Home Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History Home
Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

cow parsnip

The following entries were written in Columbia County, Washington.

Capt. Lewis, May 2, 1806--the three young men of the Wallahwollah nation continued with us.   in the course of the day I observed them eat the inner part of the young and succulent stem of a large coarse plant with a ternate leaf, the leafets of which are three loabed and covered with a woolly pubersence.   the flower and fructification resembles that of the parsnip this plant is very common in the rich lands on the Ohio and it's branches the Mississippi &c.   I tasted of this plant found it agreeable and eat heartily of it without feeling any inconvenience.

Capt. Clark, May 2, 1806--The three young men of the Wallahwallah nation continue with us in the course of this day.   I observed them cut the inner part of the young and succulent stem of a large corse plant with a ternate leaf, the leafets of which are three loabes and covered with woolly puberscence.   the flower and fructification resembles that of the parsnip.  this plant is very common in the rich lands on the Ohio and its branches.   I tasted of this plant found it agreeable and eate hartily of it without feeling any inconvemance.

Moulton notes:

The ethnobotanical note concerning the Walulas eating the inner part of the young stem of the cow parsnip is significant, because the outer layer of the stem that is stripped away contains toxins. With the outer layer removed, the stem may be safely eaten. Hitchcock et al., 3: 535; Kuhnlein & Turner.

 
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice