Wild Cards

Camping Survival has some really cool stuff in their product line. They are an excellent resource for just about anything you can imagine that is prepper or survival related. While surfing their site a while back, I stumbled across an item that I recommend to all who are interested in learning more about wild edibles.

Wild Cards is a deck of playing cards with a twist. Designed by author Linda Runyon, each cards gives quite a bit of information on a specific plant that could be beneficial in a survival situation.

The back of each card has a full color photo of the plant and its name, one or two line drawings of the plant, and a shaded map of North America, showing the range of where you’ll find it growing.

The front of each card is where you’ll find the following:

–Plant name
–Latin name
–Alias names
–Which parts of the plant are edible
–Characteristic features of the plant (number of leaves, height, etc.)
–Uses of the plant (how to prepare the plant for consumption, medicinal properties, etc.)
–Hints (other uses, such as cordage, using sap for glue, etc.)

The front is also marked as a traditional playing card (Ace through King, all four suits).

What I really like about Wild Cards is that it includes the information about how to eat the plant. Too many wild edible guides simply tell you what plants are good to eat without giving hints on how to prepare them. Is it better raw or cooked? Is it something you should use as tea or salad? Are there parts of the plant that should not be eaten? All of that information and more is contained on each card here.

Another nice feature is that each card has a small hole punched in the corner. The deck comes with a small bead chain that you can use to string all the cards together. Doing so prevents the cards from spilling all over the place in your pack.

What I suggest is picking up a deck of Wild Cards over at Camping Survival and, after familiarizing yourself with them, stashing the deck in your kit. Take them out from time to time and use them in place of your regular deck of cards when playing solitaire or rummy. Of course, being that the back of each card shows a different plant, you’ll soon begin to correlate which plants are the aces and such. That’s not a bad thing, though. That just means you’re learning more and more about each card (and thus, each plant) every time you play with them.

However, do not look at a deck of Wild Cards as being the end all, be all, resource for learning about wild edibles. It is merely one of several tools available to you. I recommend picking up a good guide book as well and use it in conjunction with the Wild Cards. Two books I highly recommend are:

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Wild Edible Plants

Currently, Wild Cards are available from Camping Survival for under thirteen dollars. This is a small, yet awesome, investment into your self-sufficiency in the face of disaster.