ḴEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule, a species with deep cultural, medicinal & nutritional significance to Salish communities

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN, south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands P9240014 photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

 
 
 
 
 
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blooming ḴEXMIN, late spring in Lək̓ʷəŋən Territory, Vancouver Island

2019 2019 May 27 Lomatium nudicaule just beginning to flower, Lək̓ʷəŋən territory, Vancouver Island P1010022

Two of the most important Salish plants just coming into bloom: ḴEXMIN (yellow flowers) and camas, Camassia spp, in a traditional Lekwungen agricultural, gathering, and stewardship site, 2019 April 25 Lək̓ʷəŋən territory, Vancouver Island P4250100

ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, just south of the  1852 Indian Reserve line set (under severe threat of imperial violence) for the W̱SÁNEĆ, north of Island View Beach, Central Saanich, Vancouver Island

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN, south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands, Vancouver Island  P9240083

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN, south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands P9240017

“One ceremonially prized plant, ‘wild celery’ (Lomatium nudicaule), was, and is still today, widely used and sought for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, and its seeds used as gifts. Some contemporary Northwest Coast peoples are careful to leave wild celery seeds behind, or to scatter seeds (when gathering medicines) to ensure it’s continuation, and this seems a likely candidate as a species that was managed and whose range has been extended through past human intervention. This attribution of a ‘spirit’ within all of nature’s creations, and of the powers of plants to affect human lives and human well-being, is another reflection of, and reason for, peoples’ stewardship of the plants they depend upon…” (Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. Conclusions. in Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner (eds). Vancouver: UBC Press / Seattle: University of Seattle Press. pages 331 – 342. quote from pages 334 – 335 )

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands P9240028 This population is highly vulnerable to ongoing sea level rise and saltwater intrusion into roots.

In addition, the 2020 COVID19 pandemic has compelled herbalists to highlight the exceptional power of Lomatium  species as traditional and settler medicine for treating lung and viral disorders.

Gulf Islands snails on the run in a heat wave

2021 August 8 cf Pacific Sideband snail, Monadenia fidelis, Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island * P8080017

Two snails were studied on August 8, 2021 in the Hwmet’utsun conservation area on the wild West Coast of Salt Spring Island in the territory of Cowichan Tribes. After a six week heat wave, linked to climate change, it can be assumed that the native snails of the Gulf Islands could have a difficult time surviving. These two snails could be out and about because there was light rain 36 hours before and there were droplets of rain under the otherwise dry arbutus leaf litter. These snails are probably the most common native snail on the Gulf Islands, the Pacific sideband snail, Monadenia fidelis, but there is a possibility that the second video is of a much rarer, Puget Oregonian snail, Cryptomastix devia (which has a pronounced, curled-up lip on the aperture of the shell). Along with hotter temperatures and more erratic rainfall patterns, native snails are vulnerable to terrestrial acidification from pollution sources nearby and across the North Pacific.

a sign that it’s summer: Fragrant blooms of the West Coast species of mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii

2021 June 23 mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii @ KEXMIN field station P6230002
a sign that it’s summer:
This is the bloom of the West Coast species of mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii, nestled with a seven year old ĆEṈAL̵Ć, Garry oak, in the research garden at KEXMIN field station. W̱SÁNEĆ elders knew of uses, for the strong, narrow branches of this shrub, for making things. Mock orange this far north sometimes grows into fragrant trees that grow up to more than 3 metres in height.
2021 June 23 mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii @ KEXMIN field station P6230005

dwarf rose, ḴEMI [SENĆOŦEN], Rosa gymnocarpa flower, ĆUÁN

ḴEMI,EL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN] with the flower just ‘ḴEMI’, Rosa gymnocarpa * 2021 June 3 * P1010005

flower power: ḴEMI,EL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN] with the flower just ‘ḴEMI’, Rosa gymnocarpa on the ridge above and east of Fulford Creek, ĆUÁN, 2021 June 3, with the petals and hips traditionally eaten for spiritual and corporeal purification and greater strength. This is one of the three species of wild roses that grow around the Salish Sea with this species, the only one of the three with spines as well as sometimes thorns, extending south to the mountains of Baja California.

celebrating Earth Day through learning from black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, especially its importance to pollinators & ecological persistence across western North America

2021 April-21 black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, in a grove adjacent to KEXMIN field
station that has been re-establishing for several decades after a century of intensive goat
and sheep grazing P4210007

For the second year in a row, we are celebrating Earth Day at KEXMIN field station, on the Gulf Islands of south-western Canada, through learning from black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN] / Metth’unulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Crataegus suksdorfii, one of a number of disappearing native fruit trees. This species currently grows from northern British Columbia and Haida Gwaii to northern California and then across the Rockies to Lake Superior. We have much to learn about how these trees persist, recolonize and can be protected and better restored including through field research combined with social strategies rooted in contemporary culture.

Renewing biodiversity conservation planning strategies as part of joint management with First Nations especially for the drier islands around the northern Salish Sea.

Gordon Brent BROCHU-INGRAM, KEXMIN field station, April 9, 2021, The Land We Would Like To Be: Renewing biodiversity conservation planning strategies as part of joint management with First Nations around the northern Salish Sea. City and Regional Futures Colloquium, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

fruit of black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Crataegus douglasii, a week after the peak of sweetness

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010040

An important traditional food tree, black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Crataegus douglasii, (in Canada, Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii) is also ecologically important especially for the nectar and fruit. One of the few seaside areas where this species grows on the Northwest coast of North America is the Gulf and San Juan Islands where this fruit tree established in drier times with colder winters. Consequently, this species was more important to indigenous communities east of the Coast Range.

