Native Plants In Kauai That Are Edible and Where to Find Them

Is there truly anything better than savoring fresh fruit while traveling through paradise? If that’s your idea of the perfect day, then Kauai is the destination for you. This lush, tropical island boasts a cornucopia of native, edible plants ready for you to enjoy at your leisure. Ready to make your dreams come true? Use this guide to learn where to discover these tasty eats on the Garden Isle.

Disclaimer: Never consume any part of a plant unless you’re 100% sure of its identity. Always cross-reference edibility info from several trusted sources before consuming foraged fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Keep in mind that some plants have both edible and toxic parts. Also, some fruits should only be eaten when fully ripe. Err on the side of caution to stay safe on your Kauai foraging adventures.  

8 Native Plants in Kauai That Are Edible


Guava is a delightful tropical fruit with a sweet and tangy flavor. Oftentimes, you’ll smell its sweet aroma wafting through the air before you spot the fruits hanging from the tree branches. This fruit tastes delicious when eaten fresh or used in your favorite recipes. Its flesh can be red, pink, or white, although it always has tiny, edible seeds inside. Typically, this fruit grows along hidden hiking trails, waiting to reward you for a trek well done.


Pineapples and paradise are an iconic duo that you must experience at least once in your life. This fruit is more than a tasty morsel; it’s a symbol of hospitality and the bright aloha spirit. While pineapple originally came from off the island, they’re now as Hawaiian as the surf and sand. You cannot usually find them growing in the wild. But you just have to take a trip to the Hole in the Mountain Farm to grab a few incredible Sugarloaf Pineapples for yourself.  


Also known as ‘ulu by the locals, breadfruit is an incredibly interesting tropical fruit. It starts as a bumpy bright green fruit before eventually turning a rich yellow as it ripens. Once it’s ripe, you can cut it into wedges and then roast it over the fire to prepare it for good eating. As soon as you take a bite, you’ll be thrilled to find that it tastes like hot, buttery bread fresh out of the oven. You can typically find this fruit growing in public parks and along trails all over the island.  

Mamey Sapote

Mamey Sapote doesn’t look like much when you first encounter this light brown, football-shaped fruit. But as soon as you cut it open, its vivid orange flesh lets you know that you’re in for a real treat. You can eat it raw, although it’s simply exquisite when blending into milkshakes and smoothies. The flavors dance between almond, chocolate, and pumpkin, giving you all the best desserts in every morsel. It’s typically found at farmer’s markets, although you might find a few growing on resort grounds if you’re lucky.  

Mountain Apples

Once you’ve gotten a taste of mountain apples, you’ll always find yourself craving another bite, especially when the warm summer weather arrives. While they’re also known as Malay apples, this fruit isn’t even in the apple family. Instead, they’re more like a softer, sweeter pear. They’re particularly good eaten raw with a dusting of li hing mui powder, although you can make them into a pie, too. Keep your eyes peeled for these delightful fruits while hiking through the lowlands.


If you’d like to take your Kauai meals to the next level, go on the hunt for some local watercress. This crispy, peppery vegetable works beautifully in stir-fry, salads, salmon, and so much more. You can even use them to make watercress soup. To find these plants, search the freshwater streams all across Kauai. Or consider taking a trip to Sumida Watercress Farm. This farm grows more than 75% of the watercress on the island, making it the go-to place for the freshest produce around.


Seaweed is another edible aquatic plant you can easily find while visiting Kauai. You just have to take a stroll along the shore to find locals gathering various types, including limu kohu. This reddish-brown seaweed has a subtly salty taste that works perfectly in poke bowls. Another treat from the deep is ogo, a crisp, briny plant best enjoyed in salads or eaten fresh with a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil.


Wild ginger abounds across Kauai, weaving tales of spice and wonder. This plant has a zesty essence that pumps up the flavor of practically any savory meal. It also works well in fresh juices and smoothies by balancing the sweetness with a spicy kick. You can typically find ginger along the trails through forested lands. Look for the telltale clumps of long green leaves and then get ready to dig up the zesty roots.

Where Else to Find Edible Native Plants on Kauai

If you cannot find native edible plants while exploring Kauai, you don’t have to give up hope. Instead, set your sights on a visit to a local farmer’s market or a roadside farm stand. The offerings available at these locations change with the season, so check back whenever possible to try what’s in season at the time.

You can also get the inside scoop on where to forage by joining the Food & Foraging Tour from Kauai Hiking Tours. This trip will teach you how to find fresh fruits, collect them, and prepare them for eating without leaving the wilderness.

No matter where you go on Kauai, keep your eyes peeled for fresh fruit, produce, and herbs to enjoy on your travels. Your efforts will reward you with the tastiest treats around, elevating your island adventures to great heights.