Edible Plant Guide
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Indian Potato or Eskimo Potato

Indian Potato, Eskimo Potato or Spring Beauty

Claytonia species

Description

All of the various Claytonia species are somewhat fleshy plants only a few centimeters tall, with showy flowers about 2.5 centimeters across. The blossoms have five petals, and the stem of the plant is usually narrower where it is in the soil (which makes digging the tubers out a challenge).

Habitat and Distribution

Some species are found in rich forests where they are conspicuous before the leaves develop. Western species are found throughout most of the northern United States and in Canada.

Edible Parts

The tubers are edible but you should boil them before eating.

Steve's notes:

These plants are also called "spring beauty" in the northern states. Indian potato can be found in many hardwood forests across North America. The tubers can be tough to dig up because in most varieties the stem is thinnest underground, and it's easy to break it before you locate the edible part. Once you learn to recognize the tubers, though, you can dig in any area that has a few of the flowers and find them without having to follow the stems down.

Most of the time, they are only a centimeter or so in diameter. It takes a lot of them to make a meal, but they are delicious. I have eaten them raw without any ill effects, but they are generally roasted or boiled (either alone or as part of a soup or stew).



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The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Indian Potato or Eskimo Potato