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Natural Materials for Basketry: General Plant Info

General plant information sources for native natural materials used in basketmaking.

John Miller - Yucca Plant
Yucca Plant
John Miller
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Xerophyllum tenax: beargrass, Indian basket grass, Squaw-grass, soap-grass, Quip-Quip, bear grass, bear-grass, plant information for growing and its use in flower arranging, basket making and weaving.

Birch Bark Containers and Utensils
In this section of her extensive NativeTech site Tara Prindle presents the use of Birch Bark by Native Americans.

Black Ash Natural Materials Information
Plant identification, cultivating, harvesting and processing Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra) as a natural material used for basketmaking.

Information about the use of cattail leaves in basketweaving. Identification, harvesting, processing, storing and usage tips are offered.

Make cordage of natural materials like dogbane, cedar, basswood, milkweed, sweetflag, bullrush, cattail and sedge with instructions from NativeTech.

Four Pomo Basketry Materials
Willow, sedge, bulrush root and redbud are used in traditional Californian Pomo basketry.

Lake Sonoma Dam Drowns Plants
The ongoing battle to save the traditional basketry plants such as wooly sedge (Carex languinosa), from destruction by dam building projects.

Pomo Basketry Materials
Photograph of Pomo basketry materials from Professor Ron Johnson at Humboldt State University - sedge (white), redbud (red), willow.

Pandanus Tectorius
The åkgak tree (pronounced awhk-gahk) or the screw pine. The only type of pandanus tree that is used for weaving.

Plant Reference Images
University of Wisconsin offers images of plant specimens. Searchable by phylum, family or genus.

Rattan / Reed
Find out about how basket reed is produced from the core of a thorny palm (mostly genera Calamus, Daemonorops or Plectomia) which grows like a vine into the forest canopy of the jungles of South East Asia and Indonesia.

Riving Wood
This article is directed to furniture makers, but will teach you how to rive green "tree wet" wood such as white oak that can be used in basket making.

Waveney Rush Industry of Suffolk, England offers a description of how rush products are harvested, braided and stitched into finished baskets, matting and other products.

Spruce Root Basket
Description of Sitka spruce root processing for basketry as practiced by the Alaska Tlingit. Includes a legend of the making of the first basket.

Sweetgrass Basketry  
The history of the sweetgrass basket industry in the southeast, notably Mt. Pleasant, SC and the challenges faced because of development.

Tree and Tradition
This article details the use of Brown Ash in Maine Native American Basketmaking.

Virtual Foliage
If you need information about or an image of a particular plant material, it is likely to be here.

White Oak Woodsplint Preparation
Robert Haygens describes and illustrates the process of preparing white oak splints.

Woven Spirit
Indigenous materials including palm, grapevine, manilla fiber, jute roving, antlers, long leaf pine needles, philodendron, raffia, gourds, wheat and sisal along with the more traditional supplies.

Native Basketry Plant Materials 

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