Yucca....uses by Different Indian Tribes

Quillsnkiko
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March 6th, 2018, 5:20 am #1

http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=Yucca

Interesting information
Quills
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Forager
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March 7th, 2018, 2:54 am #2

Many thanks for providing this link Quills.  I've leaned heavily on this ponderous text over many years as an invaluable and expansive resource.  I was surprised that Daniel Moerman's name was not mentioned in the profile of the project's history, especially since the 927 page small-print Timber Press publication bears his name on its spine.  When he and I enjoyed a series of exchanges about a decade ago, it was a point of pride for him to acknowledge that the many tribes cited in the text had received a copy of this magnum opus, gratis.

It's great to see the modified access with its associated link to the USDA database (a formidable complementary resource to Moerman's project).  This makes reference work much simpler, and opens up a profound and deep reservoir of information to the public.  Thanks again, you've done us all a grand favor.
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Hummingbird Point
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March 7th, 2018, 9:42 pm #3

At one time yucca was abundant in the sandy soils of Virginia's coastal plain.  The Powhatan called it "pemminaw" and used it extensively as a fiber plant and for hand drill fire making.

An older gentleman I know remembers the plant fondly from his youth.  It was common on his grandmother's farm in Suffolk County, Virginia where they called it "strong grass".  Each fall at hog butchering time armloads of the leaves were cut and used (unmodified) to hang the hams in the smokehouse.
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Quillsnkiko
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March 8th, 2018, 4:47 am #4

Thats interesting...Hummingbird point. I am told by someone who knows... its one of the best things to use ( the root beaten into a froth in water) for removing grease from a hide....Also...the root is cut into thin slices like a potato chip..and you can eat them that way. I am not sure if its just sun-dried or roasted or baked somehow.I am going to have to ask the guy who told me that. Quills
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Quillsnkiko
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March 8th, 2018, 4:54 am #5

Forager wrote: Many thanks for providing this link Quills.  I've leaned heavily on this ponderous text over many years as an invaluable and expansive resource.  I was surprised that Daniel Moerman's name was not mentioned in the profile of the project's history, especially since the 927 page small-print Timber Press publication bears his name on its spine.  When he and I enjoyed a series of exchanges about a decade ago, it was a point of pride for him to acknowledge that the many tribes cited in the text had received a copy of this magnum opus, gratis.

It's great to see the modified access with its associated link to the USDA database (a formidable complementary resource to Moerman's project).  This makes reference work much simpler, and opens up a profound and deep reservoir of information to the public.  Thanks again, you've done us all a grand favor.
Your very welcome Steve..I was hoping you would see that fairly soon as I thought you would be interested. Ive not checked for other plants other than the yucca in that database. Something that on my to do list.

 I will have to ask the gentleman who provided me with that source if hes familiar with Daniel Moerman. He may be. The gentleman I am referring to uses yucca as a degreasing agent when tanning Buffalo hides.

Just down the road from me are tons of yucca..along the road on a steep hill below a cemetery. The seeds and plants have been spread in the roadside ditch area by road graders and wind & water. Ive transplanted a couple in my yard as well.

Quills
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ateyo
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March 8th, 2018, 6:16 am #6

Quillsnkiko wrote:
Forager wrote: Many thanks for providing this link Quills.  I've leaned heavily on this ponderous text over many years as an invaluable and expansive resource.  I was surprised that Daniel Moerman's name was not mentioned in the profile of the project's history, especially since the 927 page small-print Timber Press publication bears his name on its spine.  When he and I enjoyed a series of exchanges about a decade ago, it was a point of pride for him to acknowledge that the many tribes cited in the text had received a copy of this magnum opus, gratis.

It's great to see the modified access with its associated link to the USDA database (a formidable complementary resource to Moerman's project).  This makes reference work much simpler, and opens up a profound and deep reservoir of information to the public.  Thanks again, you've done us all a grand favor.
Your very welcome Steve..I was hoping you would see that fairly soon as I thought you would be interested. Ive not checked for other plants other than the yucca in that database. Something that on my to do list.

 I will have to ask the gentleman who provided me with that source if hes familiar with Daniel Moerman. He may be. The gentleman I am referring to uses yucca as a degreasing agent when tanning Buffalo hides.

