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Ahwahnee Village


Spicebush
Calycanthus occidentalis
hokhokot (Southern Miwok)
so'ksokotu (Central Miwok)

Spicebush
[click to enlarge]

Spicebush
Spicebush leaves and bark release an aromatic, citrus-like smell when they are bruised. Straight, second-year shoots which grow out of dense spicebush thickets were used by the Miwok for arrow shafts. The shafts produced were somewhat softer and less durable than those made from mock orange, but spicebush shafts were highly regarded for their light weight. but

By 1900, Yosemite Indian people were no longer using or making bows and arrows, though Chris Brown (“Chief Lemee”) demonstrated arrow making in Yosemite between 1930 and 1950. In the 1950s, Lloyd parker, a Miwok-Paiute resident of Yosemite, cut spicebush shafts for his grandsons to shoot with their toy bows, in lieu of finished arrows. Today, only a few Indian and non-Indian people make arrows from this plant.



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