Back to Nature
BACK TO NATURE
EXPLORE ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON PLANTS IN MORO CANYON THIS NOVEMBER
With the opening of the Berns Environmental Study Loop earlier this year, 18,000 native plants were incorporated to build a diverse and healthy community. In the months since, even more have been added to restore the ecosystem back to its natural state. Native plants hold cultural significance, as well as provided a source of food, fiber, resin and medicine for the region’s Acjachemen and other California Native Americans.
Throughout November, CCA is encouraging visitors to study the previous uses of these plants to understand the traditional ways of the land’s earliest residents. Here are five of the most common plants that will be marked with color-coded stickers this month—keep an eye out for these and other plants along the Berns Environmental Study Loop trail:
California Buckwheat (Yellow Sticker): This shrub played a role in the Acjachemen material culture. The Acjachemen brewed a tea with the leaves to treat headaches and stomach problems. The seeds played a role during ceremonies and are edible.
California Sagebrush (Green Sticker): Aromatic and plentiful, sagebrush leaves were used to treat headaches. The leaves also have a ceremonial role. Smoke from burning sagebrush leaves is still used today in purification rituals.
Toyon (Red Sticker): The Acjachemen used the wood of toyon to make arrow shafts, digging sticks and bowls. They also harvested the berries to make jelly, a drink or a snack of dried fruit.
White Sage (White Sticker): Extremely aromatic, white sage has a wide range of uses by California Native Americans, including the Acjachemen. Historically, they smoked or boiled the leaves to treat colds and used them fresh as a deodorant. Today, white sage leaves are still used in purification rituals.
Arroyo Willow (Blue Sticker): The Acjachemen used the supple shoots of this plant as basketry material. The wood was used to construct their thatched homes, called kiichas. Willow bark also has medicinal qualities, easing pain and reducing fever.