Koeleria cristata syn. K. macrantha
family: Grass (Poaceae)
naesetsévó'ėstse, "blessing plants" (Hart 1981: 10; Glenmore and Leman 1984: 186)
Prairie Junegrass is perennial, tuft-forming, up to 1 m tall grass. Leaves are to 20 mm wide and 20 cm long. Inflorescence is a panicle. It blossoms in June and July. After seeds are ripen, whole plant become yellow colored. It grows on sandy and calcareous soils, along roads, in sunny pine forests; to 1800 m altitude. Prairie Junegrass ranges from eastern Alaska to Labrador, Maryland, Alabama, Mexico, and California; also in eastern Montana and Caddo County of western Oklahoma. It grows in all territory of the Czech Republic too.
Among Cheyennes, the most important use of prairie Junegrass was in the Sun Dance Ceremony (hestȯsanestȯtse or hoxéhevȯhomó'hestȯtse). Flowering culms was collected quite short (about 20 cm) and Sun Dance instructors damped them in their mouths. Then they blew them upon the shoulders and feet of the dancers. It should transfer to them further supernatural strength. The dancers also stuck Junegrass in headband or wreath. They wore it at the back of their heads. It protected from weariness. Junegrass is used as a paintbrush for painting of participants of the ceremony too (Hart 1981: 10). According to William Tallbull (1993: 28), the Sun Dance Ceremony begin until Junegrass and milkweed (Asclepias sp.) come into flower.
A mixture of prairie Junegrass, red clay, silverleaf Indian breadroot (Psoralea argophylla syn. Pediomelum argophyllum), and unspecified "yellow plant from Oklahoma" was used for cuts (Hart 1981: 10).
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