Editble Camas and Zygadenus, was Re: Help with S. Baja bulb ID

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Fri, 24 Nov 2006 10:34:19 PST
On 23 Nov 06, at 14:55, Arnold Trachtenberg wrote:

> With apologies to Overseas members, which bulbs, corms, rhizomes,
> tubers can one enjoy with a traditional Thanksgiving feast?

Camassia esculenta. Delicious steamed... if, that is, you like 
library paste!

Comment on eating camas: the local Indians (Coast Salish immediately 
around Victoria) are always described as roguing Zygadenus venenosus 
out of their camas fields when it was in flower -- the Zygadenus has 
poisonous bulbs that are visually indistinguishable from camas bulbs.

Most, perhaps all, of the references I've seen imply that Zygadenus 
looks like a white-flowered camas, but it doesn't. The flowers are a 
dirty yellowy-greeny color and the arrangement of the inflorescence 
is very different from camas of any species.

Likewise, the seed capsules are completely different.

It's time to put to bed the myth and misunderstanding "death camas is 
just like a regular camas, only with white flowers."
Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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