Dogbane Story Slide
Making Cordage from the Dogbane Plant
Follow along with the steps in the traditional Ohlone practice of making cordage, or twine rope, from the dogbane plant.
Pressed Dogbane Plant
Dogbane grows in oak woodland meadows, near creeks. It flowers in the spring.
In fall and winter, we gather the plant’s long stalks.
Bits of Bark
We start the process by removing its outer bark.
Stalks, Unsplit and Split
We split open the stalks.
We strip off the fibrous inner bark—this becomes the cordage. Next, we soak the strips of bark in water.
To make cordage, we hold one end, and roll the fibers against a thigh until they twist together.
We add clam shells or other beads to make a necklace.
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Funded by a generous grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, with additional support from the Troy and Leslie Daniels Fund for Life Sciences.