Your dog may disagree with you, but not all tree leaves are edible. There are only a few tree species that you can eat the leaves that sprout off their branches. Growing your own greens is laborious and, after you harvest them, you have to start from step one again by replanting younger green-leafed plants.
Using edible tree leaves cuts out the most time-consuming and work-intensive part of growing your greens. Your trees will be there year after year, so you don’t have to keep planting over and over again.
Here are some of the top trees whose leaves you can eat and the properties of the edible leaves they produce.
1. Hibiscus Leaves
There are quite a few edible plants in the hibiscus family, including okra. If even deep-fried okra isn’t your cup of tea, you can turn to other members of this varied family, like the cranberry hibiscus tree.
The Hibiscus acetosella has dark red leaves that you can munch on, and they provide a lovely hue to your salad. The leaves have a subtle tartness, and the beautiful flowers will dress up your lemonade pitcher.
Hibiscus trees are relatively easy to grow. They are vigorous self-seeders and like full sun but can take a little shade. These trees prefer consistent pruning and slightly acidic soil and grow around 6’ wide.
2. Sugar Maple Leaves
Acer saccharum is not only a gorgeous adornment to your outdoor area, but it provides tasty leaves. If you’re dedicated, you can tap these trees for their sap, which is then boiled down into maple syrup, an excellent sweetener with antioxidants and macronutrients.
The leaves of the sugar maple are sweet when you eat them, and if they are turning golden, which they do after the first frost, you can fry them over a fire. Sugar maples do best in a zone with definitive climates and provide a fireworks display of color in autumn.
3. American Beech Leaves
With its distinctive gray skin and dark green, glossy leaves, this towering tree is a medicinal plant used by Native Tribes in the eastern parts of North America for generations. It can help treat swelling and headaches, and its elements can be used in an excellent analgesic balm.
You can eat the young leaves of this tree, but avoid the more mature leaves because they harden as they age, making them inedible. Pick and cook the light green leaves when they just burst forth for a tasty treat in your spring salad.
4. Kratom Leaves
The spindly Kratom tree is endemic to areas in Southeast Asia like Bali, Indonesia, and Thailand. It’s a resilient tree that can grow in arid conditions or flood plains. Cultivators in these countries know the exact moment to pick the trees’ leaves so that they contain the highest number of alkaloids in them.
Most of the Kratom on the market is made from one type of Kratom leaf – red-veined Kratom. The post-harvest drying process determines which Kratom is produced from the leaves: red-, white-, or green-veined Kratom.
Kratom is a cousin of the coffee plant, and the white- or green-veined varieties (or a mixture of both) imbues a sense of focus and motivation. Those looking to enhance a serene atmosphere rely on red-veined Kratom leaves, usually crushed into a powder or made into a tea.
5. Mulberry Leaves
You may have primarily heard about the berries of the mulberry tree, but the leaves are pretty tasty as well, with some restrictions. The leaves should be cooked, and the water in which they’re boiled discarded. This procedure softens them, and you can stuff mulberry leaves with a rice and herb mixture much as you would grape leaves.
The mulberry is easy to cultivate, and you can use the trimmings for fodder or mulch. It’s drought-resistant and can survive in a range of climatic conditions. If you prune it well and plant it in an appropriate locale, the mulberry has the potential for being a very stately tree.
Latin name Crataegus monogyna, the hawthorn tree has a slew of medicinal properties and is especially good for your cardiovascular system. Its young leaves taste best when added to your spring salad.
People have used the hawthorn tree’s berries and flowers for ages, and the leaves have the same beneficial properties. The berries are high in pectin and are perfect for thickening up jams and jellies.
7. Moringa Leaves
The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree are categorized as a superfood, as they are jam-packed with tons of vitamins, like Vitamin A and C, and antioxidants. You can use almost every part of the moringa tree. They grow in subtropical and semiarid areas like India.
The leaves are made into a tea, or they are dried and powdered. You can add it to cakes, smoothies, or any other food or beverage you’d like in the powdered form.
The Final Word
Trees provide shade and gorgeous adornment to your outdoor spaces, but they can also offer beneficial results for your internal areas as well. With these edible tree leaves, you can boost your antioxidant levels by adding moringa powder to your morning smoothie or lower your stress levels with a cup of red-veined Kratom tea in the evening.