Is tree sap drinkable

Can i eat tree sap?

While you can eat different types of tree sap, you shouldn't gnaw on every tree trunk you see. Some trees produce bitter or even poisonous sap. Plus, even edible juice licked straight off the tree isn't particularly tasty. The next time you add maple syrup to your waffles, keep in mind that it is made from tree sap.

The maple tree creates a steady flow of sugary sap. (Image: tvirbickis / iStock / Getty Images)

Maple syrup

The best known form of edible tree sap is that of the maple tree. The sucrose-rich juice is so sweet and delicious that it has been popular for breakfast and snacks across North America and many other parts of the world. Experienced maple cutters can collect up to 80 liters of sap from one tree per year. According to the University of Maine Extension, it takes 10 gallons of fresh juice to make a quarter of syrup.


Juice from the birch is edible, although the knock only occurs in cold conditions such as Alaska or parts of Canada. The juice is a clear sticky liquid that turns yellow when removed from the stove. You can use it as breakfast syrup, although it is less sweet and richer than maple syrup. The syrup contains a number of nutrients, including fructose, glucose, amino acids, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, sodium, and iron, according to the University of Alaska's Fairbanks. In contrast to maple sap, birch sap does not contain the disaccharide sucrose.


When you were young and playing outside, adults probably reminded you of the saying, "hands of three, let it be." This applies to avoiding the Sumac family of plants and trees, the most famous members of which are poison ivy and poison oak. The sap from these two plants is poisonous and can cause unpleasant skin reactions and even anaphylactic shock in some people. Florida University School of Forest Resources and Conservation also advises that burning sumac wood can give off toxic fumes.


The safest option when you don't recognize the species of a wild tree is to avoid eating any fruit or juice. Even edible juice like maple sap needs to be reduced by cooking before it becomes a thick, delicious syrup. Cooking will also remove any contaminants and bacteria that may hide in the sticky juice. If you have a severe reaction after consuming tree sap, especially if you experience difficulty breathing, see a doctor right away.