Just down the road from me are tons of yucca..along the road on a steep hill below a cemetery. The seeds and plants have been spread in the roadside ditch area by road graders and wind & water. Ive transplanted a couple in my yard as well.

Quills
I am surprised that yucca can be found elsewhere than desert climates! The roots supposedly contain saponenes, which have cleansing properties. My mother remembers her father making lather from the root, and using a luffa-like portion of the plant. Interesting that it was used to degrease buffalo hides. The local forestry department hosts a clinic in the fall where a yucca root is slow roasted in a pit. I guess roasting it kills the saponens. I have seen yucca root for sale in local grocery stores, so SOMEBODY is still cooking this in our region of the SouthWest.
Thanks for the links, Quills. This will be a useful resource!


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Quillsnkiko
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March 8th, 2018, 9:14 pm #7

Your welcome Ateyo....actually in investigating that site...its amazing how many pages there are on Yucca...and how many uses there are for it.

I did not realize the fruit pod...was edible and according the the site it was used by a lot of tribes for a food source.

I am sure the yuccas around here...are escapees from plants that were originally bought. They reseed very readily I can see by those down the road. Or ....road graders have uprooted them and pieces of the roots start new plants.
I was amazed in entering different plants I knew were used by Indians....Yucca has more information and uses then Sumac, Dock , and several other names I entered last night. Quills
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ateyo
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March 9th, 2018, 2:57 am #8

Quillsnkiko wrote:Your welcome Ateyo....actually in investigating that site...its amazing how many pages there are on Yucca...and how many uses there are for it.

I did not realize the fruit pod...was edible and according the the site it was used by a lot of tribes for a food source.

I am sure the yuccas around here...are escapees from plants that were originally bought. They reseed very readily I can see by those down the road. Or ....road graders have uprooted them and pieces of the roots start new plants.
I was amazed in entering different plants I knew were used by Indians....Yucca has more information and uses then Sumac, Dock , and several other names I entered last night. Quills
I saw a fellow on You tube gathering the flower pods and roasting them in a cast iron skillet. Said they were sweet because the sudars in the flower buds carmelize. I want to try that this year! I also intend to gather the dried seed pods and string them together as rattles such as the Aztec Dancers once wore. (I joined a dance troupe in Arizona for a few weeks. Those shackles are Earned by helping out with the dance troupe. They use cocoons of some sort.)
There is also a yucca called sotol which has a very sweet root. It used to be roasted and pounded into cakes for long hunting trips. Nowadays it is fermented into a potent alcoholic drink by the same name. Sotol. Never tried it. But it is a beautiful red color!

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Forager
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March 9th, 2018, 3:41 am #9

"Just down the road from me are tons of yucca..along the road on a steep hill below a cemetery."

Yes, cemeteries tend to favor this plant for its evergreen character, suggesting a visual and living reference to the consolation of 'eternal life' for the bereaved who may visit graves sometimes during the most desolate times of year, which otherwise appear bereft of life.


As such these locations are likely focal points for harvesting the older dried and nearly spent basal leaves or flower stems (without diminishing the plant's abiding vitality or significance toward those whom it is intended to benefit).  I've befriended some gravediggers of Colonial graveyards which are still in use due to the longevity of their associated churches and they've granted me ongoing foraging access to their varied resources....  It's always reasonably respectful to gain permission and establish a friendly relation with any and all proprietors of potential productive landscapes. 

Some distinction needs to be drawn between the different subspecies of Yucca.  Our more northern varieties (I readily find Yucca filamentosa in northeastern NJ) which tend to be more technical than edible in usage significantly differ with the southwestern varieties which are also highly technical but far more edible.  Further inquiries pertaining to specific regions and particular species is warranted for appropriate usage contexts.
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Quillsnkiko
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March 10th, 2018, 5:31 am #10

ateyo wrote:
Quillsnkiko wrote:Your welcome Ateyo....actually in investigating that site...its amazing how many pages there are on Yucca...and how many uses there are for it.

I did not realize the fruit pod...was edible and according the the site it was used by a lot of tribes for a food source.

