Becoming a survivalist is all about learning how to utilize the natural resources in the wild at your disposal to help yourself stay alive. If there’s one natural resource in the wild that will be to your benefit more than any other, it’s a tree.
Trees, in general, are perhaps the most underappreciated plants in the world. They are immensely useful for removing air pollution and serve a vital role in the world’s ecosystem. It’s because of trees that we even have forests in the first place!
If you’re just starting your research into trees and the ways they can aid you in a survival situation, you’re in the right place. Here are fifteen trees that could save your life in a survival situation:
These are trees that produce edible parts that can be consumed to help keep you alive in a survival situation, depending on how you prepare them (for safety reasons):
Oak trees are very widespread throughout the United States.
They are easily recognizable and also provide an excellent nutrition source.
This is because the nuts produced by oak trees, acorns, come loaded with fats and carbohydrates.
Acorns can either be consumed directly or used to make a delicious and nutritious ‘survival tea’, but only once they have been prepared properly. Oak comes with a high level of tannin, which can irritate the stomach and the digestive system if it is consumed in too high of amounts.
When harvesting the acorns from an oak tree, after cracking open the shell remember to peel off the skin that covers the flesh of the acorn inside (the skin is the part of the acorn that contains the highest level of tannin) and then boil the acorns for at least fifteen minutes. This will make the acorns safe to consume.
Another tree that is well known for its nutritious nuts is the pine tree.
Pine nuts (the seeds of pine cones) come loaded with healthy fats and proteins, and can be consumed directly either raw or by being roasted over a fire.
Related: How To Make Pine Bark Bread
You can also create pine needle tea by steeping pine needles, which contain high levels of Vitamin C, in hot water. When you’re alone and cold in the wild, a warm cup of tea will be immensely comforting.
Maple trees are most famous for producing the maple syrup that we often use on our waffles and pancakes.
It takes a high level of processing to make the sweet maple syrup that we enjoy with our breakfasts
So it’s simply not feasible to make it in a survival situation.
Instead, however, you can take the seeds of maple trees (called ‘samaras’) and either consume them raw or after roasting over a fire.
The following trees contain strong medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties, depending on the parts of the tree that you use and how you prepare them. Find out more below:
Black Walnut Tree
Black walnut trees contain strong antiparasitic and antifungal properties in their leaves and bark.
If you sustain a rash, wound, or a blister, the hulls of a black walnut tree could help.
Take the hull of the black walnut tree and then crush it down into a poultice.
You can then apply it directly to the site of your skin irritation or wound to feel relief.
The medicinal properties of elderberry trees are well-known for being very healthy for the immune system.
They can be included in teas or syrups that you can make out in the wild. Simply boil the elderberries you harvest in water, and then mash them to make a syrup-like substance.
It won’t be as sweet as what you can buy in the store, but it will offer good support to your immune system.
Avoid eating the elderberries raw without boiling, as it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Eucalyptus trees are world renowned for the aromatic scent to their leaves that are used in eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil also contains strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
In a survival situation, you can boil eucalyptus leaves in water and allow them to steep before drinking.
Just be very conservative with the amount of eucalyptus leaves that you step, because taking too much can also result in vomiting or diarrhea.
Alternatively, you can make a poultice out of mashed eucalyptus leaves mixed with water and apply directly to the site of a rash, blister, or open wound for relief. Applying eucalyptus leaves to your skin will act as a natural bug repellent as well.
The leaves of the neem tree are renowned for their potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. This makes them a versatile remedy for various skin conditions and issues.
Take the leaves and mash them down into a poultice, and then apply directly to the site of irritated or injured skin.
This herbal preparation not only provides effective pain relief but also serves as a proactive measure to minimize the risk of infections.
You can find willow trees near water sources, so if you see willow then chances are good a pond, lake, or stream is nearby.
The bark of willow trees also contains high levels of salicin.
This can help to relieve headache and reduce inflammation from open wounds.
Simply chew on the twigs and then swallow the juice that oozes out.
Fire Starting Trees
While the wood from almost any tree can be used as fuel to get a fire started, the wood from the following trees will burn the best due to their low moisture content:
A common presence in the eastern United States, the basswood tree is another type of tree that commonly grows near water sources.
It’s one of the best trees for getting a fire by friction going because the bark is among the strongest of any trees found in North America.
If you want to get a fire going by either rubbing two sticks together or using the bow drill method, a basswood tree is one of the best options to go with.
Birch trees are well-noted in survival circles because the bark will often ignite even when it is wet.
If you come across a birch tree in the wild, be sure to peel off as much of the bark as you can before moving on. You can then use it as kindling later for getting a fire started.
The wood from a beech tree is well-known for having a low moisture content relative to other kinds of trees.
This makes it much more easy to ignite.
Once it has been ignited, the wood from a beech tree should burn steadily with a consistent flame rather.
This is in stark contrast to the wood sourced from many other types of trees, which often tends to burn out quickly.
Cedar trees are noted for their resinous wood.
It burns very easily, even when the wood is green or filled with moisture.
The bark of a cedar can also be easily shredded or pulled apart to turn into fibers for kindling or tinder.
If you come across a cedar tree, be sure to pull some of the bark off of the tree and carry it with you for this reason.
Fatwood Pine Tree
Another tree that is known for its resinous wood is the fatwood pine tree.
Like the cedar tree, the wood from a fatwood pine tree will burn and ignite very intensely, including in unusually wet conditions.
The bark will also make for effective kindling and tinder.
Shelter Building Trees
As with fire building, the wood from any type of trees can technically be used to build a shelter.
But the following trees are among the most effective due to their durability and the needles on the branches that can provide additional insulation:
The branches of hemlock trees come with almost feather-like needles.
When piled up over another, these branches will create a dense and comfortable flooring for your survival shelter.
For added insulation and rain protection, you can arrange these needled-branches on the sides or place them atop your shelter.
This dual-purpose utilization ensures both comfort and weather resilience for your makeshift refuge.
The wood of a yew tree is very dense, which makes it a highly durable choice for building shelters as well as other wooden-based survival items such as walking sticks or spears for self-defense.
Take note that yew trees are very toxic to humans when ingested, so they don’t have any medicinal or nutritional value.
You should also wear a dust mask when cutting yew wood, since its sawdust is an irritant.
When it comes to a survival situation in the forest specifically, pay close attention to the trees around you.
There are simply no other plants or natural resources that will aid you more in your survival efforts than trees, and it’s also important to recognize different types of trees and remember the different ways that they can help you.
Then, learn about the different nutritional or medicinal properties, or other important relevant uses, of those trees so you can learn how they can aid you in your survival efforts.
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