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Thread: Eastern White Pine - Pinus strobus

  1. #1

    Default Eastern White Pine - Pinus strobus

    I know it sounds strange, but believe me, this tree is an excellent resource for the person who finds themselves in a survival situation.

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    Identifying characteristics:
    Pinus strobus is the tallest tree in Eastern North American. It can grow to a height of 160 - 190 feet tall. There are accounts of the pre-colonial eastern white pines reaching 230 feet tall. The trunks can reach up to 5 ft in diameter. The needles grow in sets of 5 needles per fascicle (a fascicle is a group of needles). They are flexible, bluish-green, finely serrated, and 25*in long. The slender cones are 3 - 6 in long, and 1.5 - 2 in wide when open.

    Habitat:
    White pines prefer well-drained soil and cool, humid climates, but also grow in boggy areas and rocky highlands. In mixed forests, this dominant tree towers over all others, including the large hardwoods.

    Parts Used:
    Needles, Inner bark (Phloem or Cambial layer), heart wood

    Uses:
    Wild Food Use:
    Needles can be used to brew a tea which is high in Vitamin C and sugars. As a matter of fact, the needles of white pine have 5 times the Vitamin C of lemons. The inner bark, or cambial layer, is also a source of vitamins and minerals, most notably of these is Vitamin B. It is also high in sugars. Eating the cambial layer of eastern white pine can provide a boost of energy. Large amounts of the phloem should not be eaten raw, as their fibrous nature can cause gastric distress. I recommend boiling in water to make a kind of soup.

    The Algonquian tribes would gather the cambial layer of eastern white pine during times of winter starvation. They would dry the inner bark, and pound it into a flour substitute. The Iroquois referred to their Algonquian neighbors as "Adirondack", an Iroquois word meaning bark eater.

    Medicinal Use:
    An expectorant and cough suppressant can be made by brewing a tea from the cambium or twigs. Simmer a piece of fresh inner bark approximately 4" X 2",or a handful of twigs, in a cup of water, and drink to alleviate chest congestion and cough. The sap has antimicrobial properties as well. It was used by Native Americans to treat wounds. They applied the sap to open wounds to protect from bacteria, and speed healing. The pitch was used by Native Americans to draw out boils and abscesses. Drinking a tea prepared from the cambium and needles is also said to have a beneficial effect on the bladder and kidneys.

    Additional Uses:
    Pinus spp., hold their dead branches which make them an excellent source of tinder even in wet weather. You can also use the heartwood of dead logs and stumps as a kind of fatwood. The pitch contained in the plant makes pine an excellent fuel for fires. Gather the dead lower branches and twigs for making your fires. The pitch can also be used as an excellent adhesive. The small live twigs and branches containing needles can also be used as padding for your forest bed.

    Medicinal Actions:
    Expectorant, Demulcent, Diuretic
    Happy Foraging

    Kirk

    Livingafield.com - Information Concerning Edible And Medicinal Uses For Common Great Lakes Area Plants, As Well As Information On Numerous Aspects Of Outdoor Living And Survival.


  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Another we've discussed quite a bit. Both needle and cambian tea and also just eating the cambian. We have a thread on fried pine!

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    (FMR) Wilderness Guide pgvoutdoors's Avatar
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    Good write-up.
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    There seems to be some confusion over whether the seeds are edible.
    http://www.songonline.ca/library/art...n_climates.htm

    It is not one of the varieties whose seeds can be sold at high price as pignolias (pine nuts) but it has been specifically proposed that it be hybridized with one of those to produce a source of pignolias that is adapted to grow in a large area of the US and this is being attempted though yield is poor; this wouldn't be done if it was toxic.

    The only source which seems to say it is inedible is an off the cuff comment in a work focusing on other species.

    arboretum.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/tour.pdf
    "Producing cones at a very early age, the
    eastern white pine’s edible seeds quickly germinate in open areas."

    http://www.songonline.ca/library/art...n_climates.htm

    Some sources indicate that seeds of pine trees are edible, with no listed exceptions.

    Good for an open fire (though it may spit flaming particles at you) but be careful in fireplaces as the creosote buildup can cause chimney fires if chimney is not cleaned.

  5. #5
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I made this same mistake once upon a time. Creosote is caused by moisture in the wood. If pine is well seasoned it's a fair soft wood to burn.

  6. #6

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    White pine also plays host, or provides the right conditions, to a variety of edible and toxic mushrooms.

  7. #7

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    I have been a pine needle advocate since learning it from Bear Grylls. Every time I feel I'm catching cold or just want a nice tea, I'm off to White Pine country. With a few drops of honey, yummy!

    I'm experimenting now with a survival fire starter made from pine shaving (saw dust), paraffin and steel wool. I mix plenty of pitch loaded shavings from old fallen heart wood into the paraffin and spread it out to cool on foil. As it's cooling, I make a roll of steel wool about the size of a cigarette. When the paraffin is still pliable, I wrap it around the steel wool making a cylinder about the size of a AAA battery. Leaving two ends of the steel wool exposed to contact the battery.

    The initial test worked pretty well using a 12VDC battery. The wool heats the paraffin and eventually glows thus lighting the paraffin and pine.

  8. #8
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    If you locate some fatwood from those pines you won't need to work so hard. Just light it and watch it burn.

  9. #9

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    Isn't there a disease that attacks the White Pine?

  10. #10
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwalls5000 View Post
    Isn't there a disease that attacks the White Pine?
    The White Pine Weevil can cause a lot of damage. Here are some of the other diseases that affect White Pine http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/not...din19/od19.htm
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    Senior Member erunkiswldrnssurvival's Avatar
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    dont forget that the white pine root makes a superior cordage in comparison to most other cordgae materials in the wild. yea,, spruce is the best of pine root for this purpose, however all pines are have good rope roots.
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    Junior Member umpknee's Avatar
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    have no tried the white pine yet any recommendations

  13. #13
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Recommendations for?

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