I am sure the yuccas around here...are escapees from plants that were originally bought. They reseed very readily I can see by those down the road. Or ....road graders have uprooted them and pieces of the roots start new plants.
I was amazed in entering different plants I knew were used by Indians....Yucca has more information and uses then Sumac, Dock , and several other names I entered last night. Quills
I saw a fellow on You tube gathering the flower pods and roasting them in a cast iron skillet.  Said they were sweet because the sudars in the flower buds carmelize.  I want to try that this year!  I also intend to gather the dried seed pods and string them together as rattles such as the Aztec Dancers once wore.  (I joined a dance troupe in Arizona for a few weeks.  Those shackles are Earned by helping out with the dance troupe.  They use cocoons of some sort.)
There is also a yucca called sotol which has a very  sweet root.  It used to be roasted and pounded into cakes for long hunting trips.  Nowadays it is fermented into a potent alcoholic drink by the same name. Sotol.  Never tried it. But it is a beautiful red color!

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
I saw a Netflix documentary about a fellow in Botswana that raised a female lino cub from a sick few day old cub....and becomes like that Lions only  pride member ...so well that they actually hunt together and she allows him to carry her kill. He goes and visits some San  Bushmen...and it shows the San men dancing with those cocoons...as rattles on their lower legs similar to the leggings worn by Cherokee and Creek  & other South Eastern tribes women in Stomp dances. Those cocoons are a  big caterpillar that is prevalent in really rainy years ( not often ) a large caterpillar that makes a cocoon which are gathered & dried and strung together on their lower legs.I would imagine its a very similar thing for those Aztec dancers. Creek & Cherokee use Either turtle shells or small cans. The rhythm is mesmerizing especially if your dancing. ( I did a few years back the year I turned 65 in Oklahoma.) That is what those San reminded me of when I saw that video the other night. Good video. Saving Sirga, is its name. Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Quillsnkiko
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March 10th, 2018, 5:40 am #11

Forager wrote: "Just down the road from me are tons of yucca..along the road on a steep hill below a cemetery."

Yes, cemeteries tend to favor this plant for its evergreen character, suggesting a visual and living reference to the consolation of 'eternal life' for the bereaved who may visit graves sometimes during the most desolate times of year, which otherwise appear bereft of life.


As such these locations are likely focal points for harvesting the older dried and nearly spent basal leaves or flower stems (without diminishing the plant's abiding vitality or significance toward those whom it is intended to benefit).  I've befriended some gravediggers of Colonial graveyards which are still in use due to the longevity of their associated churches and they've granted me ongoing foraging access to their varied resources....  It's always reasonably respectful to gain permission and establish a friendly relation with any and all proprietors of potential productive landscapes. 

Some distinction needs to be drawn between the different subspecies of Yucca.  Our more northern varieties (I readily find Yucca filamentosa in northeastern NJ) which tend to be more technical than edible in usage significantly differ with the southwestern varieties which are also highly technical but far more edible.  Further inquiries pertaining to specific regions and particular species is warranted for appropriate usage contexts.
I have already collected some of the flower stems and have some dried leaves in a box upstairs where I store stuff like that Forager. My house is full of junk...stuff...a lot of people would not care to have around....LOL!~! Its not heated up there unless I should work on a hide..then I turn on a electric heater in the winter or a fan in the summer. Some friends of mine down the road...life time residents of this area..have gotten me permission to get some of the yuccas ...and leaves etc. They owned part of the land that has now become cemetery land because they donated it.  I don't know for sure which Yucca this is..but its the same one you see in yards...and commonly in nursery's.... & fast food places that are landscaped etc.

The fellow that uses them  the root to wash hides is in Montana.

 Hummingbirds love the flowers..so they must have sweet nectar. Quills
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ateyo
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March 10th, 2018, 3:21 pm #12

Quillsnkiko wrote:
ateyo wrote:
Quillsnkiko wrote:Your welcome Ateyo....actually in investigating that site...its amazing how many pages there are on Yucca...and how many uses there are for it.

I did not realize the fruit pod...was edible and according the the site it was used by a lot of tribes for a food source.

