Native Foods

Cultivated Plants

Florida natives grew, or highly encouraged to grow, many plants and herbs such as:

  • maize
  • beans
  • squash
  • pumpkins
  • gourds
  • citrons
  • sunflowers

Wild Plants Collected

Women and children spent much of their time gathering plants, herbs, roots and barks for use as food, medicine or weaving materials.

  • acorns
  • hickory nuts
  • plums
  • blackberries
  • elderberries
  • peppervine
  • ground cherries
  • bristlegrass
  • spatterdock
  • yucca
  • cabbage palm
  • water lily
  • rivercane
  • palm berries
  • wild cherries
  • persimmons
  • blueberries
  • huckleberries
  • poke weed
  • amaranth
  • broomgrass
  • cattail
  • ache
  • morning glory
  • saw palmetto
  • yaupon
  • smartweed
  • knotted
  • bullrush
  • nut sedge
  • buttonbush
  • watershield
  • sea grapes
  • coco plums
  • coontie
  • prickley pear
  • sea oats
  • goosefoot

Fishing Harvests

Natives harvested the rivers, lakes and seas with their nets and weirs. These are some of the many food items they caught:

  • catfish
  • perch
  • trout
  • bream
  • redfish
  • porpoise
  • tarpon
  • drum
  • gar
  • bass
  • bluegill
  • rays
  • sunfish
  • sheephead
  • croaker
  • grouper
  • mullet
  • sawfish
  • manatee
  • whales
  • sharks

Shellfish

Shellfish were collected whenever possible, as evidenced by the huge midden mounds of shell that still line the coasts and other waterways of Florida today.

  • oysters
  • snails
  • clams
  • coquina
  • conch
  • crabs

Game Animals

Warriors hunted large game with bows and arrows. Women and children stalked smaller game and birds. Some of the animals that were hunted include:

  • deer
  • raccoon
  • gray fox
  • squirrel
  • cotton mole
  • red wolf
  • otter
  • seal
  • rabbit
  • cotton mouse
  • bobcat
  • beaver
  • wood rat
  • muskrat
  • mink
  • bison
  • turkey
  • bear
  • panther
  • opossum
  • gophers
  • skunk
  • weasel

Reptiles

Even reptiles were hunted and utilized for food. They include:

  • rat snake
  • toads
  • snapping turtle
  • box turtle
  • rattlesnake
  • cottonmouth moccasin
  • slider turtle
  • soft shelled turtle
  • black snake
  • alligator
  • chicken turtle
  • leopard frog
  • green water snake
  • brown water snake
  • pond turtle
  • musk turtle
  • mud snake
  • cooter turtle
  • coachwhip
  • kingsnake
  • indigo snake
  • gopher tortoise

Birds

Birds were utilized for both feathers and meat and were hunted with bolas or with traps. Some of these include:

  • pelican
  • auk
  • crane
  • gannet
  • turkey vulture
  • gull
  • eagle
  • ibis
  • cormorant
  • heron
  • duck
  • geese
  • loon
  • turkey
  • egret