Over the years I have looked for many sources of tinder. Here in Florida the palmetto or cabbage palm are superb. I find that I can get to a soft fiber by peeling back the sheaths.
Once I find the finest of the fibers, it is important to separate them so they catch the spark better. If they are packed a little too tight they resist the spark. You can build the rest of the fire by using the other parts of the palmetto. You can even use the tender shoots in the center for food. All in all, you can find your food and cook your food all with the simple palmetto. It is a gift for survival in the southern swamps.
This afternoon I took my children and worked on starting a fire with no matches. Quin used flint and steel to build the fire for lunch. We then pulled the tinder shoots from the cabbage palms (or from the palmettos) and ate them, after which we cooked cuts of meat over the open fire. The children were thrilled, but it’s important what they learned. This is the second time, now, that Quin has started a fire with no matches and no paper.
I am proud of him.