Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tules Are Growing In The Marsh

Tule shoots emerging

Tule shoots emerging

Tules are the main vegetation in lower Beaver Creek marsh, where they grow up to 8’ in height.  The shoots emerge at the beginning of April and grow to full height by the end of May, when they flower.  So they grow 8’ in eight weeks (one foot per week). Tules are used by many animals in the marsh.  Birds use them for shelter, nesting support, and food from the flowers and seeds.  Nutria feed on the shoots and rhizomes.  Other marsh animals use them for shelter from predators and territorial disputes.

Tule at full height in June

Humans have used tules extensively.  An introduction to tule ethnobotany was written by Norm Kidder.  For example tules were used to make baskets, clothing, mats, houses, dolls and toys, boats and rafts, and duck decoys.  Locally the Alsi people used tule in dresses that also included grass and cedar bark.  Local uses of tule by Alsi and Yakona tribes are not well documented and would be a subject for further study.  I am looking forward to hearing from elders about past use of tules in this area.

Gathering tules -  Photo; Edward Curtis, 1910

Tule canoe - Photo; Edward Curtis, 1924

Tule shelter - Photo; Edward Curtis, 1924

Posted by michael

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