Why Leaves May be the Most Useful Survival Item Ever

Use leaves for survival

leaves for preppingThe old saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees, but who needs money when something, even more, of value grows on them? Leaves.

Okay, so maybe they aren’t going to accept leaves as legal tender, but if SHTF, there may be more uses for the stuff that grows right on trees than the printed stuff in your pocket. That is why you should educate yourself on the many uses of the absolutely indispensable leaf.

In a survival situation It is said you can live 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. With the right leaves at your disposal, you won’t have to do without any of these things. Let’s explore how leaves can be used to provide and collect these important resources to keep you fed, hydrated and safe in an outdoor survival situation.


If you don’t have an emergency shelter at your disposal, you will find there are still ways to keep you and your family covered and protected. Leaves make excellent roof shingles or thatching when woven together. No matter what the size and weight of the leaves you have at your disposal are, you can utilize them to create a rudimentary shelter from the sun or the dangerous elements. Longer leaves can even be stripped to make rope, which can be used to tie larger leaves together to make a stronger shelter.

Leaves are also great if we are in a more volatile survival situation. Especially in the autumn, fallen leaves makes excellent camouflage, that can easily hide you or members of your family until the threat is gone.


All Water Collected Should be Filtered before Drinking - A LifeStraw is perfect for filtering water collected from leaves
All Water Collected Should be Filtered before Drinking – A LifeStraw is perfect for filtering water collected from leaves

First, it should be said all water collected from plants should be filtered before you drink it.

Without any work at all, some leaves are just natural water collectors. Plants that have bowl-shaped, or upward turned leaves not only collect water, but also dew from more humid climates. If you are on the go in a wilderness survival situation, remembering to look for these plants could give you a major leg up in your struggle to survive.

There are a few other techniques as well that have been tried and true. If you are near a grass field, plan to wake up early before dawn. When the dew is on the morning grass, there is an interesting way to collect this resource for consumption that has been used by indigenous people for centuries. By tying tufts of fine grass around your ankles and trudging through a dew filled field in the early morning, you can collect enough of this precious resource to keep you going. Once the dew is collected, wring out the grass and filter your water.

If you are stationary, and have decided to hunker down in one place you can also create condensation with plant leaves too. Wrap non-toxic, plant leaves with a clear plastic bag. As the temperature heats up the plants will release condensation inside the bag, providing precious water in a true emergency. If you need to employ this method, you will want to have more than one bag in use at a time, as just one won’t produce quite enough water.

While it is not the most common in the US, green bamboo thickets are an excellent source of fresh water. If you do happen to find bamboo stalks, you can obtain the clear and odorless water by bending the stalk, tying it down and then cut the top off. The water will then drip freely from the plant during the evening. Even old and already cracked bamboo may hold some water too.


There are many edible leaves and plants and they are important to know. Here are some incredible, edible plants you can find in the wild or in your own neighborhoods that you will want to know — having this knowledge could save your life in a survival situation.

Dandelion Leaves are edible, the younger leaves are less bitter
Dandelion Leaves are edible, the younger leaves are less bitter


It’s not just the leaves that are edible on a dandelion… the whole plant provides nutrition. The leaves are best when they are young, as they tend to get bitter when they are more mature. If you do need to eat the mature leaves you can boil them first to cut the bitter taste.

Chickweed leaves, as well as the flowers are edible
Chickweed leaves, as well as the flowers are edible


For some, the access to seaweed may be easier than others, but if you do find yourself in a place where seaweed is present, don’t miss the opportunity to reap its nutritional benefits. After you pull green seaweed from the water you should rinse it with fresh water and let it dry in the sun. It can be eaten raw or but many people will boil it and include it in a soup.


Chickweed leaves are pretty hefty and they can be eaten raw or boiled. They’re a great resource if the grow in your area (usually found in temperate and arctic zones) they are high in vitamins and minerals and provide powerful energy for someone in a survival situation.


Clovers are plentiful and their leaves have a great flavor in salads. While they are good raw, some people have trouble digesting them which is why many people use them to make teas and juices, in fact clover tea is already popular for its nutritional value. In a survival situation, whether the clover is raw or not, you will benefit from the nutritional value of this common and useful plant.

The Mallow Plant has Tender, edible leaves
The Mallow Plant has Tender, edible leaves


Mallow is actually a quite taste leaf, soft in texture and great in salads. Raw is generally the way mallow leaves are eaten, but you can also cook them slightly as you would spinach. The smaller leaves may be slightly too tender, so stick to the larger leaves.



Plantain has the same name as the banana-like plant that grows in tropical regions, but it is really quite different. It is found all over the

Plantain Leaves -- edible and high in vitamin C
Plantain Leaves — edible and high in vitamin C

world, usually in wet marshy areas, but also in alpine terrain. Like the dandelion, the leaves will get more bitter tasting as they mature. Plantain is very high in vitamin A and calcium with even a little bit of vitamin C.


Not only are there several edible weeds that already likely grow in abundance right in your neighborhood, they can also be used as cookware and dining ware in survival cooking situations. Large, wet leaves make excellent cooking packets (the Mallow leaf is a good example of one you could use this way) and bigger, flat leaves can be used to serve your food too.

Other Uses

The long list of uses for leaves in a survival situation includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Natural Bandages
  • Ropes
  • Sleeping Mats
  • Pillows and Bedding
  • Insulation
  • Fire Tinder
Consider Educating Yourself in other Edible Plants with This Excellent Guide
Consider Educating Yourself in other Edible Plants with This Excellent Guide

There are so many more uses for leaves, it’s hard to imagine why they are often a forgotten part of the plant. With medicinal qualities present in so many as well, there are even more ways they can help you survive that we haven’t even begun to cover here.

While most prepared families already have planned for the limited resources of shelter, water and food by purchasing tents and emergency shelters, creating stockpiles of long term food storage and storing water and water filtration systems. However, no matter how prepared we think we are, it is still possible to find yourself trapped out in the wilderness at the mercy of the elements. In those cases arming yourself with knowledge is the best step a prepper can take.

Learning how leaves, and other natural flowers and plants, can be used to aid our survival will only make you and your family that much safe when a true disaster arises.

About US Preppers

Welcome and thanks for visiting! My name is Robert and our mission at US Preppers is to help you prepare for emergencies or disasters before they happen. As a family man and father of two boys, I am concerned about the future of our modern way of life. We know things can happen and we are not going to be complacent and let society dictate our survival.

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