Friday, April 27, 2012
Grape Hyacinths (genus Muscari)(above) and the Camas Lilies (Camassia quamash) (below) are starting to bloom too, providing a beautiful contrast to the luminous greens of the new grass. In a few days the intense royal blue of the Camas will thickly carpet the mossy hillsides of the Garry Oak ecosystem that is preserved at Highrock Park. Now we prize them for their beauty but Camas Lilies were an important food source before European colonization in this area. These dense stands of Camas are the result of selective cultivation and harvesting of the bulbs of these plants by the local native peoples (the Songhees Nation or Lekwungen) in the past. The bulbs were dried and ground into a kind of flour that could be stored and eaten later.