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«Vaccinium ovatum evergreen huckleberry This project is based on the research and creative work of twenty students at the University of Oregon who ...»

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Northwest Ethnobotany

Field Guide

Over fifty plants native to the Pacific Northwest including

detailed information about historical and contemporary

human-plant relationships

Compiled by Devon Bonady

Vaccinium ovatum evergreen huckleberry

This project is based on the research and creative work of twenty students at the University of

Oregon who enrolled in Environmental Studies 411: Northwest Ethnobotany during fall term

2011. They each created three profiles and accompanying creative work, much of which is included in this field guide.

Northwest Ethnobotany Field Guide Table of Contents I. Introduction 1 Shrubs continued Berberis nervosa Gaultheria shallon II. Perennial plants 2 Achillea millefolium Holodiscus discolor Asclepias speciosa Oemelaria cerasiformis Brodiaea coronaria Physocarpus capitatus Camassia leichlinii Ribes divaricatum Carex deweyana Rubus leucodermis Carex obnupta Rubus spectabilis Claytonia sibirica Salix scouleriana Fragaria vesca Toxicodendron diversilobum Gallium aparine Grindelia integrifolia IV. Trees 74 Heracleum lanatum Acer circinatum Iris tenax Acer macrophyllum Ligusticum apiifolium Alnus rubra Lomatium dissectum Arbutus menziesii Lomatium nudicaule Calocedrus decurrens Madia elegans Cornus nuttallii Marah oreganus Crataegus douglasii Nuphar polysepalum Malus fusca Perideridia gairdneri Pinus ponderosa Polystichum munitum Prunus virginiana Potentilla anserina Pseudotsuga menziesii Rubus ursinus Quercus garryana Sagittaria latifolia Rhamnus purshiana Sanicula crassicaulis Sambucus caerulea Scirpus acutus Taxus brevifolia Scirpus tabernaemontanii Thuja plicata Smilacina racemosa Typha latifolia V. Other species 106 Urtica dioica Cantharellus app.

Usnea spp.

III. Shrubs 52 Amelanchier alnifolia VI. Acknowledgements 111 Berberis aquifolium I. Introduction In the Fall of 2011, Devon Bonady, a University of Oregon graduate student, and Dr. Kathryn Lynch, University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program Co-Director, developed an taught an Environmental Studies course titled Northwest Ethnobotany. This course examined people/plant relationships in the Pacific Northwest. We explored how biodiversity of forest and other ecosystems is being tapped to promote both conservation and rural economic development.

We investigated the complex economics, multi-faceted politics, and diverse cultural traditions associated with nontimber forest products and other plants. We looked at the ancient gathering practices of Native Americans, the introduced plants and traditions of immigrants, and the emerging practices of people seeking to reconnect with the natural world. This course combined Devon’s knowledge and experience of local plant/human interactions with Katie’s background and research in the nontimber forest product industry including social, political, economic, and livelihood issues.

The course was the first in a series of three courses in the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). The fall course was intended to assist students in learning about native plants and human relationships with plants past and present. The project terminates with students developing lessons and leading field trips for elementary and middle school students in which they facilitate learning about local plants and the ways in which humans are connected with them today.

Twenty students in the class created three plant profiles each, gave presentations to the class on those plants, and worked together to teach each other about plant and human relationships, particularly with final creative project presentations. This field guide is a compilation of their work, including 60 plant profiles, photographs, drawings, paintings, and poems.

This guide is organized into sections by type, including perennial plants, shrubs, trees, and a few other species. In each section, the profiles are included in alphabetical order by scientific name.

Each profile includes at least one photo. Some profiles are two pages long, with the second page including photos or creative work.

May this field guide bring you as much joy in the process of exploring the world of plants as this project of learning and discovery has brought me.

Enjoy! Devon Bonady

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Scientific name: Achillea millefolium Native American names: Chipmunk Tail (Kootenai) or Squirrel tail because of leaf appearance.

Plant family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

–  –  –

Historical and Contemporary Uses: Because of yarrow’s widespread distribution and perennial nature, it has been used over millennia, not just by Native Americans but by many people around the world. It may be used fresh or dried, so it may be used year-round. Yarrow is noted to have many bioactive compounds; according to Yaniv and Bachrach, yarrow is “richly endowed with chemicals”, which accounts for its ability to treat many different ailments and for its main use as a medicinal product.2 The chemical achilleine, present in yarrow, will stop bleeding. On the other hand, it also contains coumarin, which will facilitate bleeding, so yarrow may be used to stop bleeding or encourage it.2 One of the most common uses noted is for treating wounds, having healing and pain relieving properties. Many references cite the use as a poultice of chewed leaves, or fresh leaves mashed with water, applied directly to an open wounds, cuts, bruises, burns or boils.3 Another frequent treatment is composed of a decoction made from the roots to treat colds, or the young leaves may be chewed and the juice swallowed for colds and sore throats. An infusion of the roots, flowers or whole plant may also treat colds. The Nuu-chah-nulth (Vancouver Island) and Klallam (coastal Washington) use it for cold medicines. Yarrow has also been used to treat digestive system complaints.1 Everything from nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal upset are treated with many different preparations of yarrow. It may also be used as a laxative. Pojar notes that the Squaxin use it as a “stomach tonic.”1 Contemporary uses of yarrow include the use of the flowers for fragrance and in floral design.





1 Pojar, Jim, Andrew MacKinnon, and Paul B. Alaback. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. Lone Pine Pub, 1994.

