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Stalking the Wild Sweetgrass: Domestication and Horticulture of the Grass Used in African-American Coiled Basketry

Series: Springerbriefs in Plant Science

By: Robert J Dufault (Author)

128 pages, 24 colour & 41 b/w illustrations


Paperback | Dec 2012 | #205993 | ISBN-13: 9781461459026
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £44.99 $55/€51 approx

About this book

Stalking the Wild Sweetgrass is concerned with the historical domestication of sweetgrass, the main construction/structural grass used in the three century old African-American tradition of coiled basketry in South Carolina. During the plantation era in southern agriculture, sweetgrass baskets were made for post-harvest processing and storage of rice by enslaved Africans from Lower Cape Fear, North Carolina to northern Florida. Enslaved Africans from the Rice Kingdom in Africa were prized for the basketry and rice agronomic skills and were specially sought by slavery traders. Today, this ancient craft still thrives in the community of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Authored by one of the most renowned experts in the field and filled with illuminating color photographs, Stalking the Wild Sweetgrass provides knowledge of the horticulture of an extremely important wild plant and an example of the perils of plant- and people-based research and experimentation. As one of the few authoritative texts on the subject, Stalking the Wild SweetgrassDomestication and Horticulture of the Grass Used in African-American Coiled Basketry is a resourceful volume on wild sweetgrass, suitable for researchers and students alike.


1. Introduction
2. The beginnings of change Sweetgrass Conference, 1988 The findings of the Conference
3. My time to get involved What were the sweetgrass basket community needs?
4. Getting to the grass roots of cultivation First site of large scale sweetgrass plantings - Palm Key Resort, Ridgeland, SC
5. Getting more involved Low Country Sweetgrass Preservation Society
6. Sweetgrass Utopia in the Southeast - Little St. Simon's Island Little St. Simon's Island history An amazing sweetgrass habitat
7. Getting to know the basketmakers Mt. Pleasant Basketmakers' Association interaction Perceived horticultural challenges
8. Sweetgrass Culture Workshop Oct. 24, 1992
9. The concept of large scale sweetgrass plantations Grand scale experiments and perceived problems
10. 2nd Site of large scale sweetgrass plantings - McLeod Plantation, James Island McLeod Plantation history Objectives of the grand experiment - people and science based Results of people based experiment Results of science based experiment
11. 3rd Site of large scale sweetgrass plantings - Dill Sanctuary, James Island Dill Sanctuary history Results of field experiment Re-evaluation of large scale sweetgrass plantations
12. Alternative ways to access sweetgrass Dependence on private beachfront communities to allow access to sweetgrass Municipal/ commercial plantings Restoring natural habitats along SC beaches Army Corps Engineers Dune Vegetation Shore Protection Project Sweetgrass planting logistics at Folly Beach, SC Folly Beach sweetgrass planting locations Folly Beach sweetgrass development over the years Grand Strand sweetgrass project Grand Strand sweetgrass planting locations The happy ending to a long struggle
13. Sweetgrass biology Sweetgrass botany...what's in a name?
14. Sweetgrass horticulture -environmental considerations Distribution in the US and habitats Plant longevity Soils Heat/drought tolerance Pest pressures Fertility responses
15. Seedling cultural practices Clump separation to produce sweetgrass plugs Seed germination and seedling culture When to seed Containers Seeding the media Seedling fertilization Seedling watering Seedling hardening What is a "quality" sweetgrass transplant? What are the problems in growing sweetgrass transplants? Fertility Low light Seeding only a few seeds per container Over seeding Too short a greenhouse growth period Excessively long leaf production
16. Field production practices Timing of spring planting in the field Soil conditions Fertilizer additions in the field Watering "Benign Neglect" Weed control Light, shade and competition Plant spacing in field planted for basketmakers' use Timing of fall planting in the field Growth practices in the first year after planting Growth practices in the second year after planting and beyond Changing sweetgrass into "Frankengrass" Harvesting Yearly renovation Longevity and decline of sweetgrass in cultivation
17. Concluding thoughts What mysteries are left to unravel?
18. Afterthoughts

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Robert J. Dufault Clemson University, Department of Horticulture, Charleston, SC, USA

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