Many plants have short growing seasons, which means there is only a small window in which to harvest their beneficial properties. Trees, however, are different in this regard. Some have properties that can be advantageous regardless of the season.
Pines, for instance, are tremendously resource-rich. The red pine’s needles make for excellent kindling. White pine needles, when steeped in boiling water, provide a tea that is loaded with Vitamin C. It’s perfect for winter months when the body could use extra warmth and an immunity boost. Pinesap is the perfect Band-Aid because it protects the cut and has antiseptic properties. Pine also makes for excellent firewood, particularly the fatwood, or the portions of the tree where the resin accumulates, such as where branches connect to the trunk.
Willows and poplars are also useful year round. Their inner bark is highly flammable. The wood is soft, which makes it ideal for carving eating utensils and containers. For millennia, willow bark has been used as a painkiller, derived either via decoction or by chewing.
The bark of sassafras trees is carminative, meaning it relieves indigestion. Its roots can be boiled for a nutrient-rich tea and the wood is oily so it burns longer than most other kindling.
Red and white varieties of oaks serve useful purposes. The red oaks (identified by their pointed leaves) are ideal for construction. The white oaks (rounded leaves) have historically been valued for their astringents, which help alleviate cold symptoms and diarrhea.