Elizabeth Girdharry ’22: Book IX, Chapter XXXIII (Of the Tree Called Damahagua and Certain Tree Barks Used for Ropes and Cord)

Book IX, Chapter XXXIII

Of the tree called damahagua [seaside mahoe or Thespesia populnea] and certain tree barks used for ropes and cord.

Translated by Elizabeth Girdharry ’22

The tree called damahagua is very common and abundant on this and other islands and the Mainland. The wood is not good, nor is its fruit, but harness makers use the bark to make very good ropes, halters, and hobbles for horses and other things, as long and thick as they want; it is even used to make rigging for small ships. On this Island of Hispaniola they use tree bark to make a thin cord and string called daguita; this is the best type of cord, used for espadrille sandals, hammocks and other things, and it is stronger than henequen and fique. There are other colorful trees on this Spanish island called xagüey (in the language of Haiti); the bark from this tree, which they give the same name, is also used to make sandals, ropes and other things. They also have a lake they call xagüey or Jaguey.

Image: Drawing of rope from Henry Bushby’s Manuscript dated to the early 20th century.