Instructables

Extract Clean, Drinkable Water From Plants

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Picture of Extract Clean, Drinkable Water From Plants
Water is the most important thing if you are stuck in the wilderness. Sure, food is important too, but you can live for a while without it; you can't survive more than a few days without water. Unfortunately, in many environments there is either a lack of water, or the water is unsafe to drink. Fortunately, there are often plants. When plants absorb water from the ground they filter out many impurities, and you can extract this clean water from them. Plants transpire water, meaning that water vapor evaporates from the leaves, and this water can be collected. The great thing is, this process doesn't harm the plant and can be repeated over and over again on different branches, and works relatively quickly.

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Great Outdoors Contest!
 
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Step 1: What You Need:

Picture of What You Need:
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- A plastic bag, preferably clear (check the bag beforehand to make sure it is free of holes. If not, seal them with tape.)
- String
- A plant (I will go over what types of plants work best in the next step)

Step 2: Choosing the Plant

Picture of Choosing the Plant
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- The best types of plants are those with large, green leaves. Berry bushes also work well. There is a conspicuous lack of trees in my back yard, so I used a blueberry bush. Avoid toxic plants!
- Select a plant that receives a good amount of sun. The heat from the sun will speed the transpiration process.
- Choose a branch that has a large number of healthy leaves; give it a shake to dislodge any insects or debris that might be on the branch. Place your plastic bag over it. Tie it very tightly; you don't want any water vapor to escape during the process.
- Make sure that part of the bag hangs lower than the point where you tied the bag to the branch. Water will run collect there.
- You will want to have several bags up at once, since one branch doesn't provide enough water to live on. 
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jimwi1 year ago
You should be careful what plants you use. Because some plant and there leaves contain toxins like arsenic and cyanide.So be very careful.
tkjtkj jimwi1 year ago
that's an interesting point .. Logic suggests both points of view might be true:
1) arsenic, eg, existing in nature as a salt, doesn't evaporate , and/or :
2) 'transpiration' is different from 'evaporation .. and who kNOWS what a plant will decide to do! .. afterall, each instance of noise from a smokey lawn-mower is reason enough for aNY plant to extract revenge .. and what could be more poetic than to extract it while we are extracting what we might think as healthy water!

and remember, all too often it's our own doing that could be our uNdoing .. adding pesticides, etc ..

So, I here request that anyone having access to a chromatograph or spectrograph do a lil testing ... and fill us in !

At same time, this clever device could be life-saving in emergency circumstances .. and costs really nothing in weight/energy/etc to include bags in one's backpack (or watch-pocket!) .. One could even eliminate the weight of the string by tying the end of the bag around the branch in some clever way ...

I like this 'structable!! I'm especially drawn to 'clever simplicity' .. a.k.a. 'exemplified by the paperclip'

Thanks for this one!
M3G (author)  jimwi1 year ago
Good point. Thank you.
smart one. think about it with choosing mangrove plants or trees :)
pertamax116 months ago

This 'ible might become a life saving in emergency cases. Thanks, and Favorited this.

M3G (author)  pertamax116 months ago
Thanks for the kind words!
Southpaw698 months ago

A plentiful, easily accessible source for bags that are perfect for this is the produce aisle at the grocery store!

Get the plastic bags they have on a roll for putting fruits & vegetables in. They are perfect for this. They're a good size, clear, and strong.

M3G (author)  Southpaw698 months ago
Great idea, thanks!
If I put a bag over a hop plant will I get beer?
No, but hop flowers are used to flavour beer, so you might get a beer-flavoured water drink!
bajablue11 months ago
This is a FANTASTIC idea! Thanks for sharing... and congrats!!!
M3G (author)  bajablue11 months ago
Thank you!
radicalmart11 months ago
a fantastic but simple instructable as well as being a good recycling idea.
M3G (author)  radicalmart11 months ago
Thanks!
Simple, cheap, effective. BRAVO!
M3G (author)  monterreymachito12 months ago
Thanks!
amazing!! definitely life-saving knowledge! I would have never thought of it. THANKS!
poofrabbit1 year ago
Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalists in the Great Outdoors Contest! Good luck!
M3G (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Thank you very much!
It's interesting how you cherry-pick replying to the comments with the most praise. Heh.
Tin Man1 year ago
It may sound silly, but if you are out in the sticks, give the plant a good shake to get rid of poisonous insects, spiders, 'guano', etc.
Venomous* :D Poisonous suggests eating them would cause poisoning. Venomous means they can bite or sting you with venom.
Poisonous bugs are also handy to avoid, in case they fall into, and contaminate, the water.
M3G (author)  Tin Man1 year ago
Good point.
jackreiter1 year ago
can you do this with tree leaves
M3G (author)  jackreiter1 year ago
Yes, that would work great.
M3G (author)  jackreiter1 year ago
Yes, that would work great.
would poison ivy work or would only the water come out
M3G (author)  LaffyDuck1871 year ago
Poison ivy would be a bad idea, since it would probably release toxins as well.
simayanan1 year ago
Thank you for this. I have posted the link on Facebook and Pinned it, too. This could save many lives, especially in disaster areas.
Nice to know!!! I'm curious though, would sucking on the leaves also give you hydration? Like sage leaves, for instance?
M3G (author)  Picturerazzi1 year ago
I have no idea.
Rohinton1 year ago
This instructible is the best I've come across ! It is a matter of life or death for a treker who is lost for days without any food and water. Superb idea.! from now on I will make sure I have some plastic bags and some string when going out overnight treking. Thank you !
M3G (author)  Rohinton1 year ago
Thanks for the comment! I always carry a plastic bag and string because they weigh next to nothing and take up barely any space, yet can still save your life.
KOJohnson1 year ago
Try to avoid toxic plants, by the way.
You better have a lot of plastic. Water from plants yields about 1/2 a cup in 8 hours. About as useful as a solar still. Better to keep an good supply of water in yur car.
DIY-Guy1 year ago
Oleander (often used for landscaping in dry climates such as southern California) is toxic! Stay away from plants like this. On a side note, and only partly related, kids have cooked hot dog son Oleander sticks and died. But some plants (such as Oleander) do exude toxics and should be left alone. Poison Ivy and poison Summac are some obvious choices to avoid.
razamatraz1 year ago
Cool survival tip
Great to know! I love knowing cool survival tricks like this so many thanks!
M3G (author)  multiplesarcasm1 year ago
No problem!
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