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Earths Adornments
Foods and Medicines of the Nuwu 

Indian medicine has been underrated and often ridiculed; therefore, a statement by Virgil J. Vogel, a scholar who has perhaps studied Indian medicine deeper than anyone else, becomes appropriate here:

The most important evidence of Indian influence on American medicine is seen in the fact that more than two hundred indigenous drugs which were used by one or more Indian tribes have been official in, "The Pharmacopeia of the United States of America," for varying periods since the first edition appeared in 1820, or in the "National Formulary," since it began in 1888. So complete, in fact, was the aboriginal knowledge of their native flora that Indian usage can be demonstrated for all but a bare half dozen, at most, of our indigenous vegetable drugs. In a surprising number of instances, moreover, the aboriginal uses of these drugs correspond with those approved in the "Dispensatory of the United States." There is in addition a list of several aboriginal remedies which have been used in domestic medicine as well as by physicians, although they have not won official acceptance. (Vogel, 1970, P. 6.)


Plant Name and Uses

Paiute plant names were acquired in the late 1940s on through the '50s by LaVan Martineau. His informants for the majority of the plants listed here were from Jimmy Timmican and Florence Kanosh of Koosharem, and Carl Jake of Indian Peak. At that time, he wasn't aware of the value of using scientific names, so when he couldn't find a plant name in a book he would often ask Anglos to identify them for him with popular names. Years later he began to see the confusion in popular names and started to seek the scientific names for more accuracy.

Years later, when going over his hand-written notes, he found that some of the plants identified earlier needed better identification. He found that there were few Paiutes left alive in the 1990's that remember many plant names. Such names in modern conversations among younger Paiutes are almost entirely lacking, except for the more common names like cedar, sage, yucca, certain berries and medicinal plants still being used, very few others. Since they no longer lived off the land they had little reason to discuss plants in a language that is fast dying.


A similar situation exists with the average American of today when they are asked the English name for many plants. It will be found that their knowledge is quite meager even considering the availability of this information. They will know some of the more common plants, but as soon as you start asking them for the names of the rare ones they are at a loss. To get the English names of the majority of plants today one has to ask a botanist, go to the library or look online at present day..


Most of the Paiutes in the old days were botanists because they used all the plants, and therefore knew all their names. Martineau could never stump the above informants on any of the names. It is his regret that he didn't take full advantage of what they had to teach and learn all the proper scientific identification. He always jotted down the name and information that went with the plant, and if there was time, they went to look at the plant. However, several names acquired were only accompanied with descriptions. The informants died before Martineau could take them to where the plants grew to get them identified.


The names of the plants in this list are all native to the Paiute homeland area. Some plants, however, are only found among the Shivwits and Moapa bands who lived in the desert areas while other plants are only found among the bands living in the higher elevations of Utah and Nevada. The Paiute names for the plants common to both areas were identical in most cases with some exceptions. In this century all the Paiute bands have intermixed and some plant names that might have been peculiar to one area have taken a back seat to the more commonly used names. However, a few still survive which is noted in the plant list that follows.


In some cases, in giving the second scientific name of a plant, it is purposely avoided here because of the variety of similar plants. If there was a noticeable distinction then they would have had different Paiute names to distinguish them. However, if the distinction was so fine that it would take a scientist to distinguish them then they probably had the same Paiute name.


This site is not giving all the uses of each plant that were learned from other tribes or that can be find in various books. We are only confining the material under each plant to what was told by the Southern Paiutes. Information on some plant uses is lacking because at the time of questioning the informant, it wasn't thought to ask at the time. However, Martineau was more curious than average, and did obtain an abundance of information that is now lost.


Also not included here are all the plant names that could be found with Isabel Kelly and others. That information is already published and available. Basically, this compilation is a list of the plants and their uses that Martineau personally wrote down years ago so as not to forget them. Some of the statements were told in Paiute, or poor English, so they were worded in a manner that will be best understood. Martineau does have add notes and comments on certain plants, on those it will be obvious in the text or will be in the footnotes. The basic purpose of this list is to keep it Paiute.

APACHE PLUME Fallugia paradoxa meah'puh oonup (lit, small oonup). Oonup’ is the common name for both cliffrose and apache-plume. The plant was boiled and drank for an undetermined sickness.

ASH Fraxinus wawmpeep'.

BLACK SAGE Artemisia nova ungkaw'po sawngwuv. This sage is a very good tea for colds and influenza. It is more powerful than big sage.

BLAZING STAR Mentzelia albicaulis koo'-oo'. Pick the flowers and dry them. Seeds can be beaten or tapped out onto a blanket; they are parched and ground into flour. The flour makes good dumplings or mush. (Lucille Jake, Kaibab).

