Native Region: Haida Gwaii
Zone Range: 4-9
Preferred Climate: Full to semi sun; damp well draining humus sandy soils
Harvest Date: Monday 10 September, 2012
Seed count: 20-25
On hip high sturdy stems clusters of nodding bell like flowers coloured darkest purple on the interior, but exterior varies from bright solid pea green, green and black streaks, to near black depending on the plant. Glossy leaves. Soil is humus rich sand that could be moist near year round...great around ponds or damp spots. Found growing with salal, spruce, and sedge grass. Extremely wide distrubution range from Japan to BC courtesy of natural dispersal when Beringia landbridge existed. E-Flora BC (http://www.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/) says the growing sites can range from dryish to wet.
Once used as food for First Nations hence its common name 'rice-root' for its rice like bulblets that sprout off the main white root/bulb. Too precious to sample myself, but I've been told that the texture of raw bulblets is like raw potato but nutty in taste...'I'd definitely put it on a salad!' was one claim. Can be eaten raw or cooked. Shallow rooted...can be dug up via your hands!
Needs cold stratification to germinate. Best when fall sown or baggie sown in the fridge for a few months. Soak seed for 24 hours then sow shallowly but with some mulch or grit to anchor the seed down otherwise they're liable to migrate to the surface and dry out. Keep moist and keep cool (but don't let it freeze). Germinates in cool conditions. Best when sown in containers and don't disturb for 2 years before transplanting out. Rice like bulblets easily fall off main bulb so best to transplant when the pot has firmed up via freezing in the fall/winter/early spring. Just decant the entire pot and seat.