This list is not meant to be all-inclusive by any means. I do not think I could at any point in my lifetime find and try every piece of wood that can be used to make arrows. It is also a work in progress and you will see notes to add more information. When I first stated to gather this list and the information on arrow shafts I thought it would be a fairly easy task. I found that the more I researched one particular arrow shaft material I usually found one or two others that were also used by some one else. I found that I spent as much or more time researching and writing this one chapter than the rest of the book combined. It was much more than I anticipated and I did learn much more than I ever thought I would.
These woods list in this chapter are shaft materials that I have used or I have gain experience on them and their performance from other archers. Some of these shafting are recent additions to the areas from which they are harvested and some have been used for thousands of years. This list is meant to include all the shafting materials around the world that have been used at one point or another to make primitive arrows that I could find and document. I am sure that there are many materials not yet discovered or that have been lost to the progress of technology before they could be recorded into History or I just did not find information on them.
I have shown the arrow material and names it is called for its common and Latin names. I have not included pictures or lengthy descriptions of the materials in this section. I found that when I included full descriptions and pictures of the materials I was creating a book with in a book. Much of the work of pictures and descriptions was unnecessary they are all described on the internet or in other books readily avalible to anyone. I tried to give a description of what the material is and weather is a good or a poor material. I tried to list where it grows and other similar information and it will be up to you to use the information here to determine which materials are in your area. Once you have done that you can use other nature books or a Demetrious Key to identify the plants by sight and habitat to actually find them.
At the end of each section I have tried to list any other uses of the shaft material weather it be for medicinal or other uses. These other uses might be of help to you with other primitive projects. I have to add a disclaimer to this section now as I have not tried these materials for their medicinal or food related qualities. I would urge you to further research the materials that you have near you that you would like to use before trying any of them. Some materials must be used in measured doses and could make you sick or even kill you if used incorrectly. It certainly would put a damper on your day if you turned up dead due to poor choice of using a plant incorrectly. That being said, enjoy this chapter and I hope you find many useful materials in your area.
The name Apache Plume comes from its white to pink feathery plumes that grow from the fruit which are thought to resemble Apache war bonnets. It grows in the Mojave, Chihuahuan, Great Basin and Sonoran deserts of the Southwestern North America. It ranges through Northern Mexico, Southeastern California, Southern Nevada and Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Western Texas. It is a numerous branched evergreen shrub growing about 6’ in height. Most of the branches shoot out from the bottom giving it the length it would need for arrows. It can sometime be confused with Cliffrose but, Apache Plume can easily be spotted by the many branches spreading from the base.
The Tewa, Hopi and other Native American used Apache Plume for arrow shafts. It was used to make brooms and a mixture or brew from the leaves was used to treat hair loss. The Hopi also used it mixed with duck grease to make a hair dressing but to what end I am not quite sure.
Arrow-weed is a willow-like shrub with slender, upright growing branches and will grow between 3 ½’ to 10’. Found in river bottoms and other wet habitats often in the desert. The range is throughout Southern California, Arizona, Southern New Mexico, far Western Texas, Northern Mexico and the very Southern tip of Nevada. Implied by its common name, Arrow-weed is exceptional shaft material. This material must be dried with the bark intact or it splits badly.
Arrow-weed grows in thick stands and has many upright slender stems lending it self to arrow shaft. It was said to be a favorite of Indians in the area it which it grew. The Kumeyaay Indians in California used it for arrow shafts. The Paiute and Pima Indians used the plant for eye, skin and gastro-instestinal ailments.
Northern Arrowwood Viburnum recognitum
Southern Arrowwood Viburnum dentatum
Northern and Southern Arrowwood have very little difference between then. I have heard there are as many as 7 different arrow woods and many are grown and sold at Nurseries for hedges or bushes. They ranges from Maine west to southern Michigan, southwest through Indiana into Arkansas, south into Louisiana and east into the panhandle of Florida. Arrowwood grows on hills and low-lying flat areas where water collects and basicly wet or moist well drained soils. The plants grow about 6’ to 10 feet in height and tend to lean over to the ground as it grows larger.
It has a pith core but is a very tough arrow material and maybe one of the toughest native materials on the east coast. I have lived in Maryland and used it exclusively for arrow shafts. I found it to be easy to straighten and stay straight once finished even with out sealants or protection from moisture on the shafts. It is better dried with the bark on unless the shafts are of smaller diameter for lighter bows. Then it may be dried with out the bark on. Larger shafts will split open if the bark is removed too early. The name Arrowwood came for the use of the wood for arrow shafts by the Algonquian type of Indians. These Tribes abandoned making bows and arrows in favor of the gun before it could be recorded which ones used this material.
The Ojibwa and the Menomimi Indians used the green inner bark boilded in water to make a tea to help relieve cramps. The Ojibwa also made a tea from Arrowood and Alder alnus incana to induce vomiting.
Korean arrow bamboo
Korean Arrow Bamboo is the traditional arrow shaft material for Korean archery. It is not easy to find much text to discribe this shaft material. It only grows in Korea and Northern China and in certain area where it has been imported by Nurseries and other homeowners as a screen.
One good reference to show this bamboo is the Bamboo Arrow web site bambooarrow.com and look for arrow bamboo. There is also a video for sales showing how the Korean masters make their arrows. Thomas Duvernay manages the Bamboo arrow web site. He is an American living in Korea most of the year and is the person you should get in touch with if you wish to learn about Korean Archery.
Japanese Arrow bamboo
Japanese Arrow Bamboo is commonly refered to as just Arrow Bamboo in English and Yadake in Japanese. It is said to be natural in Japan and Korea and has been introduced into America as early as 1850. It will grow as high as 12’ to 18’ it will grow thick making it popular as a screen for property owners. The sheaths, or culms, are more resilant and do not fall off like on standard bamboo or canes. It has been able to survive some winters in colder climates with light to heavy mulching to protect the roots systems. If not protected the plants will die and usually start growing again in the spring.
