Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 15, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:07 pm

Almost every part of this lovely plant is useful to native cultures.  The roots contain saponin, which makes up soap, so you can clean yourself with it.  The leaves are ultra-fibrous, so you can weave them into sandals, bowls, mats, etc.  The spine on each leaf tip is sharp enough to use as a needle.  Today I made my own twine.  Scrape off the tough outside of the long leaf, using a chert scraper.  Separate the fibers into individual strands; stagger them along the picnic table; pick up the whole long thing and start rolling one end on your thigh to twist and twist and twist it.  When it gets tight enough, it will double over on itself and form a very strong twine.  Voila!


  1. I would like to have a yucca plant of my own — in addition to my recently sprouting plants on the deck.

    Comment by Livja — June 16, 2009 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  2. When you come out here in August, let us see if we can find a yucca plant of your own. (Not in the park — illegal.) Bring an empty pot!

    Comment by kath56ryn — June 16, 2009 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  3. I understand there was a fairly high mortality rate among native American mountaineers using yucca twine for rappelling from the arches. You may want to consider this before testing your specimen too ‘extremely’ . . . ;-?

    Comment by Dad — June 17, 2009 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  4. i think we should try yucca vine jumping from the arches – (similar to bungee jumping)

    Comment by john — June 17, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Reply

    • Do you remember Dean Potter, the crazy guy who free-climbed Delicate Arch, years back? Because of him, there is a law. Aside from the fact that plaited yucca vines are not strong enough to hold a person, we could get in DEEP doo-doo with the NPS for climbing on any named geologic feature. Sorry.

      Comment by kath56ryn — June 17, 2009 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

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