• Plants for Basket Making

Basket Making Plants

 

Basketry is one of mankind’s oldest crafts and art forms and is practiced in almost every corner of the world. Plants are the cornerstone of basketry. Their natural fibers, twigs, stems, leaves, vines, bark (and more!) woven into both ornamental and utilitarian baskets and containers used by ancient and modern day peoples alike.

The oldest baskets found to date were discovered in Egypt and have been carbon dated at 10,000 to 12,000 years old. In the United States, remnants of Native American basketry were discovered in caves in the Southwest and are believed to be more than 8,000 years old.

Misti Washington Gourd and Basket Guild
Chumash basket, circa 1800. Made from Juncus stems
& split sumac roots wrapped around a grass coil foundation.

Basketry and weaving began as a useful craft, providing all kids of practical items such as storage vessels, netting, rope, infant cradles, bee skeps, fishing creels and boats. Once worn out, they became useful kindling. Baskets were not only used for common, daily needs by ancient peoples, they also served as pieces of art and religious ornamentation, adorning tombs (and bodies) of kings and venerated by the ancient Mesopotamians. Basketry techniques and materials continue to be used to for housing, mats, clothing and hats by many cultures today.

Basket Making PlantsCarole Lang
Carole Lang working on a new basket.

San Diego Botanic Garden has a collection of well over 90 species of plants that were, and are, used for basketry, gourd and fiber art. Following is a list of plants used for these art forms, compiled by the Misti Washington Gourd and Basket Guild. Please remember, that no harvesting of materials – basket weaving or otherwise – is allowed at the Garden.

Acacia spp.
Acacia, Wattle   Acacia spp.
Acacia, Wattle

Bark, branches, roots

Wickerwork, cordage, dyes (flower - yellow, bark - reddish brown, black, pods - black, red, yellow)

The aboriginal tribes of Australia used every part of the acacia trees in their daily lives including the inner bark fibers, which they made into string, rope and sandals. Similarly, in Africa, Acacia bark and roots were used to make rope, baskets and dyes.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Herb Garden, New World Desert Garden, Old World Desert Garden


     
Adiantum pedatum   Adiantum pedatum
Maidenhair Fern, Five-finger Fern

Stems

Twining, stitching, embellishments

Young stalks and the skins of older ferns are used for their shiny black color, adding patterns to baskets.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Tropical Rainforest, Walled Garden, Waterfall Area

 

     
Agapanthus africanus   Agapanthus africanus
Lily of the Nile, African Lily

Flower stems, leaves

Twining, dyes (leaves - gray)

The leaves of the Agapanthus make a light gray dye and, along with the flower stems, can be used for twining.

Where in the Garden: African Garden, Bamboo, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Palm Canyon, South Africa Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Walled Garden

 

     
Agave spp., A. americana   Agave sp., A. americana
Century Plant, Sentry Plant, Maguey

Leaves
Twining, stitching, cordage

Native to the Americas the fiber inside the tough leaves is separated and used for embroidery, stitching, rope, mats, baskets and bags. Depending on the type of Agave fibers can be left to form ribbons or split as thin as a human hair and used for embroidery.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail, Eucalyptus Grove, Firesafety Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Mexican Garden, New World Desert Garden, Palm Canyon, South America Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Walled Garden

 

     
Agave sisalana   Agave sisalana
Sisal

Leaves
Twining, coiling, stitching, cordage

Native to the Americas the fiber inside the tough leaves is separated and used for embroidery, stitching, rope, mats, baskets and bags. Depending on the type of Agave fibers can be left to form ribbons or split as thin as a human hair and used for embroidery.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes

 

     
Allium spp., A. cepa   Allium spp., Allium cepa
Onions

Outer skins, leaves, stalks
Twining, cordage, dyes (yellow, brass), overlay

The outer skins can be used to make a yellow dye, while the stalks and leaves can be used for twining and cordage.

Where in the Garden: African Garden, Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Aloe spp.   Aloe spp.
Aloe

Leaves
Cordage

It was reported in the Journal of the American Institute as early as 1838 that the cordage of aloe was four times as strong as cordage made from hemp.