Green Onion Bamboo
Pseudosasa japonica var tsutsuminia
Green Onion Bamboo is a subspecies of Japanese Arrow Bamboo. Is an ortimental bamboo with many of the same features of Arrow Bamboo. It has internodes that are bulbous near the bottom that give it the name green onion.
Not sure if used for arrows. Ask Duvernay.
American Staphylea trifolia
European Staphylea pinnata
American Bladder Nut is a HAVE TO TRY WOOD IN BASEMENT.
It grows in the Eastern United States from Quebec south to Georgia and west to Kansas and Nebraska growing mostly in the upper Mississippi Valley. It is a deciduious shrub growing to about 10’ to 15’ in height at a medium rate. It likes moist soils and will grow in full sun to partial shade in light woods. Beside being used for arrows it also has some food qualities. The seeds can be cooked and eaten like pistashio nuts. The seeds have also been used as a oil for cooking. A fase wash for made with and infusion of powdered bark for sore faces.
European Bladder Nut or just refered to as Bladder Nut has pretty much the same qualities as listed above. I have not seen any listing or heard of any one using it for arrows. Ussualy most woods in the same families have close to the same traits so I included it as a possible shafting for our European friends. There was not medical listing such as the face wash. The seeds were eaten by children in Germany. I have no reference of this species being used for arrows yet.
Bearberry is a small evergreen shrub with many short, woody branches. It grows in the northern areas of North America, Asia and Europe. In North America it can be found as far south as New Jersey and Wisconsin. It is found mostly on dry soils with fair to open exposure to sunlight. It can also be found growing in sandy soils or sand dunes.
It is used medicinally used for treat mean of inflamed urinary tract, urethritis and cystisis. The dried leaves are boiled in hot water at 1 oz. Of leaves to one pint of water. The leaves also contain about 6 percent tannin and have been used to tan hides. It was mixed with tobacco and called Kinnikinnick by the American Indians or smoke alone as a tobacco substitute. The dries berries where used to make pemmican and recently for jelly and jams.
Web search for arrow uses. No mention on FEIS tree search Nothing found. Have to ask around.
Web search for arrow and all other uses. Nothing found on net. I do not know where I found this. It grown in pine forest in SE USA and have to ask down there.
The wood is strong and flexible. It has been reported to have been used by Indians for bows, arrows, spears, snowshoes, sleds, baskets, animal calls an anything else that a strong wood could be useful for. Of course the arrows would be split out of dried wood and shaped to the desired shape and spine.
Black cherry is a fair weighted wood and could be condider comperably to a cedar weight for shafting
Button Bush is a small tree that grows 3’ to 8’ in height can grow up to 12’ in height. It ranges from Florida north to Nova Scotia, west through Quebec and Ontario and into Minnesota and south through Central Texas and in California and Mexico in Isolated areas. It likes wet area and grows along ponds, streams and any wet areas. It will even grow on a field if there is plenty of water under the surface. Button bush is easiest to notice for it white round flowers and the green fruits that grow in later. Both look like a ping pong ball. The leaves are poisonous but the seeds are eaten by waterfowl. Other common names are Button Willow, Riverbush and Buttonball.
It has a pith core to the wood, has a stiff spine and is a medium to light weight shaft material. It was used by the Yokuts in California as an arrow shaft material.
Joe chestnut is using them and as to be checked.
California Wild Rose
When shoots of sufficient girth can be found, Wild Rose also makes excellent arrow shaft material. According to available literature, this plant occurs most commonly along stream banks and other damp places below 6000′. The distribution is through most of California from the coast almost to its eastern boarder. It has been seen it in locations at higher elevations, but that may have a different subspecies, like possibly Wood Rose (R. gymnocarpa). When harvesting Wild Rose, protection from thorns is a must. Curing the shafts with the bark on seems like a good idea, but may not be necessary.
Web search for arrow uses.
River Cane Arundinaria gigantea
Switch Cane Arundinaria gigantea tecta
Check on these
Arundo Donax is the Mediterranean cane
Canes are a group of bamboo that grow in the United States. They grow in the Southern United States in stream, river side and wet lands. Certain kinds can grow as tall as 25 in heigt. and have been used by many Native American Indian tribes. Many accounts have been written of Indian uses of cane arrow shafts. Some of the most interesting to me was some from the accounts of DeSoto while traveling in the Americas. Is recounts have the cane arrows being stopped by chain mail but still having men wounded due to the cane splitting on the fore shafts
. Arundinaria. gigantea, commonly known as Cane, Southern Cane, Cane Reed and Switchcane, grows wild in the bogs, stream and river sides and wet lands of the southern U.S.
From all I have been told, there is no difference between Switch cane and River Cane except for the sheaths on the shafts of switch cane. It grows the same, looks the same except the Switch Cane does not grow as tall as river cane.
The common names associated with cascara are cascara, cascara buckthorn, cascara sagrada, bearberry, chittam bark, and coffee-tree. The tree falls some where between a small tree to a large shrub. It can grow as high as 30 feet and have a trunk of about a 10″ diameter, but is said to grow smaller in its southern range. It grows in dry to wet soils usually preferring the wet soils. It is very shade tolerant growing mostly in wooded areas and ranges from British Columbia south to Northern California and west to Montana.
The bark was boiled to make a tea that was drunk as a strong laxative by the Kootenai and Flathead Indians. About a hand full of dried bark to a quart of water was the desired dosage. The bark was best considered harvested in late October and early November because the sap has descended down the trunk. After the bark was harvested it was allowed to age before use because the fresh bark is said to be nauseating. Usually a hand full of bark per quart of water was boiled for use as a laxative and for used as a remedy for dysentry . The bark can also be used to make a yellow dye and berries mixed with alum can produce a green dye.
