Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Thu, 29 May 2003 06:55:16 PDT
Dear All,

A number of year ago I remember reading an interesting study in Fremontia 
about Dichelostemma capitatum. I have searched everywhere for it, but I 
must not have kept it. I am afraid to trust my memory on this so accept 
this as only a memory which may have been distorted over 
time.  Dichelostemma capitatum was a major food source for Native 
Americans. In a book I have for plants used by Indians of my county it is 
listed as being eaten raw, but sweeter when cooked in ashes. Since it 
offsets a lot each year they would dig them up, take the larger ones and 
replant the smaller ones. This system worked very well.

They were discouraged from continuing to do this by the settlers. In the 
article someone had decided to do an experiment many years later. Not being 
able to use them as food had been a great hardship and this person was 
interested in determining who was correct about whether digging them would 
hurt the bulb population. They were grown for a number of years (I can't 
remember how long). In one bed they were left to grow and in the other some 
were removed and the little one replanted as the Indians would have 
done.  At the end of the experiment both plots were dug up and  then number 
of bulbs counted. Now for the results I really need the article. What my 
recollection is was that there was a big increase in both populations and 
that digging them had not been a detriment at all and maybe even 
contributed to a healthy population. Does anyone else who might be a CNPS 
member remember reading this article and have it handy?

Are Alberto, Jane, Lauw, Diana, and I the only ones growing this genus? 
(And Doug Westfall who has a picture on the wiki). Anyone else willing to 
share your experiences?

Mary Sue 

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