Where in the Garden: African Garden, Canary Islands, Firesafety Garden, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Old World Desert Garden, Palm Canyon, South Africa Garden

 

     
Anigozanthos spp.   Anigozanthos spp.
Kangaroo paw

Leaves, stems
Twining, embellishments

Leaves and stems are used for twining baskets while the flowers can be dried and used as embellishments.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Walled Garden

 

     
Archontophoenis spp.   Archontophoenis spp.
King Palm

Seed fronds, sheaths
Wickerwork, twining

Native to Australia, the sheaths have been traditionally folded and stitched to make water proof containers. The seed fronds can be used for weaving baskets.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Waterfall Area

 

     

Aristea spp.

  Aristea spp.
Aristea

Leaves
Plaiting, twining, cordage

Native to western and southern Africa the tough leaves are suitable for cordage, plaiting and twining and will dry a grayish black.

Where in the Garden: Lawn Garden

 

     
Asclepias spp.
Milkweed   Asclepias spp.
Milkweed

Stems

Twining, coiling, cordage

Milkweed stalks once dried produce a sisal-like rope fiber from the pith core that can be used for twining and cordage.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

 

     
Bambusa   Bambusa spp.,
Himalayacalamus spp., Phyllostachys spp.
Bamboo

Stems, leaves
Plaiting, twining, splintwork

The craft of bamboo basketry throughout Asia is centuries old, often passed between generations and steeped in tradition. Although a difficult plant to process the strong and flexible material can be used to make both utilitarian and fine art pieces.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Eucalyptus Grove, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden,South America Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Waterfall Area

 

     
Banksia spp.

Wallum Banksia Tree
(Banksia serratifolia)

 

  Banksia spp.
Banksia

Bark
Needles for netting

Aborigines made needles from the wood of the Banksia to use for weaving baskets and mats.

 

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand

 

     

Adiantum pedatum

Adiantum pedatum
Polly Giacchina

  Beaucarnea recurvata
Elephant’s foot, Ponytail Palm

Leaves
Twining, cordage

A native of Central America the species name recurvata means “bent-back” and refers to the long, curved, fibrous leaves that are used to make baskets, rope, brooms, hats and mats.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Lawn Garden, Mexican Garden, Undersea Succulent Garden

 

     
Brachychiton popuneus
Kurrajong   Brachychiton popuneus
Kurrajong

Bark
Netting

Aborigines used the bark of the Kurrajong to make nets that were used for hunting.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Eucalyptus Grove, Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Brahea spp., Brahea armata, Brahea dulcis
Mexican Blue Palm, Blue Hesper Palm, Sombrero Palm
Brahea armata
Blue Hesper Palm
 

Brahea spp., Brahea armata, Brahea dulcis
Mexican Blue Palm, Blue Hesper Palm, Sombrero Palm

Leaves
Plaiting, cordage

Like many fan palms throughout the world, the leaves of these Central American palms have long been used for a variety of products such as hats, mats, rain capes, thatching, ropes and baskets.

Where in the Garden: New World Desert Garden

 

     
Butia capitata
Jelly Palm   Butia capitata
Jelly Palm

Leaves
Stitching

In Brazil the leaves are dried and used to make hats, brooms, baskets and other crafts.

Where in the Garden: South America Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

     
Adiantum pedatum   Carex spp.
Sedge

Roots, leaves
Twining, coiling, cordage

Sedge roots provide an important basketry material used by the Pomo Indians in northern California. The “root baskets” of the Pomo are renowned for their fineness and evenness of stitch while remaining strong and durable.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Ceanothus   Ceanothus spp.
California Lilac

Shoots
Coiling, twining

The Ceanothus was pruned and burned by Native California Tribes to produce new shoots often used for for warps and hoops.  The Miwok tribe used them to create winnowers, seed beaters and burden baskets.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail

 

     
Cercis occidentalis, 
Cercis canadensis   Cercis occidentalis,
Cercis canadensis

Redbud

Branches, bark
Twining, stitching

Native to the California foothills and canyons the Native Americans traditionally burned or cut the Redbud to the ground each year to produce new shoots to work with. The inner bark was treasured because of its naturally occurring red color used for contrasting basket patterns.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes

 

     
Adiantum pedatum
Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm
(Chamaerops humilis)
  Chamaerops spp.,
Chamaerops humilis
European Fan Palm, Mediterranean Dwarf Palm

Leaves
Plaiting, twining

One of only two palms native to Europe, the leaves are used to make brooms, mats, baskets and similar items.

