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Ahwahnee Village


Creek Dogwood
Cornus sericea ssp. sericea
kol.ot (Southern Miwok)

Creek Dogwood
[click to enlarge]

Creek Dogwood
Creek dogwood was used in twined basketry by the Miwok. Some baskets were made with young, red, unpeeled, winter-gathered creek dogwood shoots (the bark of the creek dogwood turns bright red during winter months). Other twined baskets have yellow-green colored warp rods — these are creek dogwood shoots gathered in the spring or summer, or gathered in the winter and then soaked in water for more than a week, which causes the shoots to lose color.

One utilitarian basket commonly made of creek dogwood was a seed beater, used to beat grass seeds into burden baskets. Prepared in various ways, the grass seeds were made into mush or eaten as a snack similar to “trail mix.” Many native grasses have now been replaced by exotic grasses, and fields of native grasses are difficult to find. Large-scale processing of native grasses for food by local Indian people ceases around 1900.



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