BOXELDER Acer negundo, pahkoy'uv. A different informant identified this name as the singleleaf ash Fraxinus anomala.

BRIGHAM TEA, INDIAN TEA Ephedra ootoop'. Simmer the leaves for a tea.

BROOMRAPE Orobanche fasciculata too'-oo'. Peel and eat raw.

BUD SAGE Artemisia spinescens koochup'o sawngwuv (lit, ash sage), mawkaw'chuh sawngwuv'vuhts (lit, horned toad sage). Simmer the leaves and then drink the tea for colds.

BUFFALO-GOURD Cucurbita onook'weemp. This gourd is too thin to use for a rattle so it wasn't used for that purpose. The seeds were eaten.

BUFFALO BERRY Shepherdia argentea opeev'. The berries from some of the trees are sweet and from other trees bitter. Pick the ripe berries (ungkawp') and float them in water; the good ones will sink to the bottom while the bad ones will float to the top. Dry them and then boil when needed.

BUNCH GRASS Muhlenbergia noou'veev. The seeds are picked in the fall and ground into a flour.

BURDOCK Arctium awvaw'tuh kawmenuv (lit, big kawmenuv).

CANAIGRE, DOCK, WILD RHUBARB Rumex hymenosepalus kwevuv'. Roast the young stalks and when done eat the paste in the center. In recent times the stalks were boiled and eaten with sugar.

CATCLAW ACACIA Acacia greggii sechuh'uhdump (lit. scratcher?). The seeds were used as food. My notes list this plant as "screwbean" but because the name refers to claws the plant must be the catclaw. These trees look similar from a distance.

CATTAIL Typha lattfolia toa' oyv'. The Paiutes used to burn off areas of cattail early in the spring and then they would cut off the young tender shoots when they grew to about 6 or 8 inches tall. They would roast and eat these. They would also boil (or roast?) the young tender green tops that resemble a cat's tail and eat them.

CHOKECHERRY Prunis Virginiana toanup'. The berries are edible and were used in the past but they are not cared for much in recent times. Kaibab, Morris Jake (4).

CLIFFROSE Cowania stansburiana peow'oonup. The bark is called suhnup'. Blankets and skirts are made out of the bark of this plant since it didn't scratch like juniper bark. The bark was also used for diapers since it was absorbent. The leaves were boiled for a tea and drunk as a medicine.

CLOVER Trtfolium koosawd'.

CLOVER Trifolium pah koosawd'uhmp. Koosawd' is the general name for clover. Pah koosawd' means water clover and is the name of a clover that grows in or near the water. The name of the Reservation and town of Koosharem, Utah, comes from the words koosawduhmp (clover). This plant was said to be abundant near water in the Koosharem Valley. The roots of this plant were eaten.

COCKLEBUR Anthium strumarium kawmee'nuv. The burrs on this plant were used as "women medicine" to help a man catch a woman. A cocklebur placed in the track of a desired woman would help you catch her, just as the bur attaches itself to someone and clings on.

COLORADO COLUMBINE Aquilegia coerulea whechee' ungkopenump.

COMMON REED Phragmites pawhump'. Arrows are made out of this wood with attached fire-hardened foreshafts or with stone points. These arrows are light, fly fast and far, and were often used in competitive long-distance shooting.

The leaves of this plant have a sweet brown sugar-like substance on them. It is the excrement left by aphids as they drew out the sap. A blanket is placed beneath the plant and it is beaten with a stick to obtain this sugar-like product.

CORKY-SEED PINCUSHION Mammillaria tetrancistra taws. Tony Tillahash said that this cactus was used to line roasting pits designed for heat treating chert, agate, and similar rocks. The rocks were baked before the arrowheads were chipped. One informant said it was the inedible ovu'gawv (white spined claret cup Echinocereus melanacanthus). Tony Tillahash said it was taws, a fishhook-type barrel cactus. This cactus was also roasted and eaten.

CREOSOTE BUSH Larrea tridentata yutump', yutuv.

  • Boil the leaves and small stems and drink the water for an upset stomach; the taste is very bitter.

  • This bush is also used as a medicine for syphilis. (Yetta and Clifford Jake).

  • Also considered good for paralysis. (Harry Wall, Shivwits). 

  • The leaves are also boiled and rubbed on skin that has been sun burnt. (Charley Greyman, Shivwits.)

  • The tea is drunk for arthritis. (Loraine Mcfee, Shivwits.)

  • The lac found on this plant is used for glue. Creasote leaves are also boiled to wash chicken pox sores so no scars will be left. It is also drunk for colds and rheumatism. (Yetta Jake, Shivwits.)