Where in the Garden: Canary Islands, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Mediterranean Garden

 

     

Adiantum pedatum

  Cordyline terminalis
Ti Plant

Leaves
Twining, cordage

Brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian settlers, the Ti leaf is associated with the hula and its goddess Laka. The leaves are woven into capes, skirts and braided into leis.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Lawn Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Palm Canyon, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Waterfall Area

 

     
Cycas spp   Cycas spp.
Cycad

Leaves
Coiling, twining

Various cycads are used throughout the temperate regions of the world as a source of leaves to make hats, mats, brooms, baskets, fences, twine and cordage. Surface fibers have also been used to make cloth.

Where in the Garden: African Garden, Australia/New Zealand, Bamboo, Eucalyptus Grove, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Lawn Garden, Mexican Garden, Palm Canyon, Tropical Rainforest, South Africa Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Walled Garden

 

     
Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus   Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
Artichoke

Leaves
Plaiting, twining

The tough fibrous leaves of the artichoke can be used for plaiting and twining baskets.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden

 

     
Cyperus papyrus, C. alternifolius, C. testacea   Cyperus papyrus,
Cyperus alternifolius,
Cyperus testacea

Papyrus, Umbrella Plant

Stems
Wickerwork, coiling, stitching

Used in both ancient and modern Egypt as the foundation of coiled and plaited baskets. Plaiting Papyrus was also utilized to make rafts, flooring, roofs, clothing and furniture.

Where in the Garden: Mediterranean Garden, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Dasylirion glaucophylum
Sotol, Desert Spoon, Cactus Spoon   Dasylirion glaucophylum
Sotol, Desert Spoon, Cactus Spoon

Leaves
Plaiting, splintwork

Easily prepared, the leaves of the Sotol have been used by native peoples in the desert southwest and Mexico to make baskets, mats and headbands. Flowers stalks were used as frames for cradleboard backs and in the head dress of the Apache Mountain Spirit dancers.

Where in the Garden: New World Desert Garden

 

     
Dianella spp., 
Dianella tasanica   Dianella spp., Dianella tasanica
Flax Lily

Leaves
Twining, cordage

Aborigines used the split leaves to make cords. Also twined to make dillybags, a type of bag worn around the neck to hold tools or gathered food like berries or fish.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Lawn Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Walled Garden

 

     
Dracaena draco
Dragon Tree
  Dracaena draco
Dragon Tree

Leaves, aerial roots
Wickerwork, twining, plaiting, cordage, embellishments

Although it is mostly known for the red sap it produces, a source for useful dye, the leaves and aerial roots of the Dragon Tree can be used for making baskets and cords.

Where in the Garden: Canary Islands, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Old World Desert Garden

 

     
Elegia tectorum   Elegia tectorum
Cape Rush

Stems
Wickerwork

Not actually a rush, nor a grass or sedge, the Cape Rush is a restios, endemic to South Africa. Its stems have been used to make thatched roofs, brooms and baskets for hundreds of years.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Hamilton Childen's Garden, South Africa Garden

 

     

Eucalyptus

  Eucalyptus spp., Eucalyptus rudus, Eucalyptus grandis
Eucalyptus

Bark, branches, pods
Plaiting, twining, coiling, cordage, embellishments

Most parts of this versatile tree can be used in basketry. The bark can be folded and sewn to make waterproof containers or stripped to make rope, the branches are suitable twining and the seed pods are long lasting embellishments.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Native Plants and Native People Trail, Eucalyptus Grove

 

     
Fatsia japonica
Japanese Aralia   Fatsia japonica
Japanese Aralia

Leaf stems
Wickerwork, coiling

The leaf stems of the Japanese Aralia are dried until just pliable and then used for wickerwork or as a core for coiling.

Where in the Garden: Herb Garden

 

     
Fragaria spp.
Strawberry   Fragaria spp.
Strawberry

Runners
Wickerwork, twining

Strawberry runners (stolons) are a useful material for twining and wickerwork

Where in the Garden: Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Furcraea spp., 
Furcraea foetida
Mauritius Hemp   Furcraea spp., Furcraea foetida
Mauritius Hemp

Leaves
Twining, cordage

Not a true Hemp, the fibers from the leaves can still be made into twine, rope, brushes, cloth, mats and hammocks that are resistant to freshwater water and easily dyed.

