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Basketry; Lighting; Paper; Strewing; String; Thatching; Weaving.
Stems are used in basket making, thatching, weaving mats etc. The stems can also be dried then twisted or braided into ropes for tying or binding.
Stems can be peeled (except for a small spine which is left to keep them upright) and soaked in oil then used as a candle.
A fibre obtained from the stems is used for making paper. The stems are harvested in late summer or autumn, they are split and cut into usable pieces and then soaked for 24 hours in clear water. They are then cooked for 2 hours with lye and beaten in a blender. The fibres make an off-white paper. When mixed with mulberry fibres they can be used for making stencil paper.
The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb.
Used for making rush baskets.
Used as wrap in open twined baskets that functioned as sieves and closed twined baskets that were used to stone boil various foods. Also, used for various special mats in the household.
Candle rush got its name because the pith was used as a wick in oil lamps (see show-case). It was the children’s job to make the wicks for the oil lamp. The oil was extracted from cod liver. This was before the introduction of the wax candle! In the Sogn region, Candle rush was a marketable article.
The straw was slit with a fingernail, and the white pith was scraped out from the base towards the tip of the straw. The pith was then stretched out and dried (see show-case). Just before the wick was used, it would be left with one end dipped into the oil to soak it up.
The straws were also used by children to make little baskets, chairs, swans and other toys.
Often you can see Candle rush and Compact rush left as tussocks on pasture land, as the animals don’t eat them. Nowadays, these plants are not known to be used for any purpose. Maybe you know of something?
Candle rush grows in waterlogged soil that is poor in oxygen, and has an inner, porous pith as an air duct. It is difficult to distinguish Candle rush from Compact rush. Both were called ’wick grass’ in Sogn.