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.

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.

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.

harvesting fruit with seed of Pacific crabapples, ḴÁ,EW̱ [SENĆOŦEN], Malus fusca, for ecological restoration and indigenous food sovereignty

Harvesting fruit for planting seed of Pacific crabapples, ḴÁ,EW̱ [SENĆOŦEN], Malus fusca, on the first day of autumn, 2020 September 22, Beaver Point, Salt Spring Island * P1010021

ḴÁ,EW̱ [SENĆOŦEN], Pacific crabapples, Malus fusca, is an important fruit tree throughout the North Pacific region and is recorded from Sequoia National Park in California, mainly along the Pacific coast, to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula (Routson, Volk, Richards, Smith, Nabhan and Wyllie de Echeverria 2012). The extent of the far western extent of this species in the Aleutian Islands remains poorly charted.

Given that Malus fusca sometimes hybridizes with other wild and landrace species in the primary gene pool of cultivated apple, there are a number of east Asian species near adjacent coasts spanning Alaska, Far Eastern Russia, Japan, Korea and China including M. floribunda, M. baccata, M. mandhurica, M. asiatica, M. komarovii, and M. sieboldii. And with aerial pollination some alleles and genotypes move around the North Pacific region — especially along and close to areas with mild maritime climates. And many of these gene flows are vulnerable to climate change and urbanization.

reference
Kanin J. Routson , Gayle M. Volk, Christopher M. Richards, Steven E. Smith, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria. 2012. Genetic Variation and Distribution of Pacific Crabapple. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 137(5): 325–332.

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

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

Seeds of ḴEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule, six weeks from maturation as the land dries in early summer

2020 July 4 ḴEXMIN @ Lək̓ʷəŋən lands, Vancouver Island P1010019
2020 July 4 KEXMIN @ Lək̓ʷəŋən lands P1010060

This field of ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, is in an urban park in Lək̓ʷəŋən territory and has been spared one of the most serious contemporary threats to northern populations of this species: excessive deer browsing due to predator suppression.

2020 July 4 ḴEXMIN @ Lək̓ʷəŋən lands, Vancouver Island P1010022

On the 4th of July, 2020, the land is drying out for the summer, the thick stalks of this carrot species have gone fully erect and the swollen green seeds are beginning to turn red and tan and desiccate. These seeds are roughly six weeks from being fully maturing and beginning to blow away and be harvested for Salish ceremonies.

 

 

 
 

 
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A wild bee harvesting pollen from the bloom of a wild rose, Rosa cf nutkana, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island

2020 May 26 bee pollinating Rosa cf nutkana, Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park * P1010129



Larger pollinators often depend on larger flowers. In this case, a relatively large wild bee is harvesting pollen, and perhaps nectar, from this wild rose — just after the peak total spring pollination of most prolific native pollinators on the Gulf and San Juan Islands.

buzz pollination of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, by wild bees

Environmental researcher, Dominic Demers on buzz pollination by wild bees of thimbleberry, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island, 2020 May 15 * P1010150


Environmental researcher Dominic Demers on wild bee buzz pollination of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus

ḴEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule: the medicine and food

2020 May 6 ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, in a Lekwungen field, in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, Vancouver Island P1010160

ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, is a powerful flowering plant linking humans to the ecosystems in which we live in the drier areas near the West Coast of North America from Northern California to the Salish Sea.