Glen Evans:
The Compleat Naturalist
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WAX MAKING

 
The candelilla plant by Glen Evans

The Candelilla plant, Euphorbia antisyphilitica, grows widely in southwest Texas. This member of the spurge family was once a valuable source of carnauba wax. Glen's photographs capture the artistry of the process, taking us from the plant to the wax.

The beautiful red and white flowering branches are part of a short, stubby plant. Each stem is round and leafless, and resembles a rush. They range from 30 to 60cm in length.

The candelilla bush by Glen Evans
Mule family by Glen Evans The plants are collected by hand and loaded onto mules
Strapping the candelilla plants by Glen Evans
Forking the bundles by Glen Evans Saddled mule ready for loading by Glen Evans
Careful alignment of the stems and effective knot work make it possible to stack large volumes of Candelilla onto each mule Piling the bundles on the mule by Glen Evans
The hondo knot by Glen Evans Weighed down with candelilla bundles by Glen Evans
The hand-made rope and 'hondo' knot is shown to the left
The candelilla harvest:

Glen views Texas
with the eyes of an artist

Harvesting the candelilla by Glen Evans
 

Stoking the fire and skimming the wax by Glen Evans

The woody portions of the plant are used for the fire which is set below the large metal vat. The vat is filled with water and the stems - the wax bearing parts of the plant - are boiled.

The candelilla vat by Glen Evans

Skimming the wax by Glen Evans

The wax rises to the surface of the liquid, and is skimmed off and stored.

This candelilla wax vat, shown to the right, was acquired in 1983, from the Adams ranch, near Marathon, Texas, by the Museum. 

A few months later, the vat was actually used in an outdoor demonstration of the wax-making process.     

Candelilla vat at the Museum TMM 2472-1 Wax Vat