Chocolate Lily, BC Coastal Region
When hiking around on the BC coast, It is always a pleasure to run into a patch of the chocolate lily flowers, They are such a pretty flower. They are quite numerous in the forests of the coast and grow in great numbers on the south coast.
It is a herbaceous perennial flower that grows up to 1.25 meters high. It grows from white bulbs that resemble small, rice grains and usually flowers in the spring. The flowers of the plant are similar, in shape, to those of the harebell, in that the flowers hang from a tall stem. The flower has six petals that are a purple to brown color with spots of green.
This lily was first recorded in Oregon. It is native to the Pacific Northwest and is found from California to as far north as the outer coast of British Columbia.
It likes a habitat of open woodland, meadows, coastal grasslands and thickets. You can find them in great numbers on south facing areas where there is a small creek or wet area, look in grassy areas between bluffs.
It was used as a food by the coastal first peoples. They boiled or steamed the roots of the chocolate lily for immediate consumption or for drying and storing for the winter months. The cooked roots of the chocolate lily were usually mashed into a paste.