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010009
This area appears to have been heavily bulldozed twenty to forty years ago with the tracks
collecting sufficient water, on this sunny, south-west facing site, to allow this mesic, wetland
edge species to get established in this early seral stage of succession.

MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Crataegus douglasii, (in Canada, Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii), is one of two black hawthorn species on the Gulf and San Juan Islands. This, the smaller species, generally produces more accessible fruit and grows in mesic (damper) areas in drier regions.

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010012

This beautiful small tree is highly adaptable to urban and other degraded landscapes but so far has been rarely used in Coast Salish food sovereignty, permaculture and ecological restoration initiatives.

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010039

Wasps pollinating mid-summer blossoms of snowberry, PEPKIYOS ILĆ[SENĆOŦEN], P’up’q’iyasulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Symphoricarpos albus

2020 August 10 wasp pollinating snowberries, Salt Spring Island

On the Gulf and San Juan Islands in August there are few blooming plants aside from a few asters and some other forbs. So for native wasps, mid-summer blossoms of snowberry, PEPKIYOS ILĆ[SENĆOŦEN], P’up’q’iyasulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Symphoricarpos albus, are a major form of sustenance. In fact, on powerlines near this thicket of snowberry, a large wasp nest has been constructed just in a few weeks.

2020 August 10 wasp pollinating snowberries, Salt Spring Island P1010004

2020 August 10 wasp pollinating snowberries, Salt Spring Island P1010004

In efforts to restore native ecosystems on the Gulf Islands, snowberry has often been overlooked for supposedly being ‘invasive’. Snowberry is an edge and early seral species that will move into native grass and forb lands. But snowberry is part of a group of low precipitation, interior species, more associated with today’s Prairie provinces on the east side of the Rockies. Soon after the last glaciers receded from these lands, possibly as early as over 14,000 years ago, these landscapes, perhaps not all islands as they are now, were dominated by grassland and lodgepole pine woodlands — mostly likely with large thickets of snowberry regularly shaped by large mammals such as mammoth, mastodon, and bison.

2020 August 10 wasp pollinating snowberries, Salt Spring Island P1010003
2020 August 10 wasp pollinating snowberries, Salt Spring Island P1010010

a large grove of chokecherry, tuluµulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Prunus virginiana, with fruit a week before the peak of ripeness & blooming vines of the native clematis, Clematis ligusticifolia

2020 August 6 chokecherry a week before peak of ripeness, Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island P1010099
2020 August 6 blooming native clematis on Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island P1010072
trunk of old chokecherry tree with sapsucker holes, Hwmet’utsun,
Salt Spring Island 2020 August 6 P1010013

This grove of chokecherry, [cf tuluµulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ with this word sometimes also used for bitter cherry], Prunus virginiana, on Hwmet’utsun on Salt Spring Island, was visited on August 6, 2020 with fruit (drupes) a week before the peak of ripeness. This area has a long history of Cowichan stewardship and harvesting that has only be partially obstructed in the last half century.

2020 August 6 blooming native clematis Hwmet’utsun P1010030

This exceptional chokecherry woodland, similar to communities in the southern Puget Sound on more mesic and wetland edges of Garry oak woodland, has a subdominant vine, western white clematis, Clematis ligusticifolia. This native West Coast clematis is rare in the mid and north parts of the Salish Sea. At its northern margins , this species rarely occurs on the coast and is associated with areas of hotter, drier summers in the British Columbia Southern Interior.

2020 August 6 chokecherry on Hwmet’utsun P1010063
2020 August 6 a sunny afternoon in one of the North-West Pacific coast’s rarest woodland types dominated by relatively old, dominant chokecherry trees on Hwmet’utsun P1010020

Chokecherry is an important element of local efforts at food and medicinal sovereignty and has exceptional value in ecological restoration of more mesic, south-facing sites as well as well as sunny sites on the edge of wetlands.

2020 August 6 chokecherry a few days from peak ripeness on Hwmet’utsun P1010120

a week from the peak of ripeness, the fruit (drupes) of chokecherry, SC̸ET̸EṈILĆ [W̱SÁNEĆ], Prunus virginiana

2020 August 3 chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, Ruckle Provincial Park * P1010001

Chokecherry, SC̸ET̸EṈILĆ [W̱SÁNEĆ and also used for bitter cherry], Prunus virginiana, is the only wild fruit tree in Canada that is native to every province and territory. On the Gulf and San Juan Islands, this small tree, that sometimes grows to over 10 metres, is a keystone species for numerous pollinators, birds, and humans.

2020 August 3 chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, Ruckle Provincial Park * P1010016

A crucial food and medicine for hundreds of indigenous communities in the northern half of North America, this species is so under-valued in settler horticulture that plants are rarely available in commercial nurseries. Fortunately, the pits are often highly fertile and at an experimental farm plot operated by ḴEXMIN field station, trees planted from drupes just four years ago are already over 2 metres in height and flowered for the first time this spring.

2020 August 3 chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, Ruckle Provincial Park * P1010016