Where in the Garden: Lawn Garden, Palm Canyon

 

     
Hedera spp.
Ivy   Hedera spp.
Ivy

Vines
Wickerwork, twining

Often considered an invasive plant, ivy is a versatile weaving material. Used in wickerwork, twining and coiling it can be woven green or dried and re-soaked, split or whole, with the bark on or stripped off.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Hedychium spp.
Ginger   Hedychium spp.
Ginger

Leaves
Plaiting, twining, coiling

The leaves of the ornamental Ginger can be woven whole or sized and used for plaiting, twining or coiling.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Palm Canyon, South Africa Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Hemerocallis spp.
Daylily   Hemerocallis spp.
Daylily

Leaves
Twining, coiling, stitching, cordage

Leaves of many bulbous plants are suitable for weaving. The tough, dried leaves of the Daylily are terrific for twining, stitching, coiling and cordage.

Where in the Garden: Lawn Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Adiantum pedatum   Hesperoyucca whipplei
Our Lords Candle

Leaves
Coiling

Used extensively by Native Americans, the leaves or roots are pounded to expose the long, strong fibers which can be processed into threads for baskets, blankets, shoes and cords.

Where in the Garden: Native Plants and Native People Trail

 

     
Iris spp.
Iris, Flag   Iris spp.
Iris, Flag

Leaves, flowers (dye)
Wickerwork, twining, coiling, cordage, dye (lavender, purple)

The brown leaves of the iris are tough and can be lightly soaked in water then used for twining, or braided into cordage then twined or coiled. The flowers are a good source of a natural lavender or purple dye.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Firesafety Garden, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Mediterranean Garden, South Africa Garden

 

     
Jacaranda mimosifolia
Jacaranda   Jacaranda mimosifolia
Jacaranda

Leaf stems, seed pods
Twining, coiling, embellishments

The reddish leaf stalks that are shed each year by the Jacaranda can be twined or stitched into beautiful coiled baskets, while the seed pods are a good source for embellishments.

Where in the Garden: Mediterranean Garden, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Adiantum pedatum   Jasminum spp.
Jasmine

Vines, roots
Wickerwork

Like many vines, Jasmine is a good source of strong material for wickerwork, twining and random weaving.

Where in the Garden: Lawn Garden

 

     
Juncus spp.
Juncus, Big Rush, Basket Rush   Juncus spp.
Juncus, Big Rush, Basket Rush

Stems
Twining, coiling

A staple in Southern California native basketry Juncus, or Basket Rush, is prized for its variety of colors; red near the base, followed by several shades of brown, ending in brownish yellow. The rush is split, the pith cleaned out and then used for coiling and twining.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail, Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Kniphofia spp.
Red Hot Poker   Kniphofia spp.
Red Hot Poker

Leaves
Twining, coiling, cordage

When the long leaves of the Red Hot Poker are rehydrated or weaved they have a soft, silken texture and are tan in color with gray spotting that creates interesting variations in color.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Laurus nobilis
Bay Laurel   Laurus nobilis
Bay Laurel

Stems
Wickerwork

The branches of the Bay Laurel are pliable and make a good material for wickerwork. Wreaths, garlands and crowns of Bay were woven in ancient Greece and Rome.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Firesafety Garden

 

     
Lavendula spp.
Lavender   Lavendula spp.
Lavender

Stems
Wickerwork, coiling

Fresh Lavender is an aromatic herb that can be gathered fresh and coiled or woven into a basket. Use both the stalks and flower stems.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Walled Garden

 

     
Leymus spp., 
Leymus arenarius, Leymus mollis
Wild Rye, American Dunegrass, Strand Grass   Leymus spp.,
Leymus arenarius, Leymus mollis
Wild Rye, American Dunegrass, Strand Grass

Leaves
Twining, coiling, cordage

A coastal dune grass, Wild Rye has been used by native peoples throughout North America to make very fine mats, baskets and sacks, braided into rope and used as stitching for coiled baskets.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes

 

     
Adiantum pedatum
  Livistona spp.
Cabbage Palm, Fan Palm, Carnavon Palm

Leaves
Plaiting, twining, cordage

Used for making hats, baskets, bags and nets, the tender leaves of Livistona australis are also eaten like cabbage.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Bamboo, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Lomandra longifolia, Lomandra hystrix
Spiny Headed Mat Rush
  Lomandra longifolia,
Lomandra hystrix

Spiny Headed Mat Rush

Leaves
Twining, cordage

Originally used to make a fishing basket, Aboriginal people split each rush, soaked the fibers to make them soft and wove basketry traps for catching eels. Today they also make a variety of useful and decorative coiled baskets from rush.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand

 

     
Lonicera spp.
Honeysuckle Vine   Lonicera spp.
Honeysuckle Vine

Runners
Wickerwork, twining

The vines of Honeysuckle are best used once they have been coiled and dried, then soaked in boiling water to remove the outer bark.

