The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, January 23, 1806

Lewis, January 23, 1806

Friday January 23rd 1806. This morning dispatched Howard and Warner to the Camp of the Saltmakes for a supply of salt. The men of the garison are still busily employed in dressing Elk's skins for cloathing, they find great difficulty for the want of branes; we have not soap to supply the deficiency, nor can we procure ashes to make the lye; none of the pines which we use for fuel affords any ashes; extrawdinary as it may seem, the greene wood is consoomed without leaving the residium of a particle of ashes.

The root of the rush used by the natives is a sollid bulb about one inch in length and usually as thick as a man's thumb, of an ovate form depressed on two or more sides, covered with a thin smothe black rind. the pulp is white brittle and easily masticated either raw or roasted the latter is the way in which it is most usually prepared for uce. this root is reather insipid in point of flavour, it grows in greatest abundance along the sea coast in the sandy grounds and is most used by the Killamucks and those inhabiting the coast. each root sends up one stock only which is annual, the root being perenniel. the bulb is attatched to the bottom of the caulis or stem by a firm small and strong radicle of about one Inch long; this radicle is mearly the prolongation of the caulis and decends perpendicilarly; a little above the junction of this radicle with the caulis, the latter is surrounded in a whorl with a set of small radicles from 6 to 9 inches long which are obliquely descending. the caulis is celindric erect hollow and jointed, and is about the size or reather larger than the largest quill. it rises to the hight of 3 or 4 feet, not branching nor dose it either bear flower or seed that I can discover tho I am far from denying that it dose so sometimes, but I have not been able to discover it. the stem is rough like the sand rush and is much like it when green or in it's succulent state. at each joint it puts out from twenty to thirty long lineal stellate or radiate & horizontal leaves which surround the stem. above each joint about half an inch the stem is sheathed like the sand rush.