Name: Coastal Manroot (Marah oregana)
Other names: Marah oreganus, Western Manroot
Description: Coastal manroot has the least pubescent bud, leaves, and branches of all the manroot species. populations in more northern climates are nearly hairless with glossy leaves. Vines appear in late winter or early spring in response to increased rainfall, and can climb or scramble to a length of 6m. Its leaves typically have five lobes with individual plants showing wide variation in leaf size and lobe length. Although leaf size is highly variable, coastal manroot tends to have larger leaves than other Marah species.
Distribution: Coastal manroot grows most vigorously by streams or in washes but can also be successful in dryer areas, at elevations up to 1600 metres. It will tolerate a variety of soil types and acidities, but it requires at least seasonally moist soil. Vines can grow in full-sun to heavily shaded conditions. In mild areas of its range where year-round moisture is available, vines are perennial. In cold winter areas, vines die back in fall. In areas with seasonal wetness, vines emerge at the beginning of the wet season and die back completely in the dry season.
Usage: Marah oreganus was used by the Native Americans for various health problems. The Chinook made a poultice from the gourd. The Squaxin mashed the upper stalk in water to dip aching hands. The Chehalis people burned the root and mixed the resulting powder with bear grease to apply to scrofula sores. The Coast Salish made a decoction to treat venereal disease, kidney trouble and scrofula sores.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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