2 Yaniv, A., and Bachrach, U., “Handbook of Medicinal Plants”, Haworth Press, 2005.

3 Hart, J., and Moore, J., “Montana-Native Plants and Early Peoples”, Sheridan Books, 1996 Photo on following page by permission of Kurt Steuber, http://www.biolib.de/

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~Achillea millefolium is commonly said to be named after Achilles, who is said to have used yarrow leaves to stanch the bleeding from battle wounds of his military men.2

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Historical and Contemporary Uses:

The most well known historical use of Asclepias speciosa is as a fiber source. These tall plants yield long fibers used for twining, and they can be woven into coarse fabrics, cords, and ropes for various purposes.

The stems are gathered in the fall after they dry, the woody material is removed, and then the fibers are twisted into twine. Sometimes fine fibers from the seed pods were gathered and woven into fabric.3 One foot of cordage requires five stalks of milkweed; a Sierra Miwok (California Sierra tribe) skirt or cape required cordage made from about five hundred plant stalks. This Indian tribe would burn the areas where milkweed grows; it stimulates new growth that would be taller and have straighter stems the next year.3 Showy milkweed continues to be used as a fiber in contemporary times. The Tewa people in the Rio Grande area use these fibers to make string and rope. The Zuni people use seed fibers to weave into a fabric, especially for use in dancer’s clothing. Modern Euro-Americans have employed the seed fibers to stuff pillows and live vests, particularly during WWII; the fibers are buoyant. The floss has also been used to soak up oil spills at sea.4 1 Pojar, Jim, Andrew MacKinnon, and Paul B. Alaback. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. Lone Pine Pub, 1994.

2 USDA, Forest Service for Western U.S., from website:http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/ascspe/all.html.

3 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service database from website:http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RUSP.

4 Plants for a Future from website: http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx.

7.5 University of Michigan Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany database from website: http://herb.umd.umich.edu/

–  –  –

~ ~ ~ Both photos on this page: University of Texas at Austin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, from website:http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ASSP

–  –  –

~ The genus name, Asclepias, comes from Greek mythology. It is named after Askelpios, the Greek god of medicine. Even though this plant is not as well known for its medicinal properties, there are some. Some tribes use the sap medically: the Cheyenne of Eastern Montana use the sap as an antiseptic for cuts, as well as for treating ringworm, corns, and calluses. The Paiute use a decoction of the seeds for snakebite. Many miscellaneous decoctions are noted, made from various parts of the plant for venereal disease, general malaise (not feeling well), headaches, coughs and tuberculosis.7.5

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Range: Brodiaea coronaria thrives from British Columbia, to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, along the Cascade Range, and throughout northwestern California.1 Habitat: It is found in gravelly prairies, grassy slopes, rocky buffs, valley grassland, foothill woodlands, mixed conifer forests, and volcanic mesas from sea level to 1600 meters.

Historical and Contemporary Uses The corm of this plant was regularly gathered by Native Americans such as the Wiyot, Atsugewi, Miwok, Yana and other tribes all along the west coast. Natives used wooden digging sticks to unearth the bulb and ate it raw, boiled, or cooked it in pits.

Native Americans would work the land that this plant grew on by 1) consciously breaking off cormlets from the harvested parent corms and replanting them; 2) sparing whole plants; 3) harvesting the corms after plants have gone to seed and dumping the seeds in the hole; 4) burning areas; and 5) irrigation.1 They would also dig around and thin the corms as well as break off cormlets and replant them. The digging was a form of tilling which stimulated growth and prevented weeds.

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Walla (B. coronaria)… is dug about the first of May when its shoots are just appearing above ground. The bulb lies deeper in the ground than that of the Mariposa lily. It was dug by both men and women, the occasion being a four-day excursion and picnic. The time for the digging was set by the chief. Four days were spent in digging the bulbs, during which time none was eaten. The bulbs were transported in burden baskets to the cooking place, where they were cooked in the earth oven on the fourth day.

The earth oven for the bulbs consisted of a hole about a foot or foot and a half deep and three feet in diameter, excavated with the digging stick. Stones were heated in a fire built beside the pit. When the fire had burnt down the coals were raked into the pit and the hot stones put on top of them. Over the stones were put the broad leaves of the Wyethia helenioides Nutt. When the stones were completely covered by the leaves, the bulbs were poured into the pit to a depth of about six inches. These bulbs were covered with leaves, on which hot stones were placed. The whole was covered with earth. Then water was poured around the edges of the pit, so that it worked down to the hot stones and coals, thus producing steam for the cooking which lasted about one hour. After cooking, the bulbs were removed by hand and placed in an openwork basket tray (tcamayu, C). Then a second and a third lot were cooked if the quantity gathered was large. Both walla and Mariposa lily bulbs were eaten without salt.9 The first European record of this plant was by the Scottish Botanist James Brodie of whom the

genus Brodiaea is named. He wrote:

On the Point near the ship where… a few families of Indians live in very mean Huts of Sheds formed of slender Rafters and covered with Mats. Several of the women were digging on the Point [Puget Sound] which excited my curiosity to know what they were digging for and found it to be a little bulbous root of a liliaceous plant which on searching about for the flower of it I discovered to be a new Genus of the Triandia monogina [i.e.

Brodiaea]. This root with the young shoots of Rasperrie and a species of Barnacle formed the chief part of their wretched subsistence.1 Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast speculates that the name “harvest brodiaea” comes from its close relationship to B. Hyacinthina, which was more difficult to harvest. Also the flower blooms later in the summer than most lilies.

1 S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/miwok_material_culture/bulbs_corms.html

–  –  –

Habitat and Range: Cammassia leichlinii grows in meadows, prairies and hillsides that are moist, at least in early spring. They are also found along road sides. It can be found in low and middle elevations growing in semi-shade such as in light woodland. It spreads from British Columbia down to Washington, Oregon, California and extends inward into Nevada.



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