Soap Plant

(Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. divaricatum)
Soap Plant
Spider lily shaped flowers of Soap Plant attract many bees.

Will Elder, NPS

Origin Of Genus Name: Chlorogalum is Greek for "green milk or juice."

Presidio Locations: Found throughout the Presidio on coastal bluffs, grasslands and dunes.

Range In State: California coast.

Description: This native perennial species has a highly branched cluster of white flowers that opens in the evening and closes during the day, indicating pollination by moths. The wavy edged, narrow leaves spring from a white, fleshy bulb with a brown, fibrous outer coat. Blooms June to August.

Native Californian Uses: The Ohlone made shampoo by mixing the pounded stems and bulbs in a little water. The juice obtained from the root was used as a purgative, drinking it freely, along with sea water. Brushes were made from the fiberous bulbs. The Pomo cooked and mashed the bulbs, making a glue for brooms and to attach feathers to arrows. They also used the green leaves pricked into the skin to form tattoo marks.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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