5 Trees With Edible Inner Bark

Eating the inner bark of certain trees is something that is often referred to as a “good” source of food in survival situations, especially in the winter when not much else is available. The inner bark layer of a tree overlaps with the phloem on the tree, the phloem carries nutrients up and down the trunk from roots to leaves in the spring and from leaves to roots in the summer and fall so it makes sense that some of these sugars and starches would remain in this part of the tree over the winter.

1. Elm Tree(Genus: Ulmus)

This plant is known to contain mucilage in the inner bark, this is a thickening agent that creates a gelatinous substance when added to water. So eating the inner bark of the elm does create a gelatinous substance which could be weird or offputting for some people. The taste of the inner bark is very pleasant and even a little sweet with no bitterness or bad aftertaste.

2. Pine(Genus: Pinus)

The pine tree is well known as a tree with edible inner bark. The biggest downside is the strong flavor but it’s easier to get used to. The inner bark is thick and easy to harvest. Some pines may contain minor toxins so b careful with your selection.

3. Black Birch(Betula Lenta)

The good part about the edible inner bark on this tree is that the flavor is pleasant. Black birch is known for it’s “wintergreen” fragrance and flavor that is used in birch beer. The downside of using this tree for it’s edible inner bark is that unlike the other trees on this list birch inner bark is not soft, its rather dry and grainy, kinda like eating sawdust and it’s difficult to separate from the outerbark.

4. Spruce(Genus:Picea)

This tree has many edible uses, such as the resin, the immature cones, and the new growth in the spring. The inner bark layer on spruce trees is thick and soft which makes it relatively easy to harvest. The taste is strong but It’s something you could eventually get used to.

5. Eastern Hemlock(Tsuga Canadensis)

The needles make a great tea however the inner bark is not tolerable. It taste awful, and it was very bitter but it is edible. That being said it is possible that processing the inner bark more could make it palatable. For example drying, grinding and mixing with flour or boiling it in changes of water might work.

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