Garry oak, Quercus garryana, leaf on Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island – This is an important tree species in drier parts of the West Coast, is sometimes a dominant in the Pacific Northwest, and ranges from south-western British Columbia to north-western Mexico. In some indigenous territories, including on Salt Spring Island, the acorns were gathered for food and processed in pits — with a suspected processing site roughly a kilometre and a half to the north of this site near the site of the Cowichan village of Xwaaqw’um at the south end of Burgoyne Bay.
ḴEXMIN is one of the traditional names, in SENĆOŦEN one of the score of Salish languages, for one of the most important regional medicinal & ceremonial herbs, with the Latin binomial of Lomatium nudicaule. There are similar words for this species in other Salish languages, and different though related spellings. ‘ḴEXMIN’ is thought to be an early word in the Salishan languages from which contemporary Salish language originated. The ‘ḴEX’, often spelled with with a ‘q’ in other languages, is thought to mean ‘hex’ as in negative forebodings. And the ‘ḴEX MIN‘ suggests a negation, removal, and cleansing of such current or future scourges. There is a broad renewal in engagement with ḴEXMIN as a symbol of renewal, healing, and intercultural conversations.
2008 May 25 Lomatium nudicaule on a roof garden above Vancouver Harbour
2008 May 30 Lomatium nudicaule, Vancouver
2008 May 30 Lomatium nudicaule with window & Vancouver Harbour
2004 June 21 Lomatium nudicaule forming seed at Belly-Rising-Up, at the south-east corner SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout) treaty lands, Central Saanich. The seeds in late June are green and powerful. The seeds mature and dry-out in August and are gathered for ceremonies and medicine.
Lomatium nudicaule flowers that become seeds
Lomatium species are native to the West of North America and mainly occur in drier, interior areas. The San Juan and Gulf Islands, of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound, are the only region where these plants occur as part of terrestrial-marine interface ecosystems. And the northern margins of Lomatium species are on the Gulf Islands.
2017 August 11 * Collecting ripe seeds ḴEXMIN (Lomatium nudicaule) at the beginning of ĆENŦÁWEN-COHO SALMON RETURN TO THE EARTH — in Beacon Hill Park, south-eastern Vancouver Island
The main office of KEXMIN field station is a kilometre north of the Salish village of W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ that was a mixing place for speakers of two Salish languages: SENĆOŦEN and HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’. In the 1860s, the village included three lodges and a number of large wooden sculptures that were purchased and removed by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. We celebrate this place of confluence, fusion, and innovation.
2014 May 8 Camassia leichtlinii after the 2009 lightning fire midway up Hwmet’utsum at the north end of Mount Maxwell Provincial Park adjacent to Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve * photograph by castle & ingram
This camas, Camassia leichtlinii, a major Salish food plant, is quickly disappearing from Salt Spring Island’s Hwmet’utsum (Mount Maxwell) a historic Cowichan gathering, cultural burning, and management area. Two factors for the disappearance of camas from protected areas in the area is predator suppression leading to extremely high levels of deer browsing and fire suppression which is contributing to Douglas fir trees growing shading out Garry oak meadows. This small population was re-establishing after wildfire (that probably stimulated seed germination) in the 2009 June 12 – 15 burn area. Unfortunately, this particular clump of camas was browsed to their roots a few days after this photograph was taken and blooms on this site have not been seen since.