White Waštémna?!

Yesterday, I went out to harvest this plant that has so many names in Lakota and English — waȟpé waštémna, heȟáka tȟapȟéžuta, wild bergamot, beebalm, elk medicine, Monarda fistulosa. I was surprised to find, in addition to the many magenta flowerheads that were popping out of the hillside to announce their presence, a small numberContinue reading “White Waštémna?!”

Ground Plum/ Ptétȟawote

A few people have asked me about this plant recently. It’s called a ground plum in English. Ptétȟawote, or Astragalus crassicarpus. I believe that the fruit is technically edible, though it was pretty bitter and woody when I tried a ripe one about 4 summers ago at the site of Sacred Stone Camp. The fruitContinue reading “Ground Plum/ Ptétȟawote”

Pȟežíȟota Tȟáŋka: Mosquito Sage

It’s mosquito season here, and the spring floodwaters have given them the ideal habitat for a really prolific year… Not such great news for us warm-blooded mammals. And appropriately enough, the Čhapȟúŋka Oyáte really went after me while I was harvesting this plant. Pȟežíȟota Tȟáŋka, or Artemisia tridentata, is locally called sagebrush, in contrast toContinue reading “Pȟežíȟota Tȟáŋka: Mosquito Sage”

Hupȟéstola — Edible Yucca Flowers!

Did you know that the flowers of Hupȟéstola (Yucca glauca) are edible? They taste kind of like broccoli, but a bit more mild, and with a slight nectar sweetness. I’ve heard of people cooking with them, but I usually just eat them when I’m out on the prairie. I have never managed to refrain fromContinue reading “Hupȟéstola — Edible Yucca Flowers!”

Pšíŋ Šičámna — Wild Onion harvest

April and May are wild onion season on Standing Rock! These native onions may be strong, but they are powerful! Hence their Lakota name — Psiŋ = onion; šičámna = stink/strong (bad) smell. They are one of the early spring plants that come up, abs are recognizable by their stems that are a bit thickerContinue reading “Pšíŋ Šičámna — Wild Onion harvest”

Pšíŋ — domestic onions grown from seed

Some shots from the day I transplanted my onions grown from seed out into the garden. These are onion varieties developed by agricultural scientist Frank Kutka, specifically to meet the needs of the North Dakota climate and storage needs. He calls them Noeth Dakota Red and Yellow Storage Onion, respectively. Due to the onions’ longContinue reading “Pšíŋ — domestic onions grown from seed”