Staples of pre-Columbian westerners, life saving forage for just-woken bears, Lewis and Clark traded for cakes made of starchy and plain biscuitroot through famished reaches of the northwest. Dig a few up and dirt compacts your fingernails. Put a few in your mouth, they crunch with grit–and it would take a lot to fill up. A stark insight into what it means to ‘live off the land,’ and then, what if that’s all you had to do for the day? It could be worth a try.

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Bigseed Biscuitroot

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Cous Biscuitroot

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Nine-leaf biscuitroot

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Glacier Lily

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Western Spring Beauty

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My personal favorite ‘spring forage’. As light as lettuce, no aftertaste, a flavor as breezy as snow and the color green.

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Everything from grizzlies to ground squirrels are crazy about the little potato-like roots, or “corms”. I discovered this strange cake of spring beauty corms recently, a pocket gopher’s winter cache. Maybe a fox dug him out of the snow before he got to eat it.

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Desert Parsley

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