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edible leaves

Green plants are the ultimate source of all vitamins, minerals, and protein. But we all know that not everybody likes to eat green vegetables. However many nutritionists suggest that green plants are essential for good health. Plant leaves contain most nutrients however, not all plants have edible leaves.

16 Plants with Edible Leaves

  • Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.)
  • Lettuce (Lactuca Sativa)
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Coriander / Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Arugula (Eruca sativa)
  • Kale (Brassica Oleracea)
  • Microgreens
  • Collard Greens (Brassica Oleracea var. virdis)
  • Mint (Mentha)
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Beet Greens (Beta vulgaris)
  • Mustard Greens (Brassica juncea)
  • Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
  • Drumstick Tree (Moringa oleifera)
  • Mulberry Trees (Morus spp.)
  • Bay Tree (Laurus Nobilis)

1. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.)

edible leaves

Spinach is one of the most famous plants with edible leaves. Garden spinach grows annually in a temperate climate. It forms a rosette of leaves of various shapes and sizes before producing a flower. The spinach that we eat at home is made up of these leaves. Spinach provides several nutrients that are essential for the body.

Benefits and Uses of Spinach:
  • Provides a high amount of iron, folate, and vitamins A and C.
  • Additionally, it supports bone and eye health.
  • Spinach is used in salads, smoothies, and smoothies. It can also be consumed raw.
Health Risks of Spinach:
  • Excessive consumption can cause kidney stones because of the high levels of oxalate.
  • It might also cause stomach problems and diarrhea.

2. Lettuce (Lactuca Sativa)

edible leaves

Lettuce comes in various types with different colors, shapes, and sizes. Furthermore, as basic as it looks lettuce packs a lot of nutrients in its edible leaves. Lettuce can provide many nutrients to the body easily with minimal fat.

Benefits and Uses of Lettuce:
  • Provides abundant omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Abundant in vitamins B1, B2, C, D, E, and A.
  • It is also considered ideal for dieting.
  • It can help with insomnia and improves skin and hair health.
  • Also, Lettuce is used in salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps, etc.
Health Risks of Lettuce:
  • Can cause stomach problems and diarrhea.
  • It is suggested to clean lettuce thoroughly before consumption as it is prone to bacteria contamination.

3. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

edible leaves

Basil is one of the aromatic plants with edible leaves. It provides a sweet and peppery flavor to the food. Basil is grown in tropical climates and is used in a variety of food items, especially in Mediterranean Asian countries.

Benefits and Uses of Basil:
  • Basil is filled with vitamins C, A, K, and antioxidants.
  • It helps with worm infections and digestion.
  • Basil also helps in lowering blood sugar levels.
  • It is widely used as a salad dressing, salads, sauces, and tea.
Health Risks of Basil:
  • Can worsen blood-related disorders- such as increased bleeding and slow blood clotting.

4. Coriander / Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

edible leaves

Coriander also known as cilantro, this plant not only has edible leaves but all parts such as stems and seeds are also edible. The leaves have a somewhat citrus-like taste. It is most commonly used in Mexican, Asian, and Indian cuisines.

Benefits And Uses of Coriander:
  • A rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, and antioxidants.
  • This plant also helps in detoxification and digestion.
  • It is used in many drinks, salsa, and salads.
Health Risks of Coriander:
  • Can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • It can interfere with the medications for many ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure. So consult with your health care provider before the consumption of this plant.

5. Arugula (Eruca sativa)

edible leaves

Arugula also known as rocket or rucola is known all across the world for its peppery and slightly nutty-flavored edible leaves. The taste of this plant can either captivate you or disgust you. Arugula is famous in Italy and is used as an addition to pizzas.

Benefits and Uses of Arugula
  • It is rich in vitamins K, A, and C and folate.
  • Arugula strengthens bone health and the immune system.
  • It also improves vision.
  • This plant is used in salads, pesto, sandwiches, and salads.
Health Risks of Arugula:
  • High levels of nitrates can be harmful.
  • However, rich vitamin K can interfere with blood-thinning medicines.

6. Kale (Brassica Oleracea)

edible leaves

Kale comes from the family of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. It is a leafy edible plant with tolerance to cool temperatures. This plant can also be grown in areas with higher pollution. Kale is the perfect choice for someone who is looking for a fresh vegetable in winter.

