Blog: Walk documents usage of plants in Pawnee Tribe's culture

"The walk began at the Bathhouse where Oklahoma Master Naturalists collected. Several steps later, we all arrived at a large gazebo where the official introduction to the Pawnee Lakes and Pawnee tribe lifestyle was made. This walk was focused on the native plants of the area, as well as the usage of different plants within the Pawnee culture.

The wood walk commenced along one little lake, and we passed a large post oak (Quercus stellata), one of the dominant trees in Cross Timbers. It is in the ‘White’ oak group as its leaf veins do not extend out past the lobes of the leaf. Next to that tree was a large black oak (Quercus nigra), a species that can also grow in the uplands. This tree is placed in the ‘Red/Black’ oak group as the leaf veins continue beyond the lobes as little bristles. It can be confused with the Shumardii oak (Quercus shumardii). Black oak leaves, if you stretch your imagination, look like large post oak leaves with bristles, but the Shumard’s leaves have deep sinuses, or inward curves, making the leaves appear much more delicate.

On we walked past a black hickory (Carya texana). Very widespread, it has an edible nut and was tapped for its sap as a sugar source by the Pawnee. Box Elders and sugar maples were also used. The Pawnee used the wood for bows and the Pawnee hunt club."

Get the Story:
Gardens of Cross Timbers: Lake Pawnee Ethnobotany Walk (The Shawnee News-Star 6/6)

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