Be careful when harvesting Cascara. It is said that handling of he bark over long period can still pass its laxative power to you. The compounds that cause this can be passed through the skin. Also the meat of animals that are eating the fruits of the cascara are said to contain some of the laxative properties.
Web search for arrow uses. Nothing in Feis and have to ask around. Maybe Jim in Oregon.
Chamise is a spreading shrub with many branches near the ground that can grow as tall as 12’ in height and ranges in Southern California and Northern Mexico. Its other common names are Greasewood Chamise and Chamiso. It grows in most soils in Southern California were the rain is about 10” to 40” a year. It only grows in sandy and well-drained soils as its range heads farter north were the annual rain precipitation increases.
Chamise was used by the Kumeyaay Indians for bows and arrows and was also used by them and other Indians for building huts and fences. There is reference to them also using a glue made from “scale insects” to seat arrowheads in the shafts. I am not sure if they made the glue from the insects or from a reside left by the insects. It has been boiled and used as a wash for swollen or infected areas of the skin. The leaves or plant matter could be fried in grease and would then turn the grease into a healing paste.
Find difference between cliffrose ans Standsbury Cliffrose
It ranges from Southwestern Colorado, Utah,
Nevada, Southern California, New Mexicoand south to Northern Mexico
Common chokecherry Prunus virginiana is the eastern variety that ranges from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland south to Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina
Black chokecherry Prunus melanocarpa is only found in the western portion of North America. It ranges in southern Canada to eastern British Columbia through the Dakotas and south through the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico.
Western chokecherry Prunus demissa is the West Coast variety; occurs from British Columbia southward to California; although distributed throughout the mountains of California, in the Pacific Northwest this variety grows primarily west of the Cascade Range.
Chokecherry is a native shrub to small tree that can reach between 3’ to 20’ in height. It can be a thicket forming shrub and likes to grow near water like streams, ditches or ponds even thought it is not tolerant of poor drained soils.
Chokecherry was used by Indians in the Eastern United States for bows and arrows but I have not been able to find references to which tribes use it. It has also been reported to be used for digging sticks, tipi poles and pipe stems. Some other Indians used the berries by grinding the cherries into balls or patties. The ground cherries where also added to Buffalo meat and fat to make pemmican. The Pauites made tea from the leaves and bark for a cold remedy.
Find people that have used it. Noting on FEIS or web search.
Phragmites maximus Check this one.
The common names for this reed are common reed, giant reed, giant reedgrass, roseau, roseau cane, yellow caneand sometimes just cane. It grows in North America from middle Canada to Mexico. It also is growing in many other areas of the world an is established in Africa, Australia, Europe and South America. Phramites communis has a common name of Carrizo or Carrizo Grass.
This reed can be found growing in marshes and will from thick stands where it is growing. It will grow in most any soil and prefers to grow in areas that are seasonally flooded with 20” or less of water. It is a perenial reed reaching 6′ to 14′ tall and sometimes as high as 20’. The stalks can grow from ¼” to just over a ½” thick and are hollow and similar to a type of cane. The leaves grow from the stalk and are about 10″ to 20″ long and 1/4″ to 2″ wide. It grows on banks of streams and ponds, ditches and other low lying watery areas.
American Indians of the Southwest not only used the stems to make arrow shafts, but they also made prayer sticks, weaving rods, pipe stems, lattices, adobe huts, mats, screens, nets, and thatching for the reed and its leaves. The Indians also used the roots and seeds as food. Susquehannock Indians were reported to have been using arrows made from reed. The lived mostly in Pennsylvannia and did not have access to cane unless the headed to southern Maryland. So it might be likely the reed they were using was actually Phragmites. The Chumash Indians in California used this for arrow shafts for the main part of the arrow on a compound arrow.
Coyote Brush is an evergreen shrub with many branches that can grow between 2’ to 10’. It is a very common shrub in Nothern and Central California. The wood is light, straight and has a pithy center.
New to get some references on this. Some one form California and maybe tribes that used it .
Some California Indians made a tea from the leaves to be used as an eye wash and to treat baldness. It was also used to make arrows and for hut constructions. California settlers use a tea brewed from the plant to sinusitis and hay fever.
Currants are members of the Gooseberry Family and all seems to make good arrow shaft and were used by Native peoples in the United States and Canada. It is a very good arrow shaft material and the wood is strong and light in weight. Test Golden Current shafts in basement. The berries are eaten and added to meat and fat to make pemmican and have been used to make jams, jellies and pies. The wood was used by the Cheyenne Indians for arrow shafts.
Currant, American Black
American Black Currant is a shrub wit many upright branches grows to 5’ in height. It will grow in most soils from wet, moist, sandy and clay filled soils. The range is from Alberta sout to New Mexico East of the Rocky Mountains, north to Nebraska, East through Northern Illinois and east to Delaware and north to Newfoundland. Other common names are Wild Black Currant, Eastern Black Currant and Black Currant.
Currant, Bristly Black
Bristly Black Currant is a shrub that grow to about 4’ in height that will grow upright when found in direct sunlight. It grows on moist to wet, rich soils in cooler climates. The range is from Newfoundland through most of Canada to Alaska, South to Northern California and east to te Great Lakes area and continues East into West Virginia. The other common names are Swamp Currant and Prickly Currant.
Golden Currant is a shrub tat grows wit many upright branches and growing to 10’ in height. It grows on slops, run-offs and next to streams. It ranges from California to Texas, north through Nebraska and Colorado to British Columbia, and east to Saskatchewan. Other common names are Fragrant Golden Currant and Buffalo Currant.
Gooseberry Currant is a shrub that grows to about 4’ in height. It will grow on most soils and will even tolerate dry rocky soils and shaded areas. The range is from New Mexico west to the California mountains, North from both to Montana and British Columbia. Other common names are Mountain Gooseberry, Subalpine Prickly Currant and Western Prickly Goosebeery.