Benefits and Uses of Kale:
  • Kale is rich in carotenoids and vitamins C, A, and K.
  • This plant actively fights many toxins in the body which makes it ideal for the prevention of cancer.
  • Additionally consuming kale can help in digestion and improve metabolism.
  • It is used in salads, sauces, chips, and smoothies.
Health Risks of Kale:
  • The high potassium content of kale can affect people with weak kidneys.
  • It can interfere with blood-thinning medications.

7. Microgreens

edible leaves

These can be considered a combination of all seedlings of different green plants. Microgreens are grown from the seeds and are harvested at the early seedling stage. Furthermore, they are famous plants with edible leaves and other parts. They taste like sprouts and have an intense flavor.

Benefits and Uses of Microgreens:
  • Microgreens contain 4 to 5 times more nutrients than mature plants.
  • Microgreens are easy to grow and can reach the harvesting stage in 1 to 2 weeks.
  • This plant can boost the immune system and cure many heart-related diseases.
  • Also, it is used in many smoothies, sandwiches, and salad dressings.
Health Risks of Microgreens:
  • There are no known risks of microgreens but one should always purchase the seeds from a creditable store and clean them thoroughly before consumption.

8. Collard Greens (Brassica Oleracea var. virdis)

edible leaves

This is another plant with edible leaves that are closely related to kale, cabbage, and mustard greens. They have dark and thick leaves that taste bitter but lesser than kale. But while cooking the bitterness reduces. Collard greens are popular among other plants of the same species.

Benefits of Using Collard Greens:
  • These plants are high in vitamins C, K, and A and minerals such as calcium and manganese.
  • They can improve bone health and help in detoxification.
  • Collard greens are used in salads and stews.
Health Risks of Collard Greens:
  • A high content of calcium can contribute to kidney stone formation.

9. Mint (Mentha)

edible leaves

Mint is the most refreshing and flavorful plant with edible leaves on this list. Additionally, it’s a very popular and widely used plant that has many benefits along with its mouth-watering flavor.

Benefits and Uses of Mint:
  • Mint is rich in A and C and antioxidants.
  • Mint is used in many drinks, candies, teas, cocktails, and desserts.
  • It helps in digestion and also freshens breath.
Health Risks of Mint:
  • Although it can increase acid reflux in some individuals.

10. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley is another plant with edible leaves that is both refreshing and flavorful just like mint. It has vibrant green leaves that have a slightly peppery taste that can uplift your mood and improve your overall taste.

Benefits and Uses of Parsley:
  • Parsley is rich in vitamins A, C, and K.
  • They can improve kidney and liver health.
  • Additionally, Parsley is used in smoothies, drinks, salads, and soups.
Health Risks of Parsley:
  • Excessive parsley can cause anemia and liver and kidney damage.

11. Beet Greens (Beta vulgaris)

Beet greens are the leafy part of the beetroot plant that most people discard without realizing that these are edible leaves. These leaves are dark in color and have red veins. They taste just like Swiss chard but sweeter. This plant is also full of nutrients besides being delicious.

Benefits and Uses of Beet Greens:
  • Beet greens are full of vitamins like A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, and K. They also contain copper, iron, manganese, and potassium.
  • Beet greens help in improving eyesight, immunity, skin health, and bone health.
  • plant is used in salads, pasta, and smoothies.
Health Risks of Beet Greens:
  • High amounts of nitrate can cause certain types of cancer on excessive consumption.

12. Mustard Greens (Brassica juncea)

Mustard is famous for its healthy tiny yellowish seeds that are used in many items. But the leaves of this plant are also nutritious and edible. These leaves add a bitter spicy flavour to any dish. Mustard greens are easy to prepare and can be consumed in many forms.

Benefits and Uses of Mustard Greens:
  • This plant with edible leaves is rich in vitamins A, C, and K and also potassium, calcium, and many antioxidants.
  • Mustard greens boost the health of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
  • Can be used in salads and soups.
Health Risks of Mustard Greens:
  • However, it can affect thyroid functioning.

13. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)

Cabbage is one of the most well-known plants with edible leaves. The leaves have a mild sweet or peppery taste depending on the variety and are very nutritious. Also, this leafy plant can be consumed in many ways.

Benefits and Uses of Cabbage:
  • Cabbage leaves are vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • They help with reducing cholesterol levels and also help in digestion.
  • Can be used in salads, stir-fries, and sales.
Health Risks of Cabbage:
  • Can cause gas-bloating in some people on over consumption.

