prevent scurvy. The taste of miners is not as good as the lettuce but it can be eaten raw with salads. Other than Sahara it can be found in the regions of North America.

  • Stinging Nettle

It sounds weird but nettles can be eaten raw but be very careful and neutralize the acid in that which could harm you. Use your teeth, knife or another sharp weapon to crush nettle leaves and eliminate their sting.

You could visit Sahara and can eat these Plants with expert advice. A most popular place to visit Sahara is its western Part which is located in Morocco. You can visit Marrakech and visit the Sahara Desert and see most of these Plants there.  3 days desert tour from Marrakech is the most popular package in Marrakech. I highly recommend to go there and enjoy the breath-taking views of Sahara Desert and enjoy the flavor of these plants under experts.