Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Corn Lily

I love the Corn Lily

 From my first hike when I saw it, early summer at MT Baker years and years ago, on a trail in the fog, early in the morning. 
Was I camping? 
I don't recall if I climbed out of a tent that morning or not, but I have a photo, somewhere of me in my black fleece, and purple and pink hat, walking that trail, happy as a lark.
Light hearted...
whatever weight I had been carrying, put down at some trail head I had never been on before.

I had great hopes for that trail, that path....
we always do.

Life has a way, though, of taking us on detours, doesn't it?
 And there's no recipe for everyone. 
 In Life, One size, doesn't fit all..

Still, here I was again, at MT Baker the other day, at Artist Point, still frozen actually, so didn't re enact that famous hike from 1994, although, I was in the same company.

This time I managed to fall, as I so often do, down this hill, to visit this Corn Lily, and take a few photos, and it was worth a fall.. Anyway, I fall so well!

Corn Lily is a very nurturing looking plant, it catches the eye, with it's beautiful green broad shaped leaves with corrugated surface, that gives a sense of depth as well as expansiveness.
it's feminine in it's appeal, and yet poisonous  at least until after the frost. I am not sure what is done with it or how, but I hear tell it has healing properties for women's issues, and ailments..most recently I read it may be a cure for  pancreatic cancer. They are testing it now.

If it cures this cancer, it is surely, a great nurturer. And a good sign, at that...

Warning Poisonous 

( Scientific name: Veratrum californicum Common name: Corn Lily or False Hellebore
Family: Lily
Color: White with greenish centers.

Description: The 4 to 8 feet tall stalk, and many branching arms, are covered with tightly clustered 3/4-inch flowers with green centers.

Habitat: Wet meadows, creek beds, and drying swamps and marshes.

Toxicity/Edibility: The alkaloids in this plant make it extremely toxic to humans, livestock, and even insects. Ingestion has caused birth defects in animals, and losses in honeybee populations.

Medicinal uses: Historically, corn lily was used as a pain reliever and anti-convulsive (for epilepsy). Native Americans concocted an effective a birth control tea from the roots. Today it is used pharmaceutically to slow the heartbeat and lower blood pressure.

Comments: Because the leaves resemble those of corn stalks and edible "skunk cabbage," corn lily has been eaten mistakenly with fatal results--the alkaloids paralyzing the respiratory system. Native Americans used the juice to poison darts for warfare, and the powdered root made an effective insecticide.)

In The News, on Corn Lily Research for Cancer