OK, another one, and this is not traditional/naturalized, except "here and there"...CHAYA. I have a big potted Chaya in the greenhouse which comes out in the summer; but little ones resprout from Winter dieback in the yard; they are up a foot or so and full of leaves already. (And Chaya is interesting in that it makes more leaves, the more it is picked; sorta like okra). If you are careful to buy the less-toxic type (the one they actually eat as food in Central America) you don't have to leach it and discard the water and reboil, etc. The one I have is edible, they say, raw; but we cook it just in case. It is VERY good! and they produce like mad all through the heat of summer!
I almost hate to say this because it is another non-native plant; but tindora/perennial cucumber is a very valuable plant here as well, also sprouting back each Spring from last year's fallen fruits as well as from the tubers. The leaves and shoots as well as the little fruits (while straight and still green) are all edible, prolific, and delicious!!
I got a new book, named something like "Herbalism for Preppers & Homesteaders" - well, it is a joke; the author is just quoting old and even ancient sources and omitting pertinent info; but the thing that really gets me is, it is written for the Northern US and Northern Europe, listing plants we may be able to find sparkly here, but mostly not at all. And so please jump in with medicinal plants as well, either indigenous to the South or happy here.
Our "problem" in the South is that the "classic" wild food and medicinal plants do not grow well here; they like it cool. Burdock, Stinging Nettle, Rampion, Crabapple, Sugar Maple, etc etc. So let's work on listing the ones that DO like heat; they are all around us but that doesn't help if we haven't "met". Anyone grow up using Sweet Gum for a refreshing chaw?
We have a lot of trees/shrubs with edible leaves, and those are formed but still young and tender now: all of the mulberries, all of the mallow family including Althea & Confederate Rose, poplars and Sugarberry.
In our area, goldenrod deserves a mention as it is not only edible but medicinal; also yarrow. (But to me, the "edible" leaves of yarrow are unpalatable; anybody ever do it cooked? You cannot add much, to a salad)
Agastache LEAVES, before the plants flower, are delicious and abundant; Native Americans favored these anise-scented leaves cooked with meats. You can later collect the flower heads for tea if you like. I think there is a medicinal application for it...but it's just tasty. This is an easy perennial here, and native.
Y'all, I have never liked hen bit raw; does anyone on here cook it or have any other fave preparation?