backyard critter watch: June 2011

Among the many native flora and fauna, we found that many of these species are native to the United States. There are a dozen of these 'soap plants' or 'soap lilies' ( Chlorogalum pomeridianum) in our yard, and we even transplanted one into our flower garden. They are indigenous to the Bay Area and apparently have a variety of uses, according to the many citations on the internet. Native Americans in the region-probably the Miwok and other tribes-used them for soap, thus their common name, but also for food and so many other uses, it seems they are an general store in one species. One thing I do not understand is how well that soap works, could also be edible. These two properties seem diametrically opposite. Most good cleaning products are very poisonous and taste awful. And conversely, I can not think of a single food that does not make things dirty in the preparation and eating of it. Anybody who has washed dishes, or has kids knows this very well. Soap plant root fibers. These look like they would make a good brush

The other uses attributed to this plant on

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