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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

edible thistle

The Captains wrote about this plant during the winter at Fort Clatsop -

Capt. Lewis, January 21, 1806--The root of the thistle, called by the natives shan-ne-tah-que is a perpendicular fusiform and possesses from two to four radicles; is from 9 to 15 Inces in length and about the size a mans thumb; the rhind somewhat rough and of a brown colour; the consistence when first taken from the earth is white and nearly as crisp as a carrot; when prepared for uce by the same process before discribed of the white bulb or pashshequo quawmash, it becomes black, and is more shugary than any fuit or roots that I have met with in uce among the natives; the sweet is precisely that of the sugar in flavor; this root is sometimes eaten also when first taken from the ground without any preperation; but in this way is vastly inferior. it delights most in a deep rich dry lome which has a good mixture of sand. the stem of this plant is simple ascending celindric and hisped. the root leaves yet possess their virdure and are about half grown of a plale green. the cauline leaf as well as the stem of the last season are now dead, but in rispect to it's form &c. it is simple, crenate, & oblong, reather more obtuse at it's apex than at the base or insertion; it's margin armed with prickles while it's disks are hairy, it's insertion decurrent and position declining. the flower is also dry and mutilad. the pericarp seems much like that of the common thistle. it rises to the hight of from 3 to 4 feet.

Capt. Clark, January 21, 1806--The root of the thistle called by the nativs Chan-ne-tdk-que is pirpendicular and possesses from two to 4 radicles; is from 9 to 15 inches in length and is Commonly about the Size of a mans thum the rhine Somewhat rough and of a brown Colour; the Consistence when first taken from the earth is white and nearly as Crisp as a Carrot, when prepared for use by the Same process before discribed of the white bulb or pash she quo, qua-mosh, it becomes black and is more Sugary than any root I have met with among the nativs; the Sweet is prosisely that of the Sugar in flavor, this root is Sometimes eaten when first taken from the ground without any preperation, in this way it is well tasted but soon weathers and becoms hard and insipped. it delights most in a deep rich moist lome which has a good mixture of Sand- The Stems of this plant is Simple ascending celindric and hisped. the root leaves, posses their virdue and are about half grown of a deep Green. the Cauline leaf as well as the Stem of the last Season are now dead, but in respect to it's form &c. it is Simple Crenated and oblong, rather more obtuce at it's apex than the base or insertion, it's margin armed with prickles while it's disks are hairy, its insertion decurrent and position declineing. the flower is also dry and mutilated the pericarp seems much like that of the Common thisde it rises to the hight of from 3 to 4 feet.

Capt. Clark, January 22, 1806--The root of the thistle (described yesterday) after undergoing the process of Sweting or bakeing in a kiln is sometimes eaten with the train Oil also, at other times pounded fine and mixed with Cold water, untill reduced to the consistancy of Gruel; in this way I think it verry agreeable.

Capt. Lewis, January 24, 1806--The root of the thistle after undergoing the prossess of sweating or baking in a kiln is sometimes eaten with the train oil also, and at other times pounded fine and mixed with could water untill reduced to the consistency of sagamity or indian mush; in this way I think it very agreeable.

 
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