Local Indigenous Native American Ethnobotany: Useful, Edible, Medicinal, and Ceremonial Plants

Local Indigenous Native American Ethnobotany: Useful, Edible, Medicinal, and Ceremonial Plants

November 20, 2019
7:30 pm

Speaker: James “Doc” Hale
Location: Garden Room, Orinda Public Library

Over 1,000 California native plants have been identified as being used by indigenous Native Californians. Some of the more interesting uses: the silica-filled stems of horsetails (Equisetum spp.) have been used to sand and polish bows, arrows, and other objects; the flowers of California lilac (Ceanothus spp.) have been used as a skin cleanser and shampoo; and the flower stalks of deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) are valued for their flexibility, strength, and ability to expand when wet, making this grass species ideal for weaving watertight water jugs. Doc Hale will speak about the many plants that were and still are used for food, for medicinal and religious purposes, for tools and baskets, and as dyes.

James “Doc” M. Hale has been a professional vertebrate zoologist, certified wildlife biologist, ethnobiologist, and ecological consultant for 46 years. He has conducted field research throughout California (as well as other states), is an ecological consultant for various private and public organizations, conducts varied wildlife surveys, and has developed numerous environmental impact reports. He has broad knowledge of the cultural and natural history of California and leads interpretive field trips to cultural sites. His current projects involve analyzing mountain lion ecology in Contra Costa County; researching Native American archaeology; and recording the wildlife, plants, and archaeological sites at Brushy Peak Regional Preserve in Livermore.

East Bay CNPS members meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 26 Orinda Way, Orinda 94563, a few blocks from the Orinda BART station. The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. Email programs@ebcnps.org if you have questions.