14. Drumstick Tree (Moringa oleifera)

Drumstick tree also known as the horseradish tree is native to India and is grown widely in tropical and subtropical regions. These trees with edible leaves have pinnate leaves that are composed of small leaflets. They have a mildly bitter taste.

Benefits and Uses of Drumstick Tree:
  • The leaves of this tree have antimicrobial qualities and are rich in vitamin C.
  • These leaves can prevent chronic diseases, maintains blood sugar levels, and helps in boosting the immune system.
  • Furthermore, these leaves are used as culinary herbs in many soups, curries, and stews.
Health Risks of Drumstick Trees:
  • These trees with edible leaves are usually safe for consumption but overconsumption can have a laxative effect. Pregnant women should exercise caution.

15. Mulberry Trees (Morus spp.)

These trees with edible leaves have broad, heart-shaped leaves that are very beneficial and nutritious. The tree also produces small, juicy fruits called mulberries. The leaves have a mild flavor.

Benefits and Uses of Mulberry Trees:
  • The leaves are rich in vitamin C and iron.
  • The tree leaves help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Additionally, Mulberry leaves are used in herbal leaves, salads, and cooked dishes.
Health Risks of Mulberry Trees:
  • Some individuals may be allergic to mulberry pollen.
  • Additionally, some of the species of these trees with edible leaves may produce toxins.

16. Bay Tree (Laurus Nobilis)

These trees with edible leaves have glossy and dark green leaves. Also, the leaves have a mild, earthy taste. These trees are native to Mediterranean regions. Additionally, this tree is evergreen and the leaves have a strong aromatic flavor.

Benefits and Uses of Bay Tree:
  • These are known for their essential oils.
  • They provide many digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Furthermore, the leaves are used to add flavor to soups, sauces, and stews.
Health Risks of Bay Tree:
  • However, if eaten whole they can choke or cause gastrointestinal irritations as they are sharp.

Why Grow Plants With Edible Leaves?

Many vitamins such as K, C, A, and minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium are present in green plants. These nutrients play a vital role in the daily functioning of the body and the consumption of green plants provides the right amount of these nutrients and ensures the optimal functioning of various bodily processes such as the immune system, maintaining good health, and bone health.

Apart from providing an abundance of nutrients green plants also clean our environment by producing fresh oxygen and eradicating harmful toxins from the air. Oxygen is also essential for our cells to function properly. Green plants also help in maintaining appropriate greenhouse levels in the atmosphere.


1. Which plants have edible leaves?

Ans: Some common plants with edible leaves include lettuce, spinach, kale, coriander, and arugula.

2. How can I incorporate edible leaves into my diet?

Ans: Edible leaves can be consumed raw in salads, added to sandwiches or wraps, sautéed, steamed, blended into smoothies, or used as a garnish or herb in dishes.

3. Are all parts of these plants edible or just the leaves?

Ans: In most cases, only the leaves of these plants are edible. However, some herbs like basil and mint have edible leaves and stems, but the roots, flowers, and seeds of these plants are not typically consumed.

4. Can I grow plants with edible leaves indoors?

Ans: Yes, several plants with edible leaves can be grown indoors, including microgreens, leafy herbs like parsley or cilantro, and small spinach varieties. Moreover, proper lighting and watering are crucial for indoor cultivation.

5. Are there any safety precautions when consuming edible leaves?

Ans: It’s important to thoroughly wash all edible leaves before consuming to remove any dirt or pesticides. Furthermore, it’s also recommended to consume them in moderation and consult a healthcare professional if you have any specific dietary concerns or allergies.


Leafy and nutritious plants are essential for our body to maintain its functioning. By incorporating these plants and trees with edible leaves in our daily diet we can ensure to get nutritious content that many processed food fails to provide. By increasing the demand for these plants we can also contribute to their percentage in nature as some of these plants are not popular as others.

Also, while most of these plants are very beneficial and nutritious their overconsumption can lead to many side effects in some individuals. So it is suggested to consult with a nutritionist before adding them to your diet.

To know more about edible plants that you can also grow at home check out this article.

Top 16 Plants With Edible Leaves
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Top 16 Plants With Edible Leaves
Explore the top 16 plants with edible leaves that can provide many nutritious and healthy benefits to the body. Many plants with edible leaves are essential for the body and can provide a relief from various ailments.
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