CURLEYGRASS Pleuraphis jamesi wuhkuh'moasoa (lit, vagina hair).

DANDELION Taraxacum officinale o-aw sawent (lit, yellow flower). The leaves are boiled, or fried in grease, and eaten.

DEATHCAMAS Zigadenus. I was shown this white-flowered plant on the Kaibab Reservation by Morris Jake who said that he was told by his father that it was poison and that they didn't eat it. (Martineau)

DESERT VELVET, TURTLEBACK Psathyrotes ramosissima wuh'pahwhawts. A very small white flower that grows in low mounds.

DOG MINT toowee'seev. This plant is a Utah weed with a sage smell. I once had it identified in the '50s by an Anglo who called it "dog mint." Today, I cannot re-identify the plant nor even find the name "dog mint" in any Utah flora book. The plant was boiled and the water used to wash the head and cure headaches.

DOUGLAS FIR Pseudotsuga sumu' oahomp (lit blanket pine). The boughs of fir trees are used to make pine-bough beds because the needles are not sharp.

DROP-SEED Sporobolus cryptandrus moanomp'eev. The seeds make gravy after they are ground into a flour. This plant is a red-colored grass with long protruding branches near the top. The seeds are on the branches. I could be mistaken on the identity of this plant as my written description sounds more like Amaranthus palmeri (careless weed). (Martineau)

DWARF JUNIPER Juniperus depressa sumu oahomp' (lit, blanket pine). A Koosharem informant mentioned this plant under the same name as used for fir trees because it is spread out low on the ground like a blanket. (Douglas Timmican, Koosharem.)

ELDERBERRY Sambucus koanoak'weev, koonook'w. The fresh berries are pounded into cakes, dried, and then put into stews, or roasted over coals and eaten.

FERN BUSH Chamaebatiaria millifolium moo-oon' tuhuv. This plant is boiled and drunk for an undetermined sickness.

FOUR-WING SALTBUSH, WHITE GREASEWOOD Atriplex canescens moodoo' nuv. This plant is commonly known as white greasewood by southern Utah ranchers. The wood makes good cooking coals. Minnie Jake, Eagle Valley.)

FREMONT COTTONWOOD Populus fremontii soa'veep. This wood makes a good fire within a tipi because it does not spark and burn holes in nearby blankets.

GAMBLE OAK Quercus gambelii kweyuv'. Bows are made out of this wood but they are slow and need sinew backing. Acorns were also eaten but they are not particularly sought after in more recent times. (Morris Jake, Kaibab.)

GENTIAN Fresera kaiv'u okoonump (lit, mountain okoonump). This plant generally grows in the mountains. It has leaves with a purple base. It is good for cleaning out the stomach when you've been vomiting. Soak the roots overnight and then drink the water; the roots may also be boiled.

GLOBEMALLOW Sphaeralcea kuh'eyokomp.

GOLDEN CURRENT Ribes aureum poahomp'eev. Arrows are made out of this wood. An unidentified plant called pawdo'umpeev is probably a variety of current, or a name used by a different Paiute band. The informant gave the name and stated, "Arrows are made out of this bush and it has berries." I didn't record the informant's name (Martineau). Another type of current is called kwechuv'.

GREASEWOOD, BLACK GREASEWOOD Sarcobatus vermiculatus tonov'. This wood makes good cooking coals. Fishing arrows, without feathers, are also made out of this wood. The sharpened points are straightened and hardened by heating "when green." These arrows are made extra long for fishing, probably from 3 to 4 feet long, and are quite heavy. This type of wood is especially good for fishing because the fish do not slip off easily due to all the little holes in the greasewood shaft. This wood also makes good arrow fore-shafts. Koosharem, Jimmy Timmican.

GUMWEED Grindelia squarrosa. This plant was boiled and drunk for stomach troubles. Koosharem, Florence Kanosh.

HOREHOUND Marrubium vulgare. The plant is boiled and the tea drunk for diarrhea. Koosharem, Vera Charles.

HORSETAILS, SCOURING RUSHES Equisetales variegatum pawhaw' wuhchuh' choogwenump. This name has the word sweep (ochoon'awk) in it. This reed is boiled and the water drunk for a stomach sickness. The rushes were also used as a fine sandpaper to sand bows.

INDIAN CABBAGE, PRINCE'S PLUME Stanleya pinnata tuhmu'duh. The seeds were edible and the plant used as a potherb.

Leaves had to be picked before the flowers bloomed or it would be poisoned. Once picked boil them at least three times, changing the water with each new boil. good in soups or with meat dishes. Moapa, Gregory Anderson Sr.