Where in the Garden: Tropical Rainforest

     
Lygeum spartum, 
Stipa tenacissima
False Esparto Grass, Halfa   Lygeum spartum,
Stipa tenacissima

False Esparto Grass, Halfa

Blades
Plaiting, twining, coiling

The Esparto Grass is a valued source for rope, baskets, shoes and paper in the Mediterranean region. The name is derived from the Greek word “sparton” for rope.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden

 

     
Magnolia spp.
Magnolia
  Magnolia spp.
Magnolia

Stems
Weaving

The young new growth, even with tight velvety flower buds, make a good material for wickerwork.

Where in the Garden: Waterfall Area

 

     

Mahonia spp., 
Mahonia aquifolium
Oregon Grape, Evergreen Barberry

  Mahonia spp.,
Mahonia aquifolium

Oregon Grape, Evergreen Barberry

Twigs, bark
Dyes (yellow)

Many of the first peoples of North America used Mahonia as a dying agent to create beautiful yellow baskets and garments.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes

 

     
Adiantum pedatum   Malus spp.
Apple

Bark, branches, shoots, suckers
Wickerwork, structures, dye (yellow/tan)

Like many fruit trees the pruned branches, shoots and suckers can be used for wickerwork and shaped while green into handles or ribs. The bark and leaves can be used as a dying agent to create a yellow tan.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Melaleuca spp.
Bottlebrush, Paper Bark, Punk Tree
Melaleuca spp.
Bottlebrush, Paper Bark, Punk Tree

Bark
Embellishments

The soft bark of the Melaceuca can be used in plaiting or as embellishments to baskets. Aborigines folded and stitched the bark to make containers, sealing them with bees wax to carry water.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand

 

     
Morus spp.
Mulberry   Morus spp.
Mulberry

Shoots, inner bark, root bark
Wickerwork, plaiting, splintwork, cordage

Mulberry branches have been used for generations in Punjab to make baskets, or tokre, which had a variety of purposes from transporting food to keeping chickens warm at night.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Muhlenbergia rigens
Deergrass   Muhlenbergia rigens
Deergrass

Stems, stalks
Coiling

Widely used in native American Southern California basketry, deergrass forms the basis for coiled baskets. The grass was prized by tribes who cultivated it by grooming, trimming and burning it to the ground regularly to produce the fine stalks that were turned into exceptional pieces.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Lawn Garden, New World Desert Garden

 

     
Musa spp.
Banana
  Musa spp.
Banana

Stems, skins
Plaiting, twining, stitching

Grown in other 100 countries the fibers of the Musa are exceptionally strong and straight making them ideal for plaiting, twining and stitching.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Palm Canyon, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Tropical Rainforest

 

     

Nannorrhops ritchieana
Mazari Palm

  Nannorrhops ritchieana
Mazari Palm

Dried leaves
Plaiting, twining, cordage

Native to Southwestern Asia the dried leaves are commonly used in Pakistan to make baskets and ropes.

Where in the Garden: Eucalyptus Grove

 

     
Adiantum pedatum
  Nolina parryi,
Nolina microcarpa

Parry’s Nolina, Beargrass, Sacahista

Leaves
Twining, coiling

Widespread over the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, beargrass was a critically important plant to native peoples. Leaves were used for a variety of baskets, mats, thatch, cordage and wrapping material.

