xáwéq (Wild Carrot)

The wild carrot is a perennial plant which produces a cluster of small white flowers and an abundant root cluster. The leaf is finely broken up, much like a fern frond . This plant is found in dry, open clearings, and in rocky terrain. Near Harrison Lake and Chehalis, the wild carrot grows near the water.

The wild carrot is harvested in the early spring, prior to flowering. The harvester would carefully remove the larger portion of the root of the plant, after unearthing the root with a digging stick, and leave the smaller portions of the root to continue to grow for the following seasons. Wild carrots are a pale white colour and can be mistaken for water hemlock, which is toxic; when pulled, the wild carrot smells like contemporary orange carrots-the water hemlock does not. To prepare the carrots, the roots are boiled or steamed, similarly to the carrots purchased in a market today.

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