Environmental Volunteers -- Uses of "WavyLeafed Soap Plant"
Early California Indians -- Introduction
A. Who was here when the Spanish first arrived? The Ohlone Indians
B. Are they truly native to the area? No, they migrated from Asia over the Bering Land
Bridge 20 to 25 thousand years ago. (perhaps as early as 40,000 years ago)
C. Living off the land, making use of local plants and animals for food and shelter.
D. Some plants had many uses other than as food. Let’s explore one of those plants to see
the many uses the Muwekma/Ohlone had for it. There may have been many more.
CHLOROGALUM POMERIDIANUM: Soap Plant: Soaproot or Amole
SOAP PLANT USES:
Soap plant contains Saponins which is a mild poison not readily absorbed by the human body but is highly toxic to fish. It acts on the respiratory organs of fish.
1. Used as a poison for catching fish
2. Used to clean body and hair
3. Effective against dandruff
4. Kills lice and fleas
5. Fresh juice rubbed on arthritic joints
to relieve pain
6. Decoction used as diuretic, laxative
and for stomach ache
7. Preparing and cleaning hides
8. Leaves used for making dolls
9. Baked in an earth oven and eaten
10. Baked juice used for glue to seal bottoms of seed baskets
11. Baked juice used for glue to affix feathers to arrows
12. Baked juice used for glue to affix rawhide backing to bow
13. Baked juice used for glue to create handle of outer fiber brush
14. Outer fibers to make a brush to clean baskets and mortars
15. Baked bulb crushed and used as poultice for sores or rashes
16. New leaves baked for eating
17. Leaves used to wrap acorn dough before baking
18. Juice of new leaves pricked into skin to create green tattoos
From Wikipedia: Wavy-leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
The Soap Plants, Soaproots or Amoles are the genus Chlorogalum of flowering plants. Less common names for them include Soap Lilies. They are endemic to western North America, from Oregon to Baja California, and are mostly found in California.
The Soap Plants grow as perennial plants, from a bulb, more or less elongated depending on the species. The bulbs can be white or brown, and in most species are very fibrous. The leaves
grow from the base of the plant. The flowers are born on a long central stem, and appear to have six rather separate petals (not all are petals in the technical sense). There are 6 stamens, which are rather prominent in most species.
Taxonomy: The placement of the genus Chlorogalum is currently uncertain. Until the 1980s, it was generally treated in the Lily family, Liliaceae, in the order Liliales, and conservative taxonomic sources such as ITIS still put it there. The consensus of more recent classifications has been that this is untenable, and for a time Chlorogalum was placed in the hyacinth family Hyacinthaceae, in the order Asparagales. According to Pfosser and Speta (1999), however,
molecular systematics now shows that this placement too is wrong at the family level, though they confirm that the genus should be within the Asperagales. Pfosser and Speta conclude that, along with genus Camassia, Chlorogalum seems to be most closely related to the families Agavaceae, Funkiaceae and Anthericaceae. The emerging consensus seems to be that these two genera should be placed in an expanded Agavaceae.
Five species are currently classified in the genus. All except the Wavy-leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum, have rather restricted distributions, with little overlap. The Wavyleafed
Soap Plant, however, has a range that virtually encompasses those of all other members of the genus, and is the most common of them.
• Narrow-leaf Soap Plant, Chlorogalum angustifolium, found in the inner north Pacific Coast Ranges of California and southern Oregon and the Sierra Nevada foothills
• Red Hills Soaproot, Chlorogalum grandiflorum, found in north + central Sierra Nevada foothills
• Small-flowered Soaproot Chlorogalum parviflorum, found in the south coastal region of California, south of Santa Barbara, and into Baja California
• Wavy-leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum, found anywhere in California except the Sierra Nevadas and the deserts, and also in south-western Oregon
• Purple Amole, Chlorogalum purpureum, found in the Outer South Coast Ranges of California, south of Monterey Bay and north of Santa Barbara
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Liliidae –
Order: was originally in Liliales. Now is placed in Order: Asparagales
Family: was originally in Liliaceae – Lily family. Now is placed in expanded Family: Agavaceae.
Genus: Chlorogalum Kunth – soap plant
Species: Chlorogalum pomeridianum (DC.) Kunth – wavyleaf soap plant