Wax Currant is a shrub tat grows to about 5’ in height and as many branches. It will grow on most soils and even very poor soils with just a very thin top soil. The range is from Eastern British Columbia, south through to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, Northern Arizona and New Mexico. Other common names are Squaw Currant and Wiskey Currant.
Chilopsis linearis (Bignoniaceae?)
Desert Willow is an large shrub or small tree that can grow as high as 25’ and get a trunk up to 6”.. It can be found growing near streams, drainage ditches or other places water can be found. It is not actually a Willow but was probably thought to be as first. It grows were ever water can be found even under the surface. It also has long slender leaves very similar to a Willow. The range is in the deserts from Southwest Texas and Northern Mexico through to Southern California.
The Chauilla Indians used the wood for bows, in hut construction and graineries to store acorns and mesquite beans. The bark is fiberous and was used to make nets, shirts and breechclouts. A tea can be made from the flowers or seed pods but no reference to an medicinal use mentioned.
Maybe also Rose majalis according to Torgus Gareen
Doge Rose is a native Rose to Europe and the UK. It is a woody shrub with arching upright branches and can grow to about 7’ in height. It has naturalized in to the Northwest US and can be found in parts of Idaho, Washington, Oregon and has even been reported in isolated spots in the eastern United States. The bark has small prickles on it instead of large thorns like other Roses.
It is very similar to most of the Rose Family and does very fine for making arrows. It is a hard wood and is usually better when harvested in its second year of a shoots or branches grows. The woods of Roses and Dog Rose also grow very fast and have a large pith core in a branch first year of growth. In its second year it does not grow as fast but thickens up to be able to support more branches. Shoots that have red and green bark are usually first year shoots and might have too weak of a spine. As the shoots grow into their second year the bark turns gray and the shoot is more suited for arrow making. The shoots grow straight, straighten very well with heat and tend to stay straight after being finished.
The leaves have been used as a subsitute for tea and the Rose hips (seeds) are added to commerialy sold Rose Hip Teas. The Hips has acidic but not unpleasant. They are full of cirtic, malic and asorbic acids, the last of which id Vitiamn C. The hips are said to cool a fever, strengthen the stomach and help with coughs.
Alternate-leaf Dogwood is a large shrub or small tree that can grow as high as 30’. It tends to have multiple trunks or to have the trunk split into many branches near the base. It can be found growing in well drained soils of forest, the edges of fields and the edges of water. It ranges from Newfoundland south to Northern Florida, West through Mississippi and North up through States along the Mississippi River into Eastern Minnesota.
Need to find uses and search for arrow uses.
The common names for this dogwood are gray dogwood, gray-stemmed dogwood and panicled dogwood. It is a deciduous shrub usually growing between 4’ to 10’ in height and occasionally found as large as 25’ in height. The range of this plant in North America is from Ontario south through America to near northern Arkansas and west in through the plains states and as far west as Montana. It grows well in hardwood forest and can be found with Mapleleaf viburnum, Chokecherry and American Hazel.
Need to find uses and search for arrow uses.
Do a search for more arrow uses and better info.
Other common names for Pacific Dogwood are Mountain Dogwood, Western Dogwood, and Western Flowering Dogwood. It is a shrub to small tree and can grow 20’ to 30’ tall. It ranges from North Vancouver Island in British Columbia South to Southern California and 200 miles inland from the coast. There is also a small area of growth in Idaho.
The wood hard and fine grained and has been commercial used for golf clubs, piano keys and textile shuttles. Native American used the wood to make Salmon harpoons and Settlers used the wood to make mallet heads. The bark was used by the Indians as a diarrhetic(?) and settlers use the bark to make a drug similar to quinine for fevers.
Red-osier Dogwood is a shrub that has many stems growing from a common root and will form thickets of it’s own. It some times can be a small tree growing up to 10’ high and 3″ in diameter. The bark is one of it’s most disgusting characteristic. It is a red color with grey raised bumps to plates. The tree grows in moist soils and along streams. Its natural range is central Alaska east to Labrador and Newfoundland and south to North Virginia and west to California. Other common names that might used for Red-osier Dogwood are: Western Dogwood, Redstem Dogwood, Kinnikinik, Squawbush, Creek Dogwood, California Dogwood, Redbrush and Red Willow.
This dogwood is good arrow material. It does require some re-straightening for normal arrows if left untreated. Most Indians on the North American Plains and the Great Lakes area used Red osier as an arrow shafting. The wood was used by the Cheyenne Indians for arrow shafts. One of the common traits that some tribe had on their shafting was lighting grooves to help with the straightness. They seem to hold their straighten much better with the grooves.
Indians also used to smoke the inner bark scrapings and leaves which had a slight narcotic affect. The long slender branch are used for basket weaving and bend and woven to make fish traps. The inner bark could be boiled and applied to relieve pain. The bark is fiberous was also used to make ropes for underwater used like the fish traps.
This Dogwood is a ticket-forming shrub that can grow as high as 20’. This dogwood is easily distinguished from other Dogwoods by having rough hairs on the topsides of the leaves and white berries. It grows in most area including hardwood forest, along streams and open areas. The range is from Louisiana to west Texas and North through Nebraska and into Southern Michigan. Just like the other dogwoods Roughleaf is tough and requires re-straightening or lightning grooves.
Need more info, look for arrow uses.
Silky Dogwood is a shrub to a small tree that will grow to about 6’ to 15’ tall. It tends to grow upright and sometimes parallel to the ground with upright shoots. It will grow most anywhere but is found mostly in swamps, next to streams or next to another source. This Dogwood is distighishable but its smooth leaves on the upper surface, green shoots that change a reddish-purple and then to a gray normal bark. Other common names are Pale Dogwood, Red Willow, Swamp Dogwood, Swamp Cornel and the Indian Name of Kinnikinnik.