1. moo'tuntu sueep (lit, hummingbird's flower) Koosharem.

2. toho' oaho' suent (lit, snake tongue blossom).

Recently the roots have been boiled and used as a medicine for a venereal disease. Paiutes believe that this flower belongs to the snake and that its petals resemble the tongue of a snake. Eagle Valley, Minnie Jake.

INDIAN POTATO Orogenia lineartfolia whechuhn'. This plant has a white flower and comes out in early spring. Dig the tubers out of the ground and boil.

INDIAN RICEGRASS Oryzopsis hymenoides and related species wai. The husks are burnt off the seeds; the seeds are then rolled under a mano, winnowed and dried. Then they can be roasted, ground into a flour, and water added to make a mush.

INDIAN TOBACCO Nicotiana trigonophylla tawmo'nump, sahwhaw' kwoup (lit. green smoke).

JIMSONWEED, SACRED DATURA Datura meteloides moamop'.

The slightly smashed green leaves are good for applying on sores and swellings. Shivwits, Yetta Jake.

A small portion of this plant (roots or seeds?) was boiled and drunk by a few individuals for its hallucinogenic value. It is not used anymore since the amount to drink has been lost and it will kill you if you drink too much. Cedar City, Woodrow Pete.

One informant made the following statement about this plant: "If you eat moamop it will cause you to see many different things, something like visions but not of God." Indian Peak, Carl Jake.

When you go deer hunting, grind up the roots and sprinkle some of the powder into the tracks of the deer and then pray. The deer who made the tracks will then get tired and sit down and you will be able to shoot it. Koosharem, Jimmy Timmican, and Indian Peak, Carl Jake.

JOSHUA TREE Yucca brevifolia osaw'dumpeev, choowaw'duhmp (probably two different varieties).

JUNIPER Juniperus utahensis and osteosperma wawup'. When you bruise a muscle, you should chew up some needles from a cedar tree and then rub the chewed needles

on the sore spot.

Bows made out of this wood maintain their shape and have more snap than other woods. They do not really need sinew backing, but if not backed, they tend to break within a couple of years. When making a bow out of cedar, choose a limb or section of a trunk without knots.

The berries of certain trees are not bitter and are eaten for food. The trees are tested to determine which are sweet. The berries are brown inside when ripe. Old dried bark was used to smoke deer hides.

LAMBSQUARTERS, PIG WEED Chenopodium album and fremontii

1. koav’.

2. pegee' nungkaw'vawm (lit, pig's ears) Cedar City.

LOCOWEED Astragalus purshii

1. Pataw'kai nump (lit. pops).

2. Sawdu'ganump (lit. rattles).

3. Chuhkwe'kaivu (Koosharem).

LOCUST Robinia neomexicana peu'sechump'eev (lit, sweet claws or scratcher). The blossoms of this tree are boiled and eaten.

MAHOGANY (CURL-LEAF) Cercocarpus ledifolius toonump', toonup'. This wood

makes excellent arrow foreshafts and digging sticks because of its hardness.

MANZANITA Arctostaphylos awdu'dumpeev at Kaibab. The berries are edible. The

leaves were also ground up and used as a tobacco. Indian Peak, Carl Jake.

MATCHBRUSH, BROOM SNAKEWEED yoowaw'dump, yoowu'unump. A brush was made out of the twigs to brush off the fine hairs on prickly pear fruits.

MESQUITE, HONEY MESQUITE Prosodis opeemp'. The seed pods are yellow when ripe. They are dried, pounded in a mortar, mixed with water, dried into a big ball and stored for winter use. The ball becomes hard and breaks like candy when dry. The pounded meal, or ground up balls, can be mixed with cold water for a drink. Mesquite wood is an excellent firewood. It makes coals that last a long time.

MILKWEED Asclepias pe-e' whawvoo'kwunump (lit, milk squirter). The milk from this plant is used for a chewing gum. Pluck all the leaves off several plants leaving the stem standing. At each place where a leaf has been plucked off, milk will seep out. Wait until all the milk that has seeped out becomes of the right texture that it can be waded into a ball. Then collect all the semi-dried milk from all the plants that have been prepared and wad it up and chew it like chewing gum. If the wind is blowing very hard it will blow all the milk away that has seeped out. Therefore, choose a calm day for collecting this gum.

MULBERRY Moraceae moakov'.

NARROWLEAF COTTONWOOD Populus angustifolia sawhawv', sawhup'. The Shivwits made long bows out of this wood. Charley Greyman, Shivwits.

