Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Snapshots- Bear Grass

Bear Grass looks like a grass, but really belongs to the lily family. Its also known as squaw grass, quip-quip, soap grass and Indian Basket Grass. The flowers of bear grass grow on a stalk that can be 6 feet tall with many small flowers. It has a kind of sweet aroma.
Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at higher elevations in the western United States. It is usually found under alpine larch and white pine stands on cold side of the mountain  at upper timberlines.
It is one of the first plants to grow back after a fire.
Native Americans in Idaho, Washington , Montana , and British Columbia have traditionally made beautiful baskets with the stems and leaves of beargrass.  When I say leaves, I mean the grass at the base of the plant..It kind of reminds me of a Yucca with a different texture. When the leaves are dried in the sun  for making baskets, they turn a creamy white. When mixed with other materials of different colors,  like cattails  or dyed reeds beautiful designs are woven into the baskets. I took this picture high up the mountains above Spirit Lake Idaho.
A few weeks ago We stopped at a Art/Craft show in Cataldo Idaho. There was a woman there with the most beautiful baskets woven out of bear grass. It is truly an art form. Wish I had a picture of her baskets as well but I dont..


Beadwright said...

Ohhh yessss Bear Grass baskets are the best. I have made several. I think I told you I use to be a vender at that art/craft show.
I miss that area in the summer.
Have a great Sunday

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Just reading your description of where the Bear Grass grows cooled me off! It is the 3 H's here: hazy, hot & HUMID!