soap root plantSoaproot Plant

Soaproot was an essential commodity for the Ohlone people. The versatile plant, a member of the onion family, was harvested with a digging stick from hillsides each winter. Soaproot provided food, soap, glue, brushes, medicine, and a potent fish poison. This course-fibered bulb produced long, wavy green leaves in the spring and an asparagus-like flower stalk in the summer. During evening, its white flowers opened to attract night-flying insects like moths. Enormous amounts of soaproot were collected and baked, with the dried surplus saved for later use.

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