OREGON GRAPE Mahonia repens weump'eev. The bright yellow roots make a good yellow dye and are used for dyeing buckskin. This was done by boiling the roots and then soaking the article in the cooled solution. The fresh berries were also used as a purple paint to paint designs on the toes of moccasins. To do this, burst and rub the ripe berries in the desired design on the moccasins. (The design soon fades so a mordant of some kind might have been mixed with the berry juice.)

PALMER PENTSEMON Penstemon palmeri toho'u sawdu'gawnump (lit, rattlesnake rattler). The green leaves are stuck into a hole in a tooth to help alleviate a toothache. The leaves dipped in water and then applied to a horse's back are good for sore backs.

PINE (Probably limber Pine), Pinus flexilisis, or bristlecone Pine, Pinus arist oahomp. Oahomp is the general name for several pines. The word mean forked; therefore, the above two pines, which are sometimes a candidate for this name. Not identified in the field.

PINE NUT ~ PINYON Pinus edulis and monophylla toovup'. The larger pinyon nuts are called too' or toovuts'. The smaller variety is called pawduhv. They are edible raw but have a much better flavor when roasted. They were roasted in a winnowing tray mixed with hot coals. The coals and nuts were constantly tossed in the air together to keep from burning the winnowing tray. An experienced woman could roast many pine nuts without ever burning her tray. They can be ground into flour and then mixed with water and made into a gravy or mush.

The pitch from these trees is called sunup. Hardened pieces of pitch were eaten as a

chewing gum. It becomes just like chewing gum after it is chewed for a while. The

pitch was boiled and mixed with other things to waterproof water jugs. It was also

used as a waterproof glue on arrows and in hafting stone knives. The pitch was good

for earaches. Eagle Valley, Minnie Jake.

Pitch also acted as a disinfectant when applied to cuts and wounds. Koosharem, Jimmy Timmican.

Sap from pine nut trees is good to straighten out a twisted mouth that comes from a stroke. Rub it on the cheeks and around the mouth. It helps put the mouth back in place. Shivwits, Marilyn Jake.

PONDEROSA Pinus ponderosa yooveemp'.

PRICKLY PEAR Opuntia engelmannii yoowuv'. The ripe tunas (yoomuv) are eaten

uncooked in the fall when they become purple. A drink is also made from the fruit.

Too much of this fresh fruit could cause a stomach ache.

QUAKING ASPEN Populus tremuloides suhuv'. Boil the bark and drink for

rheumatism. A wet concoction of bark is also good for pimples and face rashes. The sap is consumed as a sweet because of its sugar content. It is gathered in the early spring when the sap is running; the bigger trees are better. Peel the bark off an area about 2 feet long by 8 inches wide and then use a flat front leg bone of deer, or a knife, and scrape upward on the tree pressing out the sap onto the scraper. The sap is then put into a container and drunk without cooking, or bread dipped into it and eaten. If any fragments of bark become mixed with the sap it makes it bitter. The scraping bone is called muntseev', and the sap is called suhngu' veuv (lit, aspen sugar). Koosharem, Jimmy Timmican.

RABBIT BRUSH Chaysothamnus nauseosus skoomp, spoomp. Peel the outer bark off the roots and chew the inner bark; it soon becomes a gum. Among the Shivwits, dolls were made out of the branches of the plant and were called "Skoomer Dolls" in English. The stems on half of a short branch would be removed. Those remaining would resemble a skirt when the bare end of the branch pointed upward. Shivwits, Evalina McFee.

RAGWEED Ambrosia artemisiifolia pawwhu'munump. This plant cannot be presently identified with accuracy. It is a Utah plant that could only be identified with the popular name of "ragweed." This plant is used as a medicine. Smash the roots, when they are fresh, put them into some warm water, and apply to swollen parts of the body. A rag or something can be tied over these roots when they are applied to the swelling to hold them in place. This treatment is good for any swelling. A poultice was also made from this plant and applied to swollen cheeks for mumps.

RATTLESNAKE WEED Euphorbia albomarginata tooveep'uh kawhaiv (lit, earth's necklace).

RED BIRCH, WATER BIRCH Betula occidentalis kai'soov, kai'shuhduhts. (The Paiute word does not have the meaning of red like the english word) The slender branches of this tree were used in the construction of cradleboards. September is the best month to gather this wood. Fishing spears are made out of this wood. These spears are made very long and are straightened by heating. They aren't used until they are dry. Arrows are also made out of this wood in the same manner as with poahom'peev (black native current) except that flint or steel points were normally used. This wood doesn't have a pithy center like the current, and therefore points can be attached solidly. The outer bark is peeled away from these shafts before they are dried. The longer poles were used as tipi poles. Koosharem, Jimmy Timmican.

