April 17, 2021

canyon larkspur

canyon larkspur

It was warm and sunny here this week, so Bodhi and I took a few good long hikes and found a patch of canyon larkspur, a beautiful native flower. Orange is one of my favorite colors, and I really love it when these start to pop up every April.

canyon larkspur patch

When I went to Wikipedia to find out a little more about these beauties, I noticed that they were used by the Yuki Native Americans as a narcotic. That tidbit of information led me down a fascinating internet rabbit hole where I found a 1902 US government document called "Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California."

Every plant around these parts seems to be included along with information about what they were used for long before settlers came and stole this land from the Yuki. I spent all afternoon reading it and another document I found, a UC Berkeley study from the 1940s on Yuki culture.

I learned so much about the lives of the people who lived on this land up until the 1850s when the Mendocino War cruelly ended their culture and most of their lives. The Yuki may have been one of the original inhabitants of California. Their language was like no other, and it saddens me to think of all that they suffered at the hands of the settlers of this area. Reading these documents helped bring some of their culture to life for me, and I hope you enjoy them too.