River Cane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl.] as a Seasonal Food Source for the Cherokee

Date and Time: 
Friday, 6 May, 2011 - 20:50 to 21:10
Cozzo, David - EBCI Extension Center/North Carolina State University/RTCAR
River cane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl.] was ubiquitous in the lives of Southeastern Native Americans, being a component of housing, sleeping and sitting mats, benches, basketry, and utensils. It is sometimes mentioned as a food source, but little description is available. River cane flowers in early summer and this timing would have been advantageous in the Cherokee’s yearly food cycle. This paper examines historic references to the use of river cane as a food source and its potential as a seasonal carbohydrate source in the Cherokee diet.