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Wavy-Leaf Soap Root
Moon Blooms Mid-June
Cabbage White Butterfly on Wavy-Leaf Soap Root.
Spring-fresh leaves of the Soap Root are edible raw or steamed like spinach.
The concentrated juice from its leaves can be used as a dye for skin tatooing.
The root of this plant combined with water produces a soapy solution.
Native Ohlone used the root as soap to wash themselves and their cooking baskets.
They fashioned brushes from the coarse, bristle-like sheath of the root.
And used these soap root brushes as household whisk brooms.
They also slow-baked the root to rid it of its soapiness, then ate it like a potato.
Wavy-leaf Soap Root blooms evenings in mid-June through July.
Soap Root flowers only open during cool evening hours.
Each blossom opens slowly, one petal at a time.
As it opens, a slight "plink" sound is heard as each petal unfurls.
The Soap Root depends on moths, bumble bees, and hummingbirds for pollination.

An insect alighting on this flower can't escape being daubed by pollen-laden pads.

Soap Root flowers blooms just a few hours during a single evening before fading away.
Look for Soap Root along trails throughout Santa Clara Valley.
On heavily used trails, tops of exposed Soap Roots resemble tufts of fur.
Twilight along the Serpentine Trail, Calero County Park.
For additional information, chick here for a trifold on the Soap Root.
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