Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wildflower Identification

Before I left for the Sandhills last week I decided one of my projects when I returned home was reorganizing the "office". When I moved back in this house 7+ years ago, I intended to fix it up (it had been a rental for 6 years), and after I had lived here long enough to not give it to the government in the form of capital gains taxes, I would move into a house I liked better. As a result, in this room, I kind of just threw stuff in here, and in the intervening years I have just built on that poor beginning. I had cords and wires going every which way, and it was impossible to vacuum around the perimeter of the room, which has created a mess of its own.

Well, this reorganization has turned into a major project. The worst part is because of other commitments, I haven't been able to devote more than a couple of hours a day to the project, so it's turning into a weeklong job. I'm nearly done, and I'm really pleased that with the way I now have things set up, there is only one cord that will go more than a few feet, and there won't be layers and layers of them snaking all over the room.

During one of my breaks today I started trying to id some of the wildflowers that I had photographed last week. This is a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. Isn't it beautiful?

larger image

One of my favorite wildflower identification sites had this to say about it:

Rocky Mountain bee plant was an important food source for Native Americans in the Southwest. The leaves were boiled and used for greens (like spinach) and cooked in meat stews with wild onions and celery. The seeds were cooked, dried and used in mush and were also used to make bread.

Native Americans also used the plant medicinally. They would take a tea made from the plant for fevers and stomach disorders and use a poultice of crushed leaves soaked in water to treat sore eyes. They also steeped the leaves and used the liquid as a body and shoe deodorant.

A black paint made from the plant was used to decorate pottery.

I have often wondered how the Native Americans discovered the best usage for plants.

I only saw this wildflower at Ft. Niobrara NWR.

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