Dichelostemma congestum

Ookow

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Description

A tenacious wildflower sending up a lone stem 2-3 feet tall, topped with a dense cluster of purple, somewhat bell-shaped flowers. A few thin, grass-like leaves surround the base, each with a crease running down the middle. Circling the center of each flower is a series of split “teeth,” lending it the name fork-toothed ookow or snake lily (for how the teeth resemble snake tongues). Ookow looks a lot like its close cousin, Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum), but blooms later and has six stamen with anthers instead of three. Ookow was, and still is, an important food for indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, as the corms can be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted.

Full Latin Name
Dichelostemma congestum
Synonyms
Brodiaea congesta