Thursday, June 24, 2004
What Would You Do: Lost In The Woods
When you are wandering in the woods, it's very easy to become disoriented. But, what do you do if you get so lost, you can't find your way back? Would you know what to eat and drink to survive? Here's 7's Charles Perez with some food for thought.
(WSVN) -- A walk in the woods isn't necessarily a walk in the park. Remember the "Blair Witch Project?"
So what do you do if you get lost in the wilderness?
First…know where you can find fresh water.
Roger Hammer from Miami-Dade Parks: "That's the Bromeliad. Bromeliad. Yes."
It's a common plant found growing in trees all over South Florida and an excellent source of H.2.O.
Roger: "Those hold water during the rainy season…like in their leaves or something? Yes, they're shaped like an urn ... so if you're out in the woods and there's no water around, that could be a source."
Next you need to find food. Palm trees are always a safe bet.
Roger: "You can eat the fruits of all the palms although some of them like saw palmetto taste pretty horrible. But, the center bud the heart of palm that people are familiar with ... that's edible."
You can also eat the leaves of many trees. They won't be tasty…but they will keep you alive.
Roger: "First thing, you want to pick new leaves. The very tender new growth."
A better option…fruits or berries like from this tree here.
Roger: "It's called paradise tree. It's native to south Florida. It's really juicy."
Or how about this common goodie ... The coco plum ..
Roger: "These kind of taste like marshmallows to me and the seeds, the seeds taste like almonds."
Another good eat ... The pond apple.
Roger: "If you're out on a survival mission and you found this ... You want to stick around this tree. Yes. You wouldn't want to move to far because this is something you could sustain yourself on for quite awhile."
When you're out in the wilderness, sure it's important to know what you can eat. But even more important is knowing what you can't because it could kill you.
And don't expect mother nature to help.
There are no rules for recognizing deadly plants.
You can't go by taste and you can't go by smell.
Roger: "Manchineel, a very poisonous tree in south Florida has fruits that apparently tastes good."
But be warned - they're lethal.
Roger: "This is west Indian cherry, smell this it's going to smell a lot like almonds or maraschino cherries. Oh Yeah. But, the odor you are smelling is bitter almond. And, it's poisonous."
Going by color could also leave you clueless.
Roger: "This is called Rosary pea and one seed chewed and swallowed could be fatal."
And don't go by looks either...
Roger: "I've always seen this growing up and thought it was a mint. Well, it's closely related to the mint, it's called a verbena…but it's called Lantana, here's the flowers, but the green unripened fruits…a few of those can kill you."
The best advice here is do your homework and know before you go.
Next week, summer in south florida is notorious for wicked weather. But what do you do if you're caught outside in a storm? Charles will give us some pointers.
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