Ethnobotany: The Inquiry is Not Over


Living World Educator

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First Peoples House by Nick Kenrick is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

On land there is an abundance of resources of plants that the First Peoples harvested, cultivated and used for their technologies.  Purple Camas root was one of the most important plants on the coast, especially on the south of the island, and has been named the “’number one’ vegetable.’  The people gathered large roots for eating and left the smaller bulbs for future harvests.  They had to be very careful not to mistake it for the poisonous white camas because the harvest time is after the flower dies at which time the two species look very similar.  40-50 types of berries were harvested which provided nutrients, cleansing for the mouth and helped with digestion.  Just as we prune vegetation, the berry harvest by the aboriginal people encouraged new growth of the plants.  It has also been found that…

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