RED CEDAR Juniperus virginiana spawngwup'.

RED OSIER DOGWOOD Cornus sericea ungkaw' kawnuv (lit, red willow). The slender branches are used in making baskets. This wood is very strong.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN BEEPLANT Cleome serrulata soa'kwunuv (lit, armpit odor smeller).

SAGEBRUSH (BIG) Artemisia Tridentata kawhup'. The general name for all sage plants is sawngwuv'. Artemisia tridentata may be called sawngwuv but its specific name is kawhup'.

To prevent coughing, rub sage leaves in palms of closed hands so that the fragrance of the sage will not escape and then bring hands up to the nose and inhale deeply. Also boil the leaves and small stems into a tea and drink for colds. The dead leaves are also used for diaper padding.

The fresh leaves are used in the practice of munuh'kee (see "Babies with Clogged Throats" in Lifeways of the Old Ones in this website). The leaves are smashed and rubbed on the index finger before it is inserted into the throat. The sage acts as a disinfectant. A more recent practice is to smear the index finger with Vaseline.

SAGUARO or ORGANPIPE CACTUS Cereus ha'awv' (Chemehuevi, Jim Chili.)

SALTGRASS Distichlis spicata awsoamp' (from awsoap' salt).

SCARLET BUGLER PENSTEMON Eatonii moo'tuntutsee pechuh'meen (lit, what the humming bird sucks). This plant is boiled and drunk for an undetermined sickness.

SCOULER WILLOW Salix scouleriana kwetchum'pah kawnuv (lit, ugly willow). A tree like willow that grows around the shores of Fish Lake, Utah.

SEGO LILY, MARIPOSA LILY Calochortus nuttallii, C. nuttallii seko', segoo'. The bulbs were dug out with a digging stick. They could be cooked at the time and eaten or, preserved and eaten later. The modern word for this plant "sego" comes from the Paiute and Ute word segoo'.

SERVICEBERRY Amelanchier tuh'uv'. This wood is an excellent hardwood for making bows and arrows. These arrows are strong and are good for killing deer. Flint arrowheads were normally used on these arrows for hunting deer. Fire hardened wood, or steel points, were used for small game.

The berries are called toowump'eev and are edible while fresh or they can be dried and used later. The berries can also be made into a juice like the skunk bush sumac berries. Kaibab, Morris Jake.

The leaves may be simmered green for a tea, or dried, ground up, and stored for future use. Cedar City, Woodrow Pete (14).

SHADSCALE Atriplex confertifolia kawnguhmp'.

SMALL SNAKE WEED Gutierrezia microcephala kuh'kwunump. This is a Kaibab term.

SNOWBERRY Symphoricarpos awvaw'koonump (lit, thing that goes over). This plant grows in the mountains and has long narrow arching branches, one to two feet long, that have fairly uniform thicknesses. The shape and uniformity makes this plant ideal to use on cradleboard hoods (visors). The plant takes its name from this usage.

SPRUCE Picea engelmannii and pungens munu ohomp (lit, sticker pine) a name given to spruce trees due to their sharp needles.

SKUNKBUSH SUMAC (Squawbush) Rhus trilobata suhv, suh'uhv'. The long shoots are split three ways and used in making baskets and cradleboards. September is the best month to gather this wood. When skunkbush is being cut for baskets, the women would also collect the very small hard pieces of gum from this plant and chew it like gum. It tastes good.

The berries are called e-ees' and ee'-see. Some bushes are sweet and others have a kerosene taste. Only the sweet bushes were picked with each bush generally being owned by a particular family. Other people would not pick from them without permission. The berries can be eaten fresh or pounded in a mortar to a course pulp; then mixed with a little water and the pulp squeezed until all the red juice comes out of it. The pulp is then discarded. Water can be added to the mixture until it is the desired strength. The berries can also be dried, pounded to a pulp, stored, and then water added to it later. The drink is somewhat strong so occasionally the sweet aphid excrement from the common reed would be added. This drink is often called "Indian lemonade" and the Old People liked to eat bread with it. Shivwits, Eleanor Tom.

STINGING NETTLE Urtica dioica kwawsoo' kwepump (lit, sting hitter).

SUNFLOWER Helianthus annuus huhkuhmp', kawngoomp. Collect and dry the seeds, roast them, grind them and then boil them into a mush.

SWEETCLOVER Melilotus officinalis peu' whawnunump.

