Cambium is the thin inner bark of a tree and is loaded with nutrients. Outer bark has high levels of tannin, therefore not edible. Inner bark is a superb survival food when in the wilderness. You are able to eat this thin inner bark raw, however it's more easily digestible if boiled for a long period of time. Boiled into mush makes for a fantastic breakfast treat topped with maple sap or your favorite berries.
(Note: Do Not toss the boiled water; rather drink it as it's loaded with nutrients.)
There are a number of tree species that offer edible cambium bark. It's always best to collect this food source in spring time. However you can collect it year round. Locations that you want to target for collection are as close to the ground as possible. Roots or young saplings are great parts of the tree to gather bark. You can use outer bark for medicinal purposes which I will cover later in this article.
Types of trees that offer edible cambium are as follows.
• Pines (Inner Bark and leafs loaded with vitamin C) Part of the Evergreen species. Vitamin C helps prevent scurvy which if you are vitamin C depleted you can die. Has long round needles. Bears cones that produce a tasty Pine Nut. Pine nuts are commonly used as salad topping. Spring is the best time to harvest nuts.
• Willows (Comes in a variety of types) Identify by broad leafs that are toothed.
• Tamarack (offers cones and has needles)
• Maples (Sap is edible and sugary) This tree grows in a lot locations. You can draw the sap out by cutting a v-notch into to bark. Cut the notch lower on the trunk close to the ground. Must be boiled, before eating.
• Slippery Elms (Has toothed leaves and grows in North America.
• Birches (Outer Bark makes good roofing material, flooring, wind barrier, foot wear) you can tap the sap by cutting a v-notch. Also produces a sugary flavored treat. Must be boiled before eating.
• Hemlocks (Not the same as the poisonous plant that bears the same name) Part of the Evergreen Species. Has distinct short, flat needles similar to the Spruce.
• Basswood (Part of the Lime species) has leaves in the shape of a heart.
• Poplars (found in northern territories) leaves are triangle in shape.
• Spruce (Not only is the inner bark edible you can use the leaf to make vitamin C packed tea) has short flat needles similar to Hemlock.
**sap producing trees such as Birch or Maple can be harvested daily. For larger volumes of sap collection tap two or more trees.**
With most of these trees that you can eat the inner bark you can find some that produce gum or resin. If it is water soluble that indicates it's a gum and is loaded with sugar. If it's not water soluble, this indicates a resin. Resin is a fantastic fire starting aid, look for Fatwood in pine Forrest's. Do to high Turpen levels just a few shavings will catch a spark. Some people keep Fatwood in their survival kits. Tends to come from Pine trees. You can identify Fatwood by it's distinct oder. It smells of a concentrated Turpen which is the main ingredient of Turpentine. So basically it acts as an accelerant for fire starting and is all natural. Also is considered valuable and people collect it to sell for profit.
**DO NOT INGEST FATWOOD**
Poisonous Trees To Avoid Ingesting:
• Hickories (Has a variety of species by territory. Only a few offer edible nuts or sap) Use extreme caution and positively identify species before ingesting nuts or sap. Hickories are great for smoke flavoring meats.
• Cedars (Part of the Evergreen Species) very scented woods. This tree is mostly found in the Mediterranean and Himalayas. You can find Cedar in North America in northern territories.
• California Laurel (North American Evergreen) Has a pungent odor. Tear drop shaped leaves with yellowish flowers. Has greenish to purple berries. Has a short tree trunk.
• Oregon Myrtle (North American Evergreen) Has a pungent odor. Oval shaped leaves with yellowish flowers with purple berries. Has a short tree trunk.
• Horse Chestnuts (Very Poisonous)
Fingered leaves, white, yellow or pink colored flowers. Sticky buds, spiny shelled nuts. Similar to Buckeyes. DO NOT mistake this tree with the Sweet Chestnut it's leaves are thin and toothed with seed cases that are more prickly.
• Buckeyes (Very Poisonous)
Fingered leaves, white, yellow or pink colored flowers. Sticky buds, spiny shelled nuts. Similar to Horse Chestnut.
• Laburnums (Yellow flowers and broad leaves)
• Black Locust (Grows in North America) tear drop shape leaves with white flowers. Has dark gray bark and seed pods.
• Moosewood AKA Moosebark (North American tree that is found in north eastern territories. Has white striped bark, tear drop shaped leaves. Bears winged fruit with yellow and greenish colored flowers.
• Yews (Bears poisonous red berry like fruit) Part of the Evergreen Family, scaly bark that is flaky much like dead dry skin that's peeling. The needles are very dark green.
See the similarities with each of the above listed trees? All have differences but some have commonality to one another. I cannot stress anymore how important it is to seek hands on instruction by a reputable botanist or survival instructors school. You eat the wrong thing you can develop health complications or even die. #DanShrigley #EdibleBark #Edible #InnerEdibleBark #Cambium #FatWood #Survival