Before our modern way of living, trees were essential to multiple industries. When you return to a more primitive lifestyle, trees become crucial again. How many people can identify what kind of tree they’re looking at, though? You will want to memorize these four trees and their multiple uses in a survival situation.
White Oak: White oaks have rounded leaf lobes, unlike red oaks. They produce edible acorns that have less tannic acid than red oaks. Due to the high number of acorns, the oak family is difficult to misidentify. A white oak tree has bark that is off-white to ash and color. It can be scaly or platelike, but older trees tend to have smoother bark. The acorns are approximately 3/4 of an inch long. Any oak will do for survival, but the white oak is the tastiest. The oak is vital to survival because of the following.
- The acorns produced by the oak can be ground up and used as a flower to make acorn bread. These are free or nearly free carbohydrates just waiting around the forest floor.
- Tannic acid, extracted by boiling or leeching the acorns, is an antibacterial solution. You can use it to rinse or wash wounds. Tannic acid is also a very good antidiarrheal should that occur.
- Tannic acid is also used in tanning leather.
- Oakwood is tough and thus very useful. It can be used to make ax handles, shelters, flooring, and anything else that you would typically use wood for that doesn’t need to be flexible. It splits straight with some effort, making it very good for building a rough shelter.
Sugar Maple: The sugar Maple is most abundant on the United States East Coast. You can recognize these trees by the red-orange and yellow hue their leaves turn in the fall. The leaves have five lobes, and the tips are pointed. The bark is smooth and silvery. They have helicopter seeds that are usually a pretty good indicator that this is a Maple tree. Any Maple tree will give you sap, but the Sugar Maple has the highest sugar content.
- Before the tree leaves in the early spring or late winter, its sap is running. The sugar Maple is an excellent source of drinkable sap that doesn’t need to be purified. Identifying any maples in the area before this time is essential because identifying them without leaves is difficult. You can fill a quart jar full of SAP with sugar and other nutrients within 15 minutes from a very mature Maple.
- Inside the little helicopters, there are seeds. These little seeds are edible. You must take the helicopter off the outside, boil the seeds, and flavor them before eating.
- Springtime Maple leaves are also edible. You can boil them down into spring greens. Be sure to remove the leaves’ stems and veins before boiling them down. Older leaves become bitter and rough.
Willow Tree: The Willow tree comes in more than a dozen varieties. Every Willow typically has a very narrow and long leaf shape. They tend to grow along riverbanks or in swampy areas, so keep in mind that if there’s a Willow nearby, there’s water nearby.
- All willows contain at least some salicin in their bark. This is a chemical that modern-day aspirin is based on. It is claimed to be an effective pain reliever, but that’s in dispute. What isn’t in dispute, however, is that willow bark reduces fevers and has been used for centuries in tea.
- If you take the small branches of a Willow and peel the bark off, it makes excellent cordage.
- Willow branches and saplings are extremely flexible. They can be used to make baskets and funnel traps to help you get food.
White Pine Tree: We need to specify the white pine tree because it has the most survival uses. Any other pine tree may have all of these uses but do your due diligence and look them up first. The batches of the needles identify the white pine. Each batch of needles has a total of five. The white pine loses all of its older needles every fall and keeps only its first-year needles. It is an Evergreen and will stay green all year due to this. It produces cones instead of flowers. The humble white pine tree is the most crucial survival tree you should memorize.
- You can make pine tea from the green needles that are rich in vitamin C.
- You can harvest pine nuts from the pinecones by steaming them to open them and release their nuts.
- The inner bark is edible and has been used during times of famine.
- Boiling the wood of the pine tree will release a resin. This resin can be heated and mixed with crushed charcoal to make epoxy.
- This resin added to tinder material or sticks make excellent fire starter material.
- Dried pine needles can be collected and assembled into small pine baskets.
- You can use green boughs for a bough bed to protect you from the cold ground. They can also be used as a roof for our survival shelter.
- Pine resin can help to create candles and lamps. It can also waterproof seams in clothing and primitive wood containers.
- Pine tar, made by heating Pinewood until the SAP comes out and then distilling it using extreme heat, has been used for medical purposes for centuries as a topical antiseptic and antifungal.
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