TAMARISK, SALTCEDAR Tamarix pentandra spawngwup. This plant was imported from the Mediterranean area and has spread itself over a vast area of the west. The Indian name spawngwup is the name of the red cedar Juniperus virginiana which is native to Utah. This Cedar is noticeably lacking in the Moapa and Las Vegas areas. Therefore, the name for the red cedar was borrowed from the Utah Paiutes for this new desert plant.

TANSY MUSTARD Descurainia awk. The seeds were processed and eaten.

THIN-LEAFED ALDER Alnus Tenutfolia pahwhay'uv. The bark is used for a brownish red dye. Boil bark and then soak the article in the cooled solution.

THISTLE Cirsium tsengu'peev. This thistle has thorny-looking dandelion-type leaves. The outer skin of the young tender stems is peeled off as you would a banana. They are then cut into pieces, about two to three inches long, boiled and eaten. They taste better when cooked with deer meat. The informant mentioned that one type of thistle is poisonous.

THISTLE Cirsium paw'tsengu'peev. One informant identified this thistle as having pinkish red flowers. Jimmy Timmican pointed out a thistle with a purple flower that was identified as the wheeler thistle. The stems were peeled and eaten raw. The first word (pah) in the Indian name could mean blood, in reference to the color of the flower, or it could mean water.

TOMATILLO, WOLFBERRY Lycium suhnu' oop (lit. coyote-berry). I'm not entirely sure which Lycium this is but it would be the one the coyotes like and therefore probably the most bitter of the tomatillos. The Paiutes mashed the berries, boiled them, and then drank the solution.

TULE, BULRUSH Scirpus sawmpeev. This plant was used to line pits for roasting toa'oyv (cattail). The roots of tule were also edible plus the white base of the stems.

TUMBLEWEED Salsola iberica mawntee'nu munuv, noopu'nump (lit, rolling thing).

UTAH AGAVE Agave utahensis nunt. This plant was dug out of the ground just as the stalk starts to rise. A sprouting stalk was a sign that it was ripe and full of sugar. If a person waited until the stalks were full grown then the sweetness would all go to the stalk. All the spines were cut off many agave plants and then the hearts were placed in a heated rock lined pit. They were then covered with other plants and dirt to seal in the heat and left to bake overnight.

WATER CRESS Nasturtium officinale pawmuhmp'. This plant is eaten when young and tender and is good for your stomach.

WESTERN YARROW Achillea millefolium oychu' kwawseev. The Paiute name means squirrel's tail from the shape of the leaves that resemble the upright tail of a squirrel.

The leaves, when smashed into a wet mash, are used as a dressing for open wounds. The leaves can also be steeped in water and drank for whooping cough.

WHITE-SPINED CLARET CUP HEDGEHOG Echinocereus melanacanthus ovu'gawv. See the discussion under corky-seed pincushion. Another informant gave the name of a cactus that he called awvaw'koav "a red flowered cactus." He said that this cactus was recently used as a medicine for kochuv (venereal disease). Both names are probably the same cactus. I received these names long ago and never heard them repeated. I could have easily misheard one of the names. (Martineau)


1. Koongkuv' (Koosharem).

2. Kwechus'eev (Cedar City).

Boil the flowers and leaves. They have an onion smell, especially before boiling. Bulbs are also eaten.

WILD PARSLEY Ligusticum porteri pawkoov', pawgoov'. The smell of this plant will keep rattlesnakes from biting you. Dry and grind the roots into a powder and tie this powder into a little ball in a piece of cloth or buckskin. Tie this ball onto your shoe when near rattlesnakes. It is believed that this plant is poison to a rattlesnake if chewed and spit into its mouth. This was done one time at Kaibab and the snake died. The dried root is also good to put into your mouth when you have a cold. A very similar plant with yellow flowers is called toanchawv'. This plant was mixed with oats for sick horses.

WILD PEPPERMINT Mentha piperita and canadensis pahkoa'nunump, pahwhaw' nunump. The leaves and stems are boiled for a tea. It is also used fresh as an incense in the Sun Dance.

WILD RASPBERRY Rubus idaeus nuhaw' wunawtump (lit. mountain-sheep-penis). The berries were eaten.

WILD ROSE Rosa woodsii seump'eev, cheump'eev. Arrows are made out of this wood, however they sometimes split when they strike an object. The same method of inserting points is used with this type of arrow as with golden current.

Rose hips are eaten raw without the seeds. The hips may also be dried, ground up, and boiled for a mush; they need sweetening. They can be stored for winter use.

WILD RYE Elymus triticoides, or wheatgrass Agripyron wawv'.

WILLOW Salix exigua kawnuv'. Young straight willows are used in making

cradleboards. September is the best month to gather

this wood. Arrows can also be made out of this wood; however, they are not strong.

