First Peoples

Beautiful Biscuit Root

High above Kalamalka Lake, it is gathering time.P1760015


Biscuit Root

In this old garden of sacred stone (I found an elderly Syilx couple sitting in their car, staring at this, reading it intently) …


… I found a flower I have never seen before in this grassland.


It likes shade and well drained slopes, in the till above the scree that biscuit root finds so desirable. It’s mighty handsome, especially before it fully opens.


Hydrophyllum tenuipes, Pacific Waterleaf

The rhizomes and leaves were also greens. It makes sense in an old roadside garden like this, surrounded by many old campfire rings. I’m pretty sure this was an old gathering camp and that people, not so dazzled by huge romantic lakes as people are these days, spent many weeks here in the spring of each year, with a small stream below, deer in the hills…



… and a view of this…



Well, without the highway. Ancient trails would have led to that image of birth though, and the winter village below. They still do, even though the old trail would have followed the water.


And the biscuit root still grows, although, as I figure it, women took one look at sacks of Hudson’s Bay Company Flour back in the day and realized that it was a lot easier to scoop up a cupful of that stuff and make bannock than it was to pound roots for half a morning. Still, the food is here.



The guy who ran the chipper that did this…



Even lifted his blade to leave it behind.



Wouldn’t you?

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