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10 remarkably useful plants you can find in the wild

dogwood tree branch with pink blossoms

Photo: Jim, the Photographer/Flickr

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Dogwood trees

Dogwoods are flowering deciduous trees that can be identified by their “scaly” bark, pink or white flowers, and opposite leaves. A tea made from the bark and leaves of the tree can reduce fever and chills, and the tree’s branches can also be used as makeshift toothbrushes. Native Americans would chew on dogwood twigs to clean and whiten their teeth, and you can do the same if you’re in need of some dental care in the wild. Simply cut a fresh dogwood twig about an eighth of an inch wide and four inches long, and then peel the bark back on one end. As you gnaw on the twig, the end will soften and its fibers will separate, creating a brush that can clean between teeth and massage your gums.