WINTER-FAT, WHITE SAGE Eurotia lanata pawvee'cheev.

WOLFBERRY Lycium andersonii or Lycium torreyi oo-oop'. These berries are somewhat sweet when ripe and were eaten raw or mashed and boiled for a drink. Juice can be made out of these berries just like described under squawberries. They can also be dried whole after the green stems have been pulled off.

YAMPA, WILD CARAWAY Perideridia gairdneri yump. The modern name "yampa" comes from the Paiute and Ute word for this plant. The tuberous roots can be dried and ground into flour, or boiled and eaten when first dug up.

YUCCA (Narrow-leaf) Yucca utahensis and probably baileyi chumuv'eep. This plant had the same uses as Yucca baccata.

YUCCA, BANANA Yucca baccata oos'eev. The older roots are used for a shampoo. Scrape off the bark from the root and pound the root on top of a rock until it is soft and stringy. Then take the pounded root and rinse it in a pan of water until the water is filled with suds. After filtering out all the loose fibers from the water the hair is then washed in this sudsy water. This Indian shampoo makes the hair shine. The unused roots can be stored for future use.

The ripened fruit was split to extract the seeds and eaten raw, or roasted over coals, turning them often, so as not to burn them. They were eaten after roasting or dried and made into balls and stored for future use. (Eagle Valley, Minnie Jake.) They were also boiled after splitting, or after drying.

The young shoots or fresh stalks (ovweep) were placed in coals and covered for about three hours and then eaten; they were also boiled. They look a lot like asparagus and taste very similar. (Kaibab, Morris Jake.)

Shivwits women used to make money by selling the soap from this yucca to Mormon Pioneers until they learned the process and started making it to sell themselves, this was a short lived venture for making some money to survive once moved onto the reservation.


Unidentified Plants

KAW’KOP A bush that looks like Brigham tea. Dry and grind this plant and mix it with ochre. When this mixture is put in the tracks of a horse, or when the horse is caused to smell it, it will tire quickly. This medicine was used in horse racing. It's a way to win a race by doing this to the opponent's horse. Koosharem, Jimmy Timmican, and Indian Peak, Carl Jake.

KOOCHU KAWNUV (lit, gray willow). The name of this willow comes from its gray-colored bark. This willow grows at Fish Lake, Utah.

KWECHUH'UV A bush that grows in Cedar Canyon east of Cedar City, Utah. It might be Peraphyllum ramosissimum?

KWEYU’SOOV This plant wasn't positively identified at the time but the description, and what was remembered, suggests one of the mahoganies other than curl-leaf. Digging sticks are made out of this wood because of its hardness.

MOOHOUDOOMP Boiled and put on chicken-pox sores. Chemehuevi, Jim Chili.

ONTOMPEES An unidentified bush.

PAWNGWUV' This grass grows in the valley at Cedar City, Utah.

PESO'UV This grass like plant grows in the water and is eaten by ducks.

SAWKWAY'UM MOOSOO.TOOKWEEV (lit, stomach medicine). This plant grows along the road to Green Lake above Cedar City, Utah.

SAWWHAW' KAWNUV (lit, green willow).

SECHUKANUMP (lit, sage hen thing?). The seeds are ground into a flour and used for gravy. The flower looks like a sunflower and has a yellow center. My notes say this plant is the "mountain sunflower" but it could also be arrowleaf balsamroot balsamorrhiza sagitata.

SECHU’ (lit, sage hen) A seed-bearing plant that grows abundantly on Cedar Mountain near Green Lake just southeast of Cedar City, Utah. This plant might be similar to sechukanump.

TAWMPEE'SOODOOP (lit, shoestring bush). This plant is used in making cradleboard visors. This wood is good to use all year round.

TOAHO'U MUUV (lit, rattlesnake bush). This plant is a bush about 18 inches high. The leaves are mashed and put on acne and pimples; it burns but cures them quickly. Kaibab, Hamblin John.

TOANCHAWV' This yellow flowered plant is very similar to wild parsley Ligusticum porteri. The plant was mixed with oats and given to sick horses.

TOOP A bush with black berries that grows near St. George, Utah. It is used as a black dye. Shivwits, Marilyn, Jake.

UNIDENTIFIED PLANT Ashes made from an unidentified plant are put in a bag over a horse's nose for a while, while it runs. If the horse has a cough, this will clean him out.  Kaibab, Willis Mayo told this to Ralph Pikyavit, Kanosh.)

UNIDENTIFIED PLANT There is a plant that grows in Zion National Park, the root of which when boiled, makes a good red dye. Maggie Dick told this to Lucille Jake, Kaibab.

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