This Dogwood was also had its inner bark smoke by Indians for its slight narcotic affect. The wood makes good arrows but you should be selective of the shafts you cut as the shafts with more curves or bends are more likely to warp later. Shafts with curves can be straightened easily but will need to be maintained more in the future.
Elderberry wood was used to make compound arrows by California Indians and Indians of the Southwest United States. The wood was also used to make fire drill shaft, flutes and blowguns. The last two are because of the naturally hollow stems. Elderberries have been gathered to makes pies, jellies and wine. Young spring shoots were gathered, cooked and eaten. I would not recommend this as the plant contains a compound called cyanogenetic glycoside which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Te berries contain very little, the shoots have more and the roots have been reported to have enough to kill pigs that eat it.
Blue Elderberry is a shrub or small tree that grows between 7’ and 13’ in height and sometimes as high as 20’. The wood is hard with a pith core and the first year twigs are soft and a large pith area. It likes to grow in moist well drain soils in sunny areas. The range of the variety cerulea is from British Columbia South though Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona California and New Mexico. The variety velutina ranges only in Southern and New Mexico. The variety. neomexicana ranges only in California, Western Nevada and Northwestern Arizona. Other common names are Blue Elder, Arizona Elderberry, New Mexican Elderberry, Velvet-leaf Elder and Hairy Blue Elderberry.
Red Elderberry is a shrub or a small tree tat can grow up to 20’ in height. The wood is hard with a pith core and the first year twigs are soft and a large pith area. It grows in rich moist soils and has problems with heat in its southern range and only grows in uplands and swamps areas in the south. The berries are said to be poisonous and should not be eaten. It ranges from Alaska through Canada to Newfoundland, South through the Rocky Mountains to California, Arizona and New Mexico. It also ranges south through the Appalachian Mountains into Tennessee and Georgia. One variety of this Elderberry actually has purpleish-black fruit. Other common names are Black Elderberry, Blackbead Elder, Mountain Elder, Stinking Elderberry, Stinking Elder, Red-berry Elder, Red Elder, Sureau Rouge, Bore Tree, Boutry, and Bunchberry Elder.
Gooseberry shrubs are a good shaft material for making arrows. The wood is strong and light in weight. Gooseberry is a relative to the Currant shrubs but has thorns on their shafts and generally has thicker shafts. If you plan to try and harvest some of these shafts a good pair of leather gloves would be a good idea. The Gooseberries have been used for pies, jams and pemmican.
Desert Gooseberry is a shrub that grows between 4’ to 7’ in height. It grows in rocky soils and mountain slopes and is partially shade tolerant and grows best in full sun and open areas. It ranges from Washington and Idaho south to California and Arizona. The other common names is Gooding’s Gooseberry.
Written by Tom Mills. Need to find this and confirm. Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry is a deciduous shrub that ranges in Southwestern North America. It grows in open slopes and rocky canyons below 2200 feet in California. When flowering (April – June), these shrubs are very conspicuous, with clusters of small, red, bell shaped flowers visible for considerable distances. Gooseberry shares the same habitat as Golden Current and should be harvested stems should be bundled and dried with the bark on.
Northern Gooseberry is a shrub that grows to 5’ in height and has upright branches with thorns. It grows on rocky, sandy and moist soils and grows in most areas. It ranges in Alaska and most of Canada, in the Great Lakes area and into the western states to te Rocky Mountains. Other common names are Inland Gooseberry, Idaho Gooseberry and Missourri Gooseberry.
Greasewood is a thorny shrub with many branches that will grow between 3’ and 7’ tall. It ranges from California north into Southern Canada and in to North Dakota and south into Mexico. Other common names are Black greasewood and Chicowood. It will grow in alkaline or saline soils and can be found near Saltbush and Salt Grass and other plants that prefer alkaline soils.
The wood is hard and tough and valueable for tools. Some Indians used it to make fore-shafts for compound arrows for other softer woods like Elderberry or Cedar. The Hopi Indians used the sticks for digging sticks. Other Native Americans ate the leaves of the plant, which are said to have a salty flavor.
Hazel is a wood for those on the British Isles area. It is a small deciduous tree, usually with multiple trunks and a spreading crown and grows to a height of 15’ to 20’. It is hardy, moderately shade tolerant and grows best on heavy well-drained soil. The range of the Hazel tree is almost all of Europe and grows all through Britain except the Shetlands. It is considered a major component of the natural woodland habitat in many areas. It is considered an understory shrub, but it will not flower and produce nuts without adequate sunlight.
It is a wood and fair to light weighted wood shafting. It seems to be rather flexible as a shafting, but does not seem to stay very straight if it can be affected by moisture. The shafts I have used stayed straight as long as they had a low moisture content. Once they picked up moisture they could warp but usually did not except on hits with targets and needed to be checked for straightness after shooting if they picked up moisture. Over all I would give this wood a fairly high mark as a shafting. The only downfalls I could find was the straightness factor due to moisture, the fairly light weight of the wood and it did not take hard hits without breakage. I lost a few shafts due to breaking right behind the target points which seems to be the same traits as cedar or other softer woods. The straightness could possible be over come with the grooving and tempering of the shafts.
Hazel had been used for a multitude of uses. It was split to make walls for house. pens for cattle, fishing rods, walking sticks or crooks for shepherds, barrel hoops, fuel for wood stoves and even charcoal for gunpowder. The twigs where also used for divining rods for detecting water with the old traditional methods. The nuts are edible and rich in oil and grow in clusters of 1 to as many as 4 together.
Need information on this plant.
Beaked Hazelnut is a shrub tat grows Where?? Need more plant info. The wood was used by the Secwepemc Indians for arrow shafts.
Need plant information.
