mariposa lily

by underswansea


I feel I’ve grown up with the mariposa lily. It grows wild on the grassy banks above the creeks.

The bulbs are said to be crisp and sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked.

When I was a youngster we were told never to pick them, because they are endangered. I remember a story about my older brother, proudly taking a handful to my mother, who ran the presses at the newspaper, while a bunch of higher up, environmentalists watched in disgust.

Back then environmentalists and developers portrayed themselves as the same. I guess some things never change.

My mother took them put them in water and thanked her oldest young son. Later we were, gently told not to pick them again.

Livestock find them delicious, and along with expanding development, the reason the are endangered.

A few years ago a developer/builder espousing  the highest environmental standards came and plowed under the last of the mariposa lilies growing within district limits.

The ten year old in me wondered why I’d listened to my mother and hadn’t picked and eaten them sooner.

They are still listed as endangered.

The Ktunaxa name for this once important food source is nasayit.