Quote of the Week, Perhaps a Bit Longer

"The biological community is a vast and complicated system for sharing and distributing the energy of the sun among a diversity of life forms." ~Martson Bates

4/7/10

Yellow Bells

Yellow Bell

A couple of weeks ago Dan and I went to several places around the ranch to fix fences. I had never fixed fence before, so it was fun learning how to do it. While we were fixing fences I kept an eye out for any interesting wildflowers. We of course saw lomatiums, both Nevada bisuitroot (Lomatium nevadense) and Raven's Lomatium (Lomatium ravenii), which are all over the desert this time of year.

Lomatium nevadense

See the difference? Lomatium nevadense (left) next to a Lomatium ravenii (right)

We also saw beautiful little Yellow Bells (Fritillaria pudica), which are a new find for me. I have never seen a Yellow Bell in the wild before, so it was very exciting. When we first saw them I said "Hey Dan, look at these cool little yellow bells!"--not know what they were. When I looked them up at home, I found that my impromptu name (Yellow Bell) was quite accurate and is actually one of its common names.

The Yellow Bell belongs to the lily or Liliaceae family. It has an erect stem with lance-shaped leaves and can grow to be about 4-12 inches tall. The flowers are yellow and they nod towards the ground. They are also shaped like a bell, hence the common name, Yellow Bell.

The bulbs of the Yellow Bell are edible and are quite tasty. They can be eaten raw or cooked and can be a nice addition to soup. However, it would take killing many of these beautiful little plants to create a meal. Personally, I think it would be a shame to kill large amounts of this lovely little plant to eat, unless it's absolutely necessary.

Yellow Bell flower head

Fritillaria pudica

Remember, if you are going to pick wild food from nature try to take less than 10% of what is there. That way the population can sustain itself and you and future generations can continue picking wild edibles for years to come.

Also, beware that many plants in the lily family are quite poisonous and eating them can lead to death. Many lilies can look quite similar when they are young. Please take great care and have a solid grasp of plant identification skills before you ingest any wild plant material.

4 comments:

danwinnemucca said...

yummy though, all that talk about edibleness is making me think of watercress!

I could definitely tell the differences between the lomatiums too, thanks for educating me!

Leslie R said...

I was wondering if you knew, or have heard of Finisia Medrano? She's been living in the desert for 26 years eating bread root and camas.

Renee said...

Leslie, No I haven't, but I just googled her name and she sounds very interesting, I would like to learn more of her travels and her experiences. Thank you for Pointing me in her direction.

Anonymous said...

call me? this is finisia 5414034304