Where in the Garden: New World Desert Garden

 

     
Olea spp.
Olive Tree   Olea spp.
Olive Tree


Branches
Wickerwork

Coinciding with the annual olive tree pruning in Palestine is the ancient tradition of weaving olive branches into beautiful, strong baskets, called Qiralla.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Pandanus odoratissimus, 
Pandanus tectorius, Pandanus utilis
Pandanus, Screw Pine, Lauhala   Pandanus odoratissimus,
Pandanus tectorius, Pandanus utilis

Pandanus, Screw Pine, Lauhala

Leaves
Plaiting, splintwork

Native to the Old World tropics and subtropics Pandanus trees are of cultural importance throughout these regions. The leaves are processed and woven into mats, hats, baskets, rope, twine, sails and thatching.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Palm Canyon

 

     
Passiflora spp.
Passionfruit   Passiflora spp.
Passionfruit

Vines
Wickerwork, twining

Although not as hardy as other vines the Passionfruit vine can be used for wickerwork or twining, especially when used with a variety of other plant materials.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Philadelphus spp., Philadelphus californica
Mock Orange, Syringa, Wild Mock Orange   Philadelphus spp.,
Philadelphus californica
Mock Orange, Syringa, Wild Mock Orange

Twigs
Wickerwork

The stems of the Mock Orange can be used in fine wickerwork and were valued because of their lightness by native American basket weavers.

Where in the Garden: Herb Garden

 

     
Philodendron spp.
Giant Philodedron   Philodendron spp.
Giant Philodedron

Leaf sheath, leaf stem, roots
Plaiting, twining, embellishments

The deep red, leathery sheath the Philodendron sheds can be used in plaiting, twining or to embellish a basket.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Palm Canyon, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Waterfall Area

 

     
Phoenix canariensis
Canary Island Date Palm   Phoenix canariensis
Canary Island Date Palm

Seed stalks
Wickerwork, twining, coiling, embellishments

Although native to the Canary Islands the leaves and seed stalks of this palm have been used by many cultures throughout the world for basketry.

Where in the Garden: Canary Islands, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Phormium tenax
New Zealand Flax  

Phormium tenax
New Zealand Flax

Leaves
Twining, coiling, wickerwork, stitching, cordage

The extremely tough leaves of the Flax can be harvested at any time stripped into various widths and used for twining, coiling, plaiting or cordage.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Mediterranean Garden

 

     
Pinus spp., Pinus roxburghii, Pinus torreyana, Pinus canariensis, Pinus palustris
Chir Pine, Torrey Pine, Canary Island Pine, Longleaf Pine   Pinus spp., Pinus roxburghii, Pinus torreyana, Pinus canariensis, Pinus palustris
Chir Pine, Torrey Pine, Canary Island Pine, Longleaf Pine

Needles
Coiling, plaiting

Many varieties of long leaf pine needles have been used for generations, throughout many temperate countries worldwide, resulting in fine baskets that lend themselves to an extremely wide variety of patterns and shapes.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Canary Islands, Native Plants and Native People Trail, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Walled Garden, Waterfall Area

 

     
Platanus sp.
California Sycamore   Platanus sp.
California Sycamore

Stems, seed pods
Wickerwork, embellishments

The tender shoots, suckers and leaf stems of the Sycamore are suitable for wickerwork, while the seed pods are used to embellish baskets.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden

 

     
Prunus spp.
Cherry, pear, plum, peach
Plum
  Prunus spp.
Cherry, pear, plum, peach

Twigs, bark, shoots, sprouts, suckers
Wickerwork, plaiting, wickerwork, splintwork, structures, dyes

The bark, twigs, shoots and sprouts of fruit trees have been used by cultures worldwide for basketry and dyes.

Where in the Garden: Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Pteridium spp.
Bracken (or Brake) Fern   Pteridium spp.
Bracken (or Brake) Fern

Rootstock, shoots
Twining, coiling, embellishments, dye (yellow-green, gray-green)

A temperate fern found on every continent except Antartica. The people of the Washoe tribe of California and Nevada use the Bracken Fern to create black and brown patterns in their exceptional baskets.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden, Walled Garden, Waterfall Area

 

     
Pritchardia spp.
Loulu   Pritchardia spp.
Loulu

Leaves
Plaiting, twining

Found on tropical Pacific Ocean islands, this palm had many uses including fans, umbrellas, hats, baskets and thatching. A very flexible leaf when young it can be split down to 1/8 inch for very fine weaving.