The wood was used to make arrows, fish traps and baskets. Ishi of the Yahi Indian preferred Hazel as an arrow shaft material. He used Hazel as the back part of a compound arrow. I am not totally sure this is the same Hazel e preferred but it does grow in the area in which he lived.
The common names of this plant are mapleleaf viburnum, dockmackie, mapleleaved arrow-wood, possum-haw, squash-berry and guelder-rose. It occurs from southern Ontario to Quebec, south to eastern Texas, and east to the Northern Florida. It is a shrub that grows from 3’ to 6’ in height with a fairly straight trunk and can sometimes form dense thickets. It grows in upland forests in moist well-drained soils and is shade tolerant.
It is a fine wood for making arrows and is hard, slightly heavy and tough when large enough shoots can be found. The only problem with this type of wood is finding it long enough and thick enough to produce good arrows. This is one of it’s major downfalls is the lack of large shoots for very heavy arrows. I have found enough to make 45 to 55 pound arrows, but need to look a lot harder to gather this type of shafting than other types of wood. It has a pith core that is relatively small in relation to its size for a small shaft. Many other Viburnums new growths is a perfect size for youth arrows, but has a very large pith core making them weak and hard to stay straight. This wood does not have that problem for youth arrows and would be an excellent choice for kids to start making their own primitive arrows.
The inner bark mixed with water into a tea could be used to relieve cramping. The inner bark was also mixed with hot water until it was green and cool and then was drunk to induce vomiting.
Multiflora Rose was introduced to the United States more than 40 years ago for high quality wildlife cover, living farm fences, and windbreaks. In some states, Multiflora Rose was used as a crash barrier along highways. Multiflora rose spreads rapidly into adjacent fields and undisturbed areas, often forming thickets. It grows to about 7’ in height and cane reach about 10” around covering a large area in an umbrella fashion. The branches or stems grow very fast and can reach several feet in length in one year. The have a very large pitch core the first year and the pitch is reduced as it grows longer and thicker the second year. The shafts that are usually good for arrows are green turning to brown rough bark or have total changed brown. It is a native of the Japan and gets covered with small white flowers in early spring.
Multiflora Rose is a good shafting is very easy to make into shafting. It seems as though every large rose bush may have at least one good quality shafting to be cut from it. You must be careful when sizing the shafts you wish to cut. It will shrink more than most woods and the stalks for arrows must be about as large as a persons little finger in diameter to make a good arrow. The gathered shafts can be striped of their bark as soon as they are harvested. This works best because it is a good idea to get rid of all those thorns. It does not usually check even when stripped of its bark in mid-summer as long as it is not too large in diameter. Once the bark is off the shafts will need to be green straightened once to twice a day until they are dry and straight. If you do not strip the bark of it you can slowly green straighten with the bark on over weeks. It also can be heat straightened after it is dry, but does not always respond well to the pressures put on it during this process and will sometimes split open with the grain of the shaft. Try to get all but final touches straightened while the shaft is drying to make a good shaft. It is a good idea to apply sinew binding behind trade or flint points and in front for self-nocks. As I explained earlier the wood can split along the grain if too much twisting force is applied. The sinew binding helps prevent movement and splitting is very desirable to prevent shaft damage and extend the shafts life span.
Nannyberry is a shrub to small tree tat can grow to 20’ in Height. It likes to grow in rich moist soils and will grow in either full sun or shade. One easy way to identify Nannyberry is to scrape and smell the bark. The bark produces a smelly, skunk like odor. The range is from Southern Saskatchewan south through the Dakotas and into Iowa, East to the Appalaician Mountains, north to Maine and south into West Virginia.
Ocean Spray is a shrub growing to about 10 to 15 feet in height with many trunks. It is easily found by its flowers tat are creamy white and hang on the bush until dead and turning brown. It grows in partial shade and regular soil and mainly in moist upland forests. Te natural range is from British Columbia down to California and east to Idaho. Other common names are Creambush, rockspiraea, mountain-spray and, of course Arrow-wood.
Ocean Spray makes a very strong arrow shaft and is very desirable. It is a very heavy and very tough arrow shaft material. I would say that is might be, one of if not, the heaviest and toughest woods I have tried. Even the bark was tough to scrape off with a knife after these shafts where dried. It hit hard and took good shocks without breaking. This wood was used by Native Americans for arrows and they also ate the fruits.
Osoberry as an arrow wood is I don’t know.
It is considered a deciduous shrub or small tree and can grow between 5 to 15 feet with one or more trunks. It grows in wet areas along the edges of woods, in open thin woods, along roads and in ditches or other areas that could retain moisture. It ranges in the northwestern USA and southwestern Canada. Another common name for Osoberry is Indian Plum.
The berries were eaten by birds and eaten dried and fresh by Native Americans. The leaves were eaten in salads and said to have a cucumber taste. Caution should be given to eating this fruit and it’s leaves. Small doases are recommend if any are eaten. The plant contains hydrogen cyanide and can help with digestion and simulating respiration, but too much can cause respiratory failure and lead to death. The bark has also been used for a laxative.
The Secwepemc Indians made arrows from the rose wood (probably prickly rose). Need more information.
Privet is a shrub that has been widely used as a hedge in te United States and other countries. This use as a hedge is what has Helped it naturalize in many parts of the United States. Difference types of Privet can be found all over the Southern United States. The wood is hard and tough and makes good arrow shafts. It is easy to straighten using green or heat straightening methods and once straight seems to stay that way. The best way of seasoning Privet seems to be best with the bark on.
California Privet is a semi-evergreen shrub that grow to 15’ in height. And is also used for a hedge and can some time be found as Golden Privet. Need more info
Common Privet is a shrub
It as naturalized in South Carolina and needs more information.
