Where is Pocahontas when we need her?

Diana Chapman rarebulbs@suddenlink.net
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 17:50:54 PDT
Zigadenus blooms much earlier than Camassia, in northern California it 
blooms in March, Camassia a couple of months later.  The flowers, of 
course, and also the seed pods are different, so I was told they could 
identify them by the seed heads, and would dig down to get the right 
bulb by only digging those they could identify, and would also remove 
the very toxic Zigadenus.  I haven't seen them growing together, I have 
only seen stands of one species but they both like the same moist 
growing conditions.  I have actually cooked Camassia for a presentation 
to Native American children and they ate them.  They tasted like very, 
very starchy potatoes when they were steamed, but were usually cooked in 
pits very slowly where the starch would convert to sugars, then they 
were dried and stored flattened like a cookie or ground into a meal.

I looked it up and camas is a Nez Perce word, so maybe we should name 
one after Chief Joseph who famously led his people on a 1400 mile escape 
from the military before their final defeat.

> Off on a tangent... I read somewhere that Zigadenus (Toxicoscordion) was systematically weeded out by some Native American tribes when it grew in close vicinity to Camassia. The bulbs must look similar, since the plants are so different in flower.
> I've never tried camas, but I've heard it's nutty. Some seed growers sell seeds and bulbs along with tomatoes, squash, and other vegetables. I've tried it from seed, but germ was low for me and my three tiny bulbs look like they've rotted.
> Diana Chapman (Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:52:37 PDT)
> "I believe that 'camas' is a Shoshone or Nez Perce word also, giving us
> the name of the genus Camassia. Camassias were a very important staple
> to these tribes." -Diana
> Travis Owen
> Rogue River, OR
> amateuranthecologist.blogspot.com
> http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list
> pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
> http://pacificbulbsociety.org/list.php
> http://pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/

More information about the pbs mailing list