Where in the Garden: Lawn Garden

 

     
Puya spp., Puya chilensis
Puya, Sheep-eating Plant, Chagual   Puya spp., Puya chilensis
Puya, Sheep-eating Plant, Chagual

Leaves
Cordage

Over 100 varieties of this Bromeliad exist throughout the Andes. Once the sharp edges of the leaves are removed the fibers can be fashioned into cordage and netting.

Where in the Garden: South America Garden

 

     
Rhus trilobata
Basket Sumac, Catclaw, Basket Weed, Threeleaf   Rhus trilobata
Basket Sumac, Catclaw, Basket Weed, Threeleaf

Stems, roots, leaves, berries
Wickerwork, stitching, dyes (reddish/tan)

Branches of Sumac can be used for wickerwork but most commonly the Sumac has been used by Native Americans for coiling once the slender branches are split, dried and sized. Sumac can also be used to create a reddish/burgundy dye.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail

 

     
Rosa spp.
Rose   Rosa spp.
Rose

Canes
Wickerwork

Collected in the fall and winter, leaves and thorns removed, coiled and left to dry for 2-4 weeks, rose canes are a good source for wickerwork or hoops and ribs.

Where in the Garden: Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Walled Garden

 

     
Adiantum pedatum   Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary

Branches
Wickerwork, coiling

Rosemary can be woven or coiled with other herbs and materials to make beautiful, fragrant, rustic baskets and wreaths.

Where in the Garden: Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

 

     
Adiantum pedatum
Sabal palmetto
Cabbage Palm)
  Sabal spp., Sabal palmetto,
Sabal minor, Sabal domingensis,
Sabal miamiensis

Cabbage Palm, Dwarf Palmetto, Miami Palmetto

Leaf stalks, leaves
Plaiting, splintwork, stitching, embellishments

A native of the Gulf Coast States the Cabbage Palm became the dominant basket making material of the Florida tribes, including Seminole, Miccosukee, Choctaw and Houma, who used it for both coiling and plaiting. Once commercially harvested for making brushes and whisk brooms.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Lawn Garden, South Africa Garden, Tropical Rainforest

 

     

Salix spp., Salix lasiolepis

Salix spp., Salix lasiolepis
Kumeyaay basket from the collection of Carol Lang

  Salix spp., Salix lasiolepis
Willow, Arroyo Willow

Branches, bark, roots
Wickerwork, twining, coiling, cordage, dyes (brown)

Willow has a wide distribution and has been cultivated by many cultures. Ancient romans used willow for bee hives, baskets and fences.

Where in the Garden: Native Plants and Native People Trail

 

     
Salvia spp., Salvia apiana
Sage, White Sage
White Sage
(Salvia apiana)
  Salvia spp., Salvia apiana
Sage, White Sage

Stems
Coiling

The flexible stems of Sage are another great garden herb to weave and coil into fragrant baskets and wreaths.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail, Firesafety Garden, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Mediterranean Garden, New World Desert Garden, South America Garden

     
Sambucus spp., S. nigra, S. cerulea, S. mexicana   Sambucus spp., Sambucus nigra, Sambucus cerulea, Sambucus mexicana
Elderberry

Leaves
Dye (black)

This shrub was extensively used by many American Indian tribes, including the Cahuilla who made a black dye from the twigs and fruit to color their baskets.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Native Plants and Native People Trail

 

     
Sansevieria trifasciata   Sansevieria trifasciata
Snake plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

Leaves
Twining, stitching, cordage

A very fibrous plant, the Snake Plant has been used by many native peoples of Africa to make mats, rope, baskets and bowstrings.

Where in the Garden: African Garden, Bamboo, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Old World Desert Garden, Palm Canyon, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Strelitzia reginae
Bird of Paradise   Strelitzia reginae
Bird of Paradise

Leaf, stems
Twining, plaiting, coiling, stitching

The tough leaves and stems of the South African Bird of Paradise, and fibers made from the plant, can be used for twining, plaiting, coiling and stitching.

Where in the Garden: Bamboo, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden, Old World Desert Garden, Palm Canyon, South Africa Garden, Walled Garden

 

     
Syagarus romanzoffianum
Queen Palm
Palm Canyon
  Syagarus romanzoffianum
Queen Palm

Seed fronds
Twining, coiling

The seed fronds, or inflorescence, of the Queen Palm are a tough, textural and pliable source of material for wickerwork, twining, coiling and random weave.

