Clasping Twisted Stalk

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Clasping Twisted Stalk, Vancouver Island, BC
Clasping Twisted Stalk, Vancouver Island, BC , Photo By Bud Logan

The Clasping Twisted Stalk was used as a food plant by the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest and as a medicine. The tender young shoots of this plant were eaten by the First Peoples as a salad green. The entire plant is sweet with a cucumber-like flavor. The berries are juicy and sweet, with a cucumber-like flavor.

The plant was referred to by early settlers of the Pacific Northwest coast as the wild cucumber and as scoot berries for the mildly laxative effects of the plants’ berries if they are eaten in excessive quantities.

The juice of the berries was used as a soothing treatment for burns by coastal First Nations. Clasping Twisted Stalk has a superficial resemblance to False Solomon’s Seal, however, Clasping Twisted Stalk produces auxiliary flowers and fruits along the stem, where False Solomon’s Seal produces a terminal inflorescence.

Also, False Solomon’s Seal is always a single stem while Clasping Twisted Stalk can be branched at the bottom.

Clasping Twisted Stalk is easily identified by its large, juicy red berries which grow from each leaf axil and boldly contrast the surrounding foliage, and the berries are highly visible, even in the thickest undergrowth.

When I was a young man, just learning the ways of the forest. I always enjoyed finding this plant. When you chewed on a stem and tasted the cucumber flavor, it was not only tasty but helped cure thirst as well and the berries are sweet and tasty.

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