Category Archives: Ethnobotany

Elk Clover

A plant known as ‘elk clover’ (a funny name as the leaves look nothing like clover, but perhaps it got the name from the general shape of its flowers) or ‘California spikenard’ is a forb found in shady forests near … Continue reading

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Pineapple weed

Image of pineapple weed above from Pineapple weed is commonly found in ‘weedy’ places in North America – in parking lots, well trod paths, and similar places.  It is part of the Aster family & its scientific name is Matricaria … Continue reading

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Manzanita Hanis and Milluk Coos:  bi Galice Creek Athabaskan: tʌnʌ´sh Chasta Costa Athabaskan: tʌhʌ´sh Siletz Athabaskan: dee-nvsh The common manzanita of western Oregon is Arctostaphylos columbiana, and closely related to kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).  It’s a member of the heath family … Continue reading

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Pitcher plant, part 2

Some time ago I wrote that the Coos Bay people broke off the top part of the Darlingtonia pitcher plant as a quick cup when out hunting.  I stumbled on a note today in Harrington that at least some Southwestern Oregon Athabaskan … Continue reading

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

The carrot family (Apiaceae) has many plants useful to humans, such as carrots, parsley, fennel, and dill.  It also happens to contain some poisonous plants.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, if it leads a person to confuse a … Continue reading

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Alien asters: salsify and chicory

It’s spring, and it seems like everything is blooming – including (in some places, especially) weedy exotics.   Today we’ll talk about a couple of invasives from the Aster (sunflower family).  Purple salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) is also known as goatsbeard … Continue reading

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Yellow sand verbena part 2

Yellow sand verbena and root, Pt Reyes CA So a while back I wrote about how I suspected that yellow sand verbena is the mysterious “Coos turnip” that grew in the sand dunes and had sweet roots.  The only ethnological literature … Continue reading

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Carnivorous Cobra Lily

Darlingtonia californica is the scientific name for a carnivorous plant commonly known as the cobra lily or pitcher plant that can be found along the coast from California to British Columbia. If you are interested in the weird biology of cobra … Continue reading

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Black Huckleberries

Chinook Jargon: shot ‘úlalɪ Tillamook: sdzadzách’ Alsea: ɫkáq’a Siuslaw: táxxai, ch’eixan Hanis Coos: q’áxas (black); pasásɪya’wa (blue colored berries) Milluk Coos: q’as Upper Coquille: dashtl’æchuh The coastal black huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum, were (and are) a popular food for Oregon coast … Continue reading

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Red Elderberries

Red elderberries, Sambucus racemosa, is one of several elderberry species in North America (other species having blue or black berries) and are in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. Hanis Coos: mahá’wai Milluk Coos: txai Upper Coquille: ránsæ Tillamook: húkitu=the berries; húkitáwi=the bush … Continue reading

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