There are times when thousands will bloom in a large meadow, giving the entire meadow a bluish caste. Their bulbs were a major food source for the Indians of the Inland Northwest and wars were fought for harvesting rights on some of their major meadows.
Our wildflowers had a good start, but it has been so dry lately that I think the ones that should be starting to bloom now might be damaged. We also had a hard freeze a couple of weeks ago and that must have had an effect too.
Camas was a very important plant in these parts. I don’t know if the Indians still harvest the bulbs or not: I haven’t heard of it. They do still harvest the Bitterroots though and have a ceremony every year for them.
I love that Camas. I looked it up though, and I’ll never see it here in NH. I’ve never seen or heard of midget phlox-apparently that one is a lot tougher to research because there are so many phlox cultivars with “midget” in their name. It’s a beautiful flower and another one that I doubt I’ll ever see here.
I will visit a large natural meadow that I know of to see if the camas are doing well there this year and perhaps get some pictures of them blooming over the large area. It’s quite a sight. The little Phlox seems to be quite common here but the blossoms are so tiny (about 1/8 inch across) that I’m sure they are usually overlooked.
I’ve not heard of Camas – they’re beautiful, and the information about their value as a food crop and the trading practices of the various tribes is fascinating. I always have to allow a little extra time for your site – I’m getting my geography, history and anthropology along with the flowers!
The stories of the plants that grow here tie so many things together and show the natural relationships that existed between the plants, the animals and our species. The more I lear about them the more respect that I have for the tribes that were native to this area. I really think that those old Indians had more knowledge of the flora and fauna than we will ever have. They respected nature and related to the flow of it, blended into it instead of trying to dominate it. Today we are blinded by our arrogance.