American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several bulbous plants of the genus Chlorogalum of western North America, having small white or purple flowers. The edible bulbs of several species, especially C. pomeridianum, produce a soapy lather when crushed.
- n. Any of various plants having parts used as soap.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of several plants whose bulbs serve the purpose of soap; particularly, the Californian Chlorogalum pomeridianum, of the lily family. It is a stout brownish plant, from 1 to 3 feet high, with long linear leaves and a spreading panicle of white flowers. The bulb, which is from 1 to 4 inches thick, when divested of its coat of dark-brown fibers, produces, if rubbed on wet cloth, a thick lather, and is often substituted for soap. Also called
soap-appleand soap-bulb, and, together with some plants of a similar property, by the Mexican name amole. Zygadenus Fremontii, also Californian, is another soap-plant.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) one of several plants used in the place of soap, as the Chlorogalum pomeridianum, a California plant, the bulb of which, when stripped of its husk and rubbed on wet clothes, makes a thick lather, and smells not unlike new brown soap. It is called also
soap apple, soap bulb, and soap weed.
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