Chinese privet is a shrub, which can grow to 12’ to 20’ in height. It has many trunks and grows very compact. It is a deciduous to nearly evergreen shrub. It prefers wet and damp soils and is usually found in low lands, stream banks, and disturbed areas. It is native to China, and is now naturalized in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. It can dominate the shrub area of a forest and coke out all other shrubs due to it growing into its own tickets.
Japanese Privet is a shrub that grows to about 10’ in height. It will grow in most any soil except for wet lands and is very heat, drought and cold tolerant. Need a range and other info.
Desert Rabbitbrush is a shrub that grows to about 7’ in height. It grows along roads, streams and dry, rocky hill sides and is tolerant of drought, cold and poor soils. It ranges in the Deserts of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Other common names are Mohave Rabbitbrush, Catclaw Rabbitbrush, Black-banded Rabbitbrush and Sticky Rabbitbrush.
The Hopi Indians used the wood for arrow shafts and for wicker basketry. A yellow dye can be made for the flowers and a green dye can be made from the inner bark.
Russian Olive is a shrub or small tree growing to 15’ or 20’ in height. It is a native species of Europe and Asia and has been introduced into the Western United States and as become a problem species. It grows in dry and moist soils and can even grow in flood planes as long as they are well drained. The shoots have been used to make arrows by some Primitive archers. Need to find arrow uses.
Salt Cedar is a shrub or small tree that grows to 12’ to 15’ in height and is native to Europe, Asia and Africa. It has been naturalized in the Southwest United States from California through Texas. The shrub likes to grow in any waterway, flood plain, or moist areas. It spreads through root sprouts and can choke out other plant life when it forms thickets. It is very salt tolerant and in heavy salt environments will get salt crusted on its leaves
The wood is of medium weight and hardness but tends to stay straight once made into arrows and will make very good arrows. The shoots tend to grow very straight in the center of the thickets. You will probably be doing a favor to your local natural recourses department if you cut this as it is listed as an invasive pest species in most areas.
Saskatoon is a shrub to small tree that grows to about 15’ in height. It grows in moist well-drained soils in most areas. Need a range.
The wood is hard and strong and has been used by Indians to make bows, arrows, digging sticks and other tools. I have found reference to the Salish, or Flathead, and Tsimshian Indians using this shaft material for arrows. I have also read about at least two Indian accounts of tem biting the wood to break the grain and prevent warping. I have never heard of this and I am not sure it actually prevents warping. Needs research.
Mule-Fat Baccharis salicifolia
Stick False Willow Baccharis glutinosa
Both Mule Fat and Stick False Willow are members of the sunflower family as Arroweed is. They are fast growing, willow like, evergreen shrubs that can grow to about 10’ to 12’ in height and have long, slender stems
Mule-fat Baccharis salicifolia. Another common name that may be more familiar to some others is Seep Willow. Sticky False Willow is another plant that falls under the Seep Willow Name also. It other common names are Water Wally, Sticky Baccharis. It ranges through Southern California, Southern Nevada and Colorado, all of Arizona, Southern New Mexico and Western Texas.
The wood has a pith core and most shafts cut will have a gradual taper to them. The wood as a fairly large pit core and is a little weak and as lower spine weights tat some other woods growing in the same areas. It still can be used for arrows as long as you are careful in you selection of shafts. The wood is best seasoned with the bark on and developes heavy splitting if dried without the bark. It also can serve as the hearth board or spindle for fire making. Maybe one of the redeaming qualities might be if you got lost on a hunting trip you would be able to start a fire with just you bow and arrows.
It is a can vary from a shrub to a small tree that will grow up to 20’ to 30’ in height. It ranges from Manitoba and Southern Alaska and south to California, east through New Mexico up through and into the Dakotas and north into Alaska. It is found in rocky and hilly landscapes and mostly moist soils in open woods. Serviceberry as an arrow wood is I don’t know. Native Americans use the wood for arrow and spear shafts. The berries were eaten by Native Americans and were also used when making Pemmican. The berries are also been used for jams, jellies and pies.
Snowberry is a thicket forming shrub with many spreading branches tat can grow to 6’tall and prefers light, sandy soils. It ranges from Alaska through Canada and the Northern United States but is very rare in the Eastern United States. It is most easily identified by its shredded looking bark and white berries. Oter common names are Indian Currant, Waxberry, Wolf-berry, Coral-berry and Turkey-berry.
Snowberry was used by Native Americans in California for arrow shafts, brooms, pump drill shafts and pipe stems. The wood has a large pith core but is light and strong. Parts of the plant and berries contain a substance called Saponins that is toxic. Our bodies to not absorb these Saponins very well but it is recommend that large quanities are not eaten. The same compounds were used by Native Americans to stun or poison fish and made into a body was to kill parasites on wounds.
Sourwood is a tree that can grow as high as 50′ and 12” in diameter. It likes to grow in moist soils in valleys and upland forests. The range is Maryland, west to Southern Indiana, south through Mississippi and East into Georgia. Other common names are Sorrel tree and Lilly of the Valley Tree, which it gets its name from the clusters of white flowers that will grow on the tree. The young shoots can be used to make arrows and the tree is also used to make sourwood honey. Need some wood and arrow qualities
It is a tough arrow shaft material and holds up very good under hard contacts and stump type shooting.
Syringa is the actual name of this shrub but more people know it as Mock Orange. It is a shrub will loose flaky bark tat grow to 10’ in height. Te range of this shrub was through the North Western United States. The wood is hard and strong and valuable for tools making. The two year old shoots were used for arrow shafts used by the Nez Perces and the Spokane Indians. Other uses of the wood were for making snowshoes, pipe stems and Breast plate Armour by some NW Indians tribes. The largest trunks were also cut and used for bows.