I am sure the yuccas around here...are escapees from plants that were originally bought. They reseed very readily I can see by those down the road. Or ....road graders have uprooted them and pieces of the roots start new plants.
I was amazed in entering different plants I knew were used by Indians....Yucca has more information and uses then Sumac, Dock , and several other names I entered last night. Quills
I saw a fellow on You tube gathering the flower pods and roasting them in a cast iron skillet.  Said they were sweet because the sudars in the flower buds carmelize.  I want to try that this year!  I also intend to gather the dried seed pods and string them together as rattles such as the Aztec Dancers once wore.  (I joined a dance troupe in Arizona for a few weeks.  Those shackles are Earned by helping out with the dance troupe.  They use cocoons of some sort.)
There is also a yucca called sotol which has a very  sweet root.  It used to be roasted and pounded into cakes for long hunting trips.  Nowadays it is fermented into a potent alcoholic drink by the same name. Sotol.  Never tried it. But it is a beautiful red color!

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
I saw a Netflix documentary about a fellow in Botswana that raised a female lino cub from a sick few day old cub....and becomes like that Lions only  pride member ...so well that they actually hunt together and she allows him to carry her kill. He goes and visits some San  Bushmen...and it shows the San men dancing with those cocoons...as rattles on their lower legs similar to the leggings worn by Cherokee and Creek  & other South Eastern tribes women in Stomp dances. Those cocoons are a  big caterpillar that is prevalent in really rainy years ( not often ) a large caterpillar that makes a cocoon which are gathered & dried and strung together on their lower legs.I would imagine its a very similar thing for those Aztec dancers. Creek & Cherokee use Either turtle shells or small cans. The rhythm is mesmerizing especially if your dancing. ( I did a few years back the year I turned 65 in Oklahoma.) That is what those San reminded me of when I saw that video the other night. Good video. Saving Sirga, is its name. Quills
Wow! That must be sum-kinda big ol' caterpillar. But great minds think alike, huh?! It makes me wonder how those yucca hulls were utilized by the local indigenous population.
As for the Cherokee turtle shell rattles, my dog found a turtle shell to gnaw on, a few years back. I took it away from her in exchange for Beggin' Strips. Box turtles live underground, hibernating until mating season. When they emerge, they are grabbed up by unscrupulous people who sell them for $5.00 a piece. They are becoming more scarce in our development. So I will not collect them for their shells, nor their meat. But I will make a sand casting of the one shell and make duplicates from either **** or paper mache. Brie and I belong to the Chickamauga Tribe, a branch of the Cherokee who did not go on the Trail of Tears. We have a pow wow in August and I hope to have at least one set completed.
Are you of Cherokee descent? I think celebrating your birthday with a Stomp Dance is pretty special!
THANK YOU in advance for sending me the walnuts.
ATEYO

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Brian T
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March 10th, 2018, 10:36 pm #13

Don't forget that there are more than 50 different species of Yucca in the Agavaeceae.
I wonder how many of them had paleo economic value?

I grew Thread leaf Yucca in my South flower bed at 54* North for years.
It never appeared to suggest anything beyond an unusual ornamental appearance.
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Quillsnkiko
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March 11th, 2018, 1:04 am #14

Those yucca down the road from me get pretty big with long fairly wide leaves. The same kind grow over in Thompson Illinois in the Thompson Sand Prairie area its all sand over in Illinois.Lots of other prairie plants that grow in sand there to. Down the road from me I think its all good black soil. The flower stalks get 3 ft high at least.. on mature plants. Quills
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Brian T
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March 11th, 2018, 1:28 am #15

Google Yucca and select Images.  There's one picture, the Yucca plant on a street corner, and it looks bigger than a house.

Most of the time, it's readily apparent that First Nations use plants with many values or purposes.
Coconut, other palms, yucca, western red cedar, birch and so on such as wheat and corn..
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ramaytush
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March 14th, 2018, 2:55 am #16

ateyo wrote:
I am surprised that yucca can be found elsewhere than desert climates!  The roots supposedly contain saponenes, which have cleansing properties.  My mother remembers her father making lather from the root, and using a luffa-like portion of the plant. Interesting that it was used to degrease buffalo hides.  The local forestry department hosts a clinic in the fall where a yucca root is slow roasted in a pit.  I guess roasting it kills the saponens.  I have seen yucca root for sale in local grocery stores, so SOMEBODY is still cooking this in our region of the SouthWest.
 Thanks for the links, Quills.  This will be a useful resource!


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are you sure the yucca in the store is not from the tropical manioc roots?
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Quillsnkiko
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March 15th, 2018, 4:10 am #17

Your Welcome Ateyo. Quills
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