Goods from the Woods

Fruits & Nuts

Fruits & Nuts

The fruits, nuts, berries and seeds of many trees are an important source of food for wildlife and people. Some of the most common of these are apples, peaches, pecans, walnuts, coffee and spices such as mace and nutmeg. Other fruits and nuts: oranges, pears, chestnuts.



FoliageWhile growing on a tree, leaves produce oxygen, help filter pollutants from the air, provide shelter for many wildlife species and shade to help keep us cool. When harvested, leaves of the carnauba tree are used to produce furniture polish, car wax, crayons, lipstick and the coating on many medicine tablets. Whole leaves from some trees, such as bay, are used in cooking, while the oils of other leaves, such as the eucalyptus, are extracted for fragrances and flavorings. Other products made from foliage: garden mulch.



The branches of large trees and the trunks of smaller trees are used to make thousands of paper products, including writing paper, tissues and boxes. Chemical by-products of the paper-making process are used in producing cleaning compounds, skin lotions, artificial vanilla flavoring, photographic film and many molded plastic products such as eyeglass frames, football helmets, toothbrushes and buttons. Other products made from branches: carpeting and upholstery backing, rayon, plastic twines, computer casings, luggage, cellophane, newspapers, baby food, imitation bacon bits, cereal, colognes.


BarkBark is used for a variety of purposes ranging from medicine to garden mulch to seasoning for foods. The willow tree, for example, provides the essential elements of aspirin, while the laurel tree provides cinnamon used to flavor many foods. Cork for wine bottles and fishing tackle comes from the cork oak tree. Bark also is burned to produce energy and used as a dye for fabrics, shoe polishes and other products. Other products made from bark: cosmetics, poultry bedding, oil spill control agents, the cancer-fighting drug Taxol.

Chair & Fiddle


The trunks of trees are primarily used to make solid wood products such as furniture, musical instruments, lumber and handles for tools and sporting equipment. Trunks also are peeled into thin sheets and used as veneer for plywood and furniture. Other products made from trunks: baseball bats, charcoal, canoe paddles, guitars, swing sets, birdhouses, crutches, fences, sleds.



GumsGums, which are found in the sap of trees, are used in the manufacture of a variety of products including food, adhesives, paints and medicines. In foods, gums serve as thickening agents, provide a creamy texture, act as binders to keep ingredients from separating and help retain moisture. In ice cream and other frozen desserts, gums prevent the formation of crystals. The gums of some trees are used to make adhesives such as glue and hair spray, and act as drying agents in paint and printing ink. Other gums have antiseptic properties and are used in making soaps and cough syrups. Other products made from gums: cough drops, shampoo, dish washing liquid, adhesive bandages.



Pine stumps provide the wood rosin and liquid terpenes used in making many products, including orange-flavored soft drinks, pine cleaners and laundry detergents. Hardwood stumps readily produce sprouts that grow into new trees, assuring that we have plentiful hardwood forests for the future. Other products made from stumps: sports drinks.



Bottled WaterIn addition to providing food for the tree, roots play an important role in keeping our waters free of pollutants. They stabilize the soil to prevent erosion and sedimentation, and by absorbing nutrients to feed the tree, they prevent these nutrients from entering our rivers and streams. Other products made from roots: sassafras tea, root beer.

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