Heteromeles arbutifolia – typical plant with fruit red
Heteromeles cerina – yellow fruit
Heteromeles macrocarpa – large red berry
It is a tree shaped evergreen shrub, which usually grows from 6 to 10 feet tall, and every once in a while it can grow to 30 feet. It grows in rocky, well-drained soil in the chaparral thickets of the Southwestern United States. Some of its common names are Toyon, Christmas berry, and California holly. The last two common names come from the red berries that grow on the shrub into the wintertime. Be careful, as I have read it is against the law to cut branches from Toyon as many people cut it as a substitute for Holly in California. The Native Americans in California use it for food and medicine (more specific) and it can be used to make arrow shafts (get more info from Tom Mills).
The Willow family is very diverse and covers most of North America and parts of Europe (Search this). They have been used just about everywhere for arrows but all have the draw back of warping after they have been finished especially when left natural or primitive. Besides being used for arrow shafts Native Americans used the wood was used for bows, baskets, and fish traps due to its flexible wood. I would recommend using another wood for a bow if you can find it but some Canadian Tribes might not have ad access to much else.
All Willows have medicinal uses. They have a compound called Salacin that is closely related to Aspirin. The Native Americans used it to treat toothaches, stomach aches, diarrhea and dysentery. They also ate the tips of twigs and the inner bark if needed to prevent stavation.
Alaska Willow is a shrub to small tree depending on were it grows. It is much sorter the farter north it grows. It has two different varieties with different ranges. It ranges in Alaska and through most of Canada but does not reach far enough south to get to the United States. Another common name for Alaska Willow is Feltleaf or Felt-leaved Willow.
1’ to 3’ tall might be a little small
Bebb Willow is a small busy-topped shrub or a small tree tat will grow about 10’ to 15’ wit multiple stems or trunks. This Willow like water as many other Willows do but is not tolerant or heavy flooded areas or highly shaded areas and grows best in full sun. It ranges from California, Arizona and New Mexico North into the Dakotas and north up the west coast into Alaska and north from the Dakotas in through the Northeastern United States to Newfoundland and in most of Canada. This Willow as many common names which are Diamond Willow, Beak Willow, Beaked Willow, Long-beaked Willow, Smooth Bebb Willow, Chaton and Petit Minou.
I have found archers using tis Willow up in Canada and were pleased with it but made comments about dealing wit it warping some. The wood as been used for many different projects due to the contrast of the white sapwood to the reddish-brown heartwood.
Have to find some references
Booth willow (Salix boothii).
Need to search????
Blueberry Willow is a erect shrub tat will grow between 6’ and 10’ tall. It like moist soils or swamps and will grow most places there is water. The ranges from Central Alaska through most of Canada. The other common name of this Willow is Tall Blueberry Willow. There is another Willow tat goes by Blueberry Willow but is called Low Blueberry Willow and grow 24” or less in height and would be too short for arrows.
Diamondleaf Willow is a multiple trunk shrub that will grow around 6’ in eight and sometimes can grow as high as 15’. It ranges in Alaska, Yukon Territory and Northern British Columbia. Te are tow varieties of this Willow. The first is var. pulchra which grows mainly in Alaska and is rare in the Yukon. And the second is var. yukonensis which grows through the Yukon and into Northern British Columbia. Oter common names are Tealeaf Willow, Tea-leaves Willow, and Thin Red Willow.
Indians ate the leaves of the tree
Drummond Willow is shrub tat grows between 6’ to 13’ tall and as been seen as tall as 20’. It grows is moist to water soaked soils along streams, rivers or ponds. The Range is from the Southern Yukon Territory through British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. The other common names for this Willow are Beautiful Willow and Blue Willow.
Geyer Willow is a large shrub to small tree sometime reaching heights of 20’. It grows in wet areas like along streams, ponds and other low lying wet areas in open stands with sometimes several erect stems or trunks. It ranges from Southern British Columbia through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, California, Nevada and Arizona. The other common name for this willow is Silver Willow.
Gray Willow is a shrub that grows from 4’ to almost 20’ in very good growing conditions. It ranges in Alaska, most of Canada and south through the Rocky Mountains into New Mexico. This Willow grows more parallel with the ground on higher elevations and grows taller and more erect on lower elevations. I have read that when it grows in higher elevations or in artic areas tat it is very hard to tell the difference between Artic Willow. Te Plains Indians tribes are reported to have used this as an arrow shaft material but I have not been able to find a reference as to which tribes used it yet.
Prim archer Kee Wee
Need plant info.
This Willow was reported to be used for Basket making and Bow making. I would think that if it ad enough quality to make bows and small flexible stems for basket making it should have been used for arrow shafts.
Prim Archer Ken Wee
Need plant info.
This Willow was reported to be used for Basket making and Bow making. I would think that if it ad enough quality to make bows and small flexible stems for basket making it should have been used for arrow shafts.
Was used for making arrows but need plant info and all other references.
Witch Hazel is a native shrub tat grows about 10’ to 15’ tall. It ranges from very Northern Florida north to Maine and west to Wisconsin and South to Mississippi. It will grow in most soils but will best in rich, moist, well-drained soils and hardwood forests.
American Indians use it as an eye was to treat infections of the eye and some people in the North East still use it to this day. Te Powhatan Indians used it as and arrow shaft material and to make bows. Most people have heard of Witch Hazel mineral spirits wic is an alcohol extract made from the bark. It is also used to make Divining Rods to search for ground water.
Yaupon is commonly referred to as Yaupon Holly. It is an evergreen that has many branches and will form it’s own thickets. It can grow as high as 20′ to 30’ and sometimes as large as 6″ in diameter. It ranges from Texas and Southern Oklahoma and east to Southern Virginia and Northern Florida. The tree likes open areas to light shade and can withstand drought wet areas and extreme heat. It is sometime easiest to notice by the red berries growing on the branches into the winter.
American Indians used the wood to make arrow shafts. The leaves contain caffeine and the Indians used it medicinally by brewing a tea made from the leaves as a laxative and to induce vomiting.