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The Emergency Prepper's Five Favorite Trees

An emergency prepper's best friend can be trees. They provide wood, sap, cordage, and, on occasion, water. To survive in an emergency, it is critical to understand how to identify and use various trees. You should practice recognizing them by their leaves and bark so that you can find them at any time of year. Trees can survive in a variety of environments, including areas with high soil moisture and arid environments. Accurate identification is essential for survival when using trees, so practice is essential.


Is there anyone who doesn't like maple syrup? Probably not, but you probably know a few people who have never eaten roasted maple seeds. The seeds, bark, young buds, and blossoms are all edible and have a sweet flavor, similar to maple sap.

The sap of the maple tree, like that of the white birch, can be consumed.

Even non-edible parts of the maple tree can help you survive. Maple branches are great for making kitchen utensils and even potholders.

The White Birch 

White birch is easily distinguished by its distinctive white, papery bark. The white bark of the sycamore tree is also white, but it does not slough off in thin, paper-like furls like the white birch. In addition, the sycamore has large hand-shaped leaves as opposed to the white birch's smaller, oval-shaped leaves with a pointed tip. Birch leaves are also irregularly toothed. These are almost entirely found in northern climates.

  • Sweet, drinkable sap that does not need to be purified.
  • The bark can be used to make containers.
  • Because of its resinous quality, its papery bark makes some of the best fire-starting tinder on the planet, which will light even when damp.
  • A fine tea can be made by shaving the bark from new growth or from the small twigs at the end of a branch. To make a fresh, wintergreen-flavored tea, toss a palmful of these ingredients into boiling water.
  • Tinder fungus grows almost exclusively on white birch trees. The fungus is one of the few natural materials I'm aware of that can absorb the spark.
  • The bark of the white birch can be heated over a fire to extract pine tar. Pine tar is a great natural adhesive that indigenous peoples used for a variety of things, including securing stone points on arrows.


The pine tree is one of the most adaptable and simple to recognize. With their needle-like pines and cones, these evergreen trees are difficult to miss and grow abundantly throughout North America's northeastern and central regions.

Aside from its wood, which can be burned or used to make a temporary shelter, pine sap has a variety of applications. You can use it to make a torch or start a fire, for example, or apply it to wounds to prevent infection.

Other parts of the pine tree are also beneficial. Pine needles are high in vitamins A and C and can be brewed into a tasty immune-boosting tea. Discover how to make pine needle tea.

Is it possible to eat pine bark? Both yes and no. White pine is generally thought to taste the best, and you should avoid toxic Norfolk Island Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and Yew trees.

White pine bark is high in carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber and can be fried in strips, dry roasted, or ground up and mixed with rye flour to make a sourdough bread. The pine nut, which is even tastier than the bark, can be harvested in October when the cones begin to fall.

White pine survival applications include:
  1. When mixed with tinder, resin can be used as a fire extender.
  2. To make a natural epoxy, heat resin and combine it with crushed charcoal.
  3. Resin-rich joints and stump fragments make excellent fire kindling.
  4. Pine tea can be made from green pine needles, which are high in Vitamin C.
  5. The inner bark layers can be eaten.
  6. Pine nuts can be extracted from pine cones.
  7. Pine needles are an excellent source of fire tinder.
  8. Pine needles are an excellent source of natural insulation for debris huts and survival shelters.
  9. Green pine boughs work well as lean-to shelter roofs.
  10. Green pine boughs are ideal for constructing a bed to protect against the cold ground or snow.
  11. Lower, dry, dead branches of the pine tree (squaw wood) are frequently used.
  12. Lower, dry, dead pine tree branches (squaw wood) are often some of the driest fire kindling available. The year-round needle canopy above protects it from the elements while also exposing it to the wind. These branches have also been used to make bow drill fire friction sets.
  13. Pine resin can be used to make very effective candles and lamps.
  14. Pine resin can be used to seal seams in clothing and containers.
  15. The roots' extremely pliable surface layer makes excellent (and strong) natural cordage. Use whole or cut into smaller pieces.
  16. Maple
Is there anyone who doesn't like maple syrup? Probably not, but you probably know a few people who have never eaten roasted maple seeds. The seeds, bark, young buds, and blossoms are all edible and have a sweet flavor, similar to maple sap.

The sap of the maple tree, like that of the white birch, can be consumed.

Willow Tree

There are numerous willow varieties, but every willow I've seen has the same leaf shape. The leaves are narrow, lance-shaped, and abundant along the branches. Willows require moist environments to thrive. If you've discovered a willow, there's a water source nearby. Willow bark contains salicin, a chemical that is similar to aspirin. Personally, I can attest to its effectiveness in alleviating headaches and inflammation. Simply chew on a few small green twigs and drink the juices.

American Basswood

The American Basswood, with its heart-shaped leaves and nut-like fruits, is relatively easy to identify and extremely beneficial to the emergency prepper.

From the leaves and blossoms to the seeds and inner bark, almost every part of the Basswood is edible. The inner bark is as refreshing as a slice of cucumber, despite the strange, almost gelatinous texture of the leaves. Even if you don't care for the texture or flavor, basswood seeds, leaves, and flowers can all be added to soups and stews for a little extra nutrition.

You can wrap your meals in several layers of the larger leaves, secured with strips of basswood bark, before cooking them over the coals of your campfire.

While basswood isn't particularly effective as firewood, it is, like cedar, a great way to start a fire or to make a friction fire kit.

The sap of the basswood tree, like that of the maple tree, is refreshing, hydrating, and simple to collect. It won't have the sweet flavor of maple water or all of its benefits, but it will quench your thirst on a hot summer day.

If you have a sustainable food source and don't need the bark to supplement your diet, you can use it to make cordage, baskets, or even clothes.


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