Where in the Garden: Palm Canyon, South Africa Garden

 

     
Tillandsia usneoides
Spanish Moss   Tillandsia usneoides
Spanish Moss

Fibers
Twining, coiling, cordage, embellishments

The outer coating of Spanish Moss must be removed before it is spun into a fiber that can be turned into extremely strong cords and fabrics used to make baskets, blankets and clothing.

Where in the Garden: Palm Canyon, Waterfall Area

 

     
Trithrinax spp., Trithrinax spp. schizophylla
Carandilla Palm, Thatch Palm, Caranday Palm
Carandilla Palm
(Trithrinax schizophylla)
  Trithrinax spp.,
Trithrinax schizophylla
Carandilla Palm, Thatch Palm, Caranday Palm

Leaves
Plaiting

Native to South America, the leaves and fibers of this palm are very strong, making them useful for textiles, shoes, hats, baskets, fan and other crafts.

Where in the Garden: South America Garden

 

     
Typha spp.
Cattail, Bullrush   Typha spp.
Cattail, Bullrush

Leaves, underground stems (rhizomes)
Wickerwork, twining, plaiting, coiling, netting, cordage

Used by native and settlers throughout North America, cattail stalks and leaves are an excellent material for almost any kind of weaving from fine cordage and netting to plaiting, twining and wickerwork.

Where in the Garden: Native Plants and Native People Trail

 

     
Umbellularia califonica
California Bay
  Umbellularia califonica
California Bay

Branches
Wickerwork

Native to the coastal forests of California and southern Oregon, the young shoots and suckers of the California Bay are a good source for wickerwork.

Where in the Garden: Mexican Garden

     
Vinca spp., Vinca minor   Vinca spp., Vinca minor
Periwinkle

Stems
Twining, coiling

Native to Europe and considered invasive in parts of the US, the stems of Vinca minor and V. major can be used for twining and coiling.

Where in the Garden: Australia/New Zealand

 

     
Vitis spp.
Grapevine   Vitis spp.
Grapevine

Vines, bark, roots, fruit
Wickerwork, coiling, dyes

Ideal for large baskets, Grapevine can be cut and used at any time. Used whole or split for rims, bark on or off, woven green or dried and soaked, used for wickerwork or coiled, the Grapevine makes strong, beautiful baskets.

Where in the Garden: CA Gardenscapes, Sub-Tropical Fruit Garden

     
Adiantum pedatum   Washingtonia filifera
California Fan Palm, Desert Fan Palm

Leaves
Plaiting, splint work, stitching, cordage, embellishments

Native to the southwestern US and Baja, the Cahuilla and related tribes used the leaves to weave baskets, sandals, rope, thatch and clothing.

Where in the Garden: Palm Canyon

 

     
Woodwardia spp.
Giant Chain Fern   Woodwardia spp.
Giant Chain Fern

Stalk
Twining, embellishments

Found throughout the temperate and sub-tropical regions of the Northern hemisphere, fibers from the leaves of the Giant Chain fern were used by the Karok, Yurok and Tolowa tribes of northern California to weave baskets.

Where in the Garden: Lawn Garden, Tropical Rainforest

 

     
Yucca spp., Yucca brevifolia, Yucca schidigera, Yuccaaliofolia, Yucca faxoniana, Yucca torreyi, Yucca treculeana, Yucca valida
Joshua Tree, Tree Yucca, Mojave Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Banana Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, Dagger Plant, Faxon Yucca, Datilillo
Spanish Dagger
(Yucca faxoniana)
  Yucca spp., Yucca brevifolia, Yucca schidigera, Yuccaaliofolia, Yucca faxoniana, Yucca torreyi, Yucca treculeana, Yucca valida
Joshua Tree, Tree Yucca, Mojave Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Banana Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, Dagger Plant, Faxon Yucca, Datilillo

Leaves, roots
Plaiting, coiling, wickerwork, cordage, stitching, twining embellishments, paper, fiber

Throughout the desert southwest and northern Mexico the Yucca was foremost in native peoples economy. The plant materials - stalks, leaves and roots - were used to create baskets, trays, cordage, cradleboards, sandals, house frames, mats, brushes, brooms, pads, bedding, clothing and furniture.

Where in the Garden: CA , Firesafety Garden, Hamilton Childen's Garden, Mexican Garden, New World Desert Garden