Making Lechuguilla Cord

by R Edward Moore

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 The Lechuguilla plant (Aguve lechuguilla) grows in most of southern and western Texas.


 The leaves of the luchuguilla have strong fibers in them. The Indians used these fibers for all kinds of things. They would tie things with single stands or use cords of many strands when a stronger cord was needed. They would weave the cords together to make sandals and small containers. We are going to take one of these leaves and get the fibers out the way the Indians used to.


 The Lechuguilla is not a cactus. It is more closely related to lillies. It grows in large clumps.


 It has long sword like leaves. Each leaf has a hard very sharp tip. There are also very sharp saw teeth along the edges of each leaf.





 The first step is to cut away the sharp saw tooth edges so you can handle the leaf safely. Leave the sharp tip on the leaf.



 When we scrape away the flesh surface of the leaf we can see some of the fibers inside.



 What we need to do is get rid of the fleshy part of the leaf and leave the fibers. To do this we will use two rocks. One rock is an anvil and the other is a hammer.




 We put the leaf on the anvil stone and use the hammer stone to pound on the leaf.



 Be sure and put a towel or cloth under the work. The leaf gets pretty juicy and lots of wet pulp comes off.



 Be careful not to pound too hard. That can crush the fibers and make them weak. Pound just hard enough to mash the pulp and be patient.



 You can see the fibers beginning to come out of the pulp.



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