The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, January 23, 1806
Clark, January 23, 1806
Saturday 23rd of January 1806
This morning dispatched Howard & Werner to the Camp of the Salt makers for a Supply of Salt. the men of the garrison are Still busily employed in dressing Elk Skins for cloathing, they fine great dificuelty for the want of branes; we have not Soap to Supply the deficiency, nor can we precure ashes to make the lye; none of the pine which we use for fuel afford any ashes; extrawdinary as it may seem, the green wood is cosumed without leaveing the risideum of a particle of ashes.-
The root of the rush used by the nativs is a Solid bulb about one inch in length and usially as thick as a mans thumb, of an ovel form depressed on two or more Sides, covered with a thin black rine. the pulp is white brittle and easily masticated either raw or rosted, the latter is the way it is most commonly prepared for use. this root is reather insippid in point of flavour, it grows in the Greatest abundance along the Sea coast in the wet Sandy grounds and is most used by the Kil a mox and those inhabiting the Sea coast. each root Sends up its Stalk which is annual, the root being perennial. the bulb is atached to the bottom of the Stem by a firm Small and Strong radicle which is mearly the prolongation of the Stem which is hollow and jointed and is rather larger than the largest quill. it rises to the hight of 3 or 4 feet, not branching no does it either bear flower or Seed that I could discover tho I am far from denying that it does So Sometimes, and perhaps every year, but I have not been able to discover it, the Stem is rough like the Sand rush, and it's much like it when green, at each joint it puts out from 20 to 30 radiate & horizontal leaves which Surrounds the Stem. above each joint about half an inch the Stem is Shethed like the Sand rush.
The instruments used by the nativs in digging their roots is a Strong Stick of three feet and a half long Sharpened at the lower end and its upper inserted into a part of an Elks or buck's horn which Serves as a handle; Standing transvirsely in the Stick- or it is in this form as thus A is the lower part which is a little hooked B is the upper part or handle of Horn.