Salish fruit tree species of the Gulf & San Juan Islands

edible drupes of chokecherry, Prunus virginian a, above Fulford Harbour, just west of the historic Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 9 – 11 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Salish fruit tree species of the Gulf & San Juan Islands

Around the Salish Sea, there were more than six native, tree species that have been harvested and often carefully cultivated and stewarded for fruit, technology, and medicine. These orchards and respective cultivation practices span a rich set of Salish communities and languages. By ‘fruit tree’, we describe a relatively small deciduous tree that has been maintained by families and communities. With heights ranging from a meter and a half to three meters, these trees were often kept low in order to stimulate fruit production and allow for ease of picking (and more often through shaking with sticks). For some Salish fruit species, cultures and sites, orchards were maintained through planting of seed, transplanting, pruning, and light burning.

fruit of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 11 & 12 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca

Of all of the fruit trees around the Salish Sea, this indigenous crabapple produced the most food and provided crucial amounts of carbohydrates and vitamins. Crabapples were eaten raw and preserved in water or eulachon oil in cedar boxes. And of the five, indigenous North American apples, only Malus fusca, is in the primary gene pool of the cultivated, Eurasian apple. Malus fusca grows near the coast of the North Pacific from central California to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and possibly to Hokkaido. Nancy Turner (2014: 59, 65) went as far as suggesting that this species was spread by early human migrants and consistently collected information from informants confirming that crabapple “[t]rees [were] tended pruned, lopped, and transplanted” (Turner 2014: 189).

blossoms of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 11 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Perhaps more than any of the other native fruit tree species around the Salish Sea, crabapple trees were “owned” (Turner 2014: 189) often passing from mother to daughter. And in some North-West Coast indigenous cultures, Pacific crabapple was considered a particularly powerful plant central to a complex conception of transformative twigs (as in the cuttings and vegetative propagation so central to Salish horticulture) leading to magical expansions of life into entire ecosystems for human benefit (Turner 2014: 344). In turn, crabapple orchards or ‘gardens’ were often well maintained and pruned.

edible drupes of chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, above Fulford Harbour, just west of the historic Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 9 – 11 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana

This species of cherry tree is native to every province and territory in Canada. This particular cherry is relatively rare on the Pacific coast largely confined to the Salish Sea. Along the Pacific coast, from Salt Spring Island southward, this species is associated with better-watered sites in Garry oak woodlands and savannahs with this species, though perhaps a different subspecies, reappearing again near marine shorelines in Mendocino County, California.

blossoms of chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, above Fulford Harbour, just west of the historic Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 20 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

This, the most bountiful of the cherries of north-western North America, has close Eurasian relatives extending to Western Europe. Around the Salish Sea, chokecherry were widely harvested, traded (Turner 2014: 124), and tended (Turner 2014: 189). Chokecherry bark was a crucial ingredient in a number of medicinal decoctions (Turner 2014: 437). Distinct varieties of this species were recognized by some Salish communities. So far, the specimens recorded around the Salish Sea have been consistent with the North-West Coast subspecies, Prunus virginiana ssp. demissa.

blossoms of black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

 

blossoms of bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata, Beaver Point Road just north of North Ridge Drive 2017 May 5 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata

“The fruit of this ‘bitter cherry’ tree was not widely harvested but its wood was prized for knife handles and its bark was crucial for basket weaving” (Turner 2014: 124).

 

buds of Crataegus douglasii var douglasii about a week before blossoming at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Two species of black hawthorn

On the Gulf and San Juan Islands and other areas around the Salish Sea, there are two distinct species of black hawthorn:

blossoms of Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii just above the tide-line at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 6 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii

and

blossoms of Crataegus douglasii var suksdorfii along Burgoyne Bay Road near the main provincial park parking lot, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii

that is often considered a separate species in the United States as, Crataegus suksdorfii.

First Nations around the Salish Sea harvested the fruit and stewarded two species of Black hawthorn (Turner 2014: 272). “The dry sweetish fruits were eaten by the Island Salish groups, usually in the early fall. The Songhees ate them with salmon roe (Boas, 1890).[Turner & Bell]”

buds of Crataegus douglasii var douglasii about a week before blossoming above the beach just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 6 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii  is often more associated with the mainland and interior of British Columbia, which occurs more often as a large shrub with some tree forms on the Gulf Islands. In contrast, the island subspecies or species of Black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii (with a distribution more centred on the coast), is more often in a taller, tree form. The label Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii corresponds to a species identified in the United States including for the San Juan Islands as Crataegus suksdorfii differentiated as a distinct species because “It is diploid versus tetraploid for Crataegus douglasii.” As well as subtle but consistent differences in the leaves of these two black hawthorn species, a simple differentiation can be made by examining the centre of a blossom. The flowers of “Variation douglasii” nearly always have 10 stamens with ovaries that are more often hairy whereas the flowers of “Variation suksdorfii” have 20 stamens and the ovaries are usually smooth.

 

California hazelnut, Corylus cornuta var. californica

California hazelnut occur near the West Coast of North America from California to Alaska and are closely related to Eurasian hazelnut species that occur as far west as north-western Spain. Within the populations on the North-West Coast of North America, there were two subspecies. The involucral ‘beaks’ attached to the nuts of Corylus cornuta var. cornuta are twice as long as the actual fruit / nut. In contrast, Corylus cornuta var. california fruit are attached to involucral beaks that are half that length and roughly the diameter of the sometimes  larger fruit (that might be the result of indigenous domestication, stewardship, and ecosystem management).

Hazelnut was transplanted on the BC coast (Turner 2014: 203 – 204) and groves were sometimes managed through burning (Turner 2014: 198). Hazelnut were sometimes transplanted (Turner 2014: 365). There are records of historical orchards in northern areas such as the lower Skeena Valley that well into the twentieth century were defended by First Nations who asserted dietary dependence, ownership and stewardship. Around the Salish Sea, records of significant groves are for sites near indigenous settlements and historical population centres. On the Gulf Islands, a significant record of ‘wild hazelnut’ was around Beaver Point Hall on Salt Spring Island just above the Tsawout / mixed Saanich and Cowichan village on the island’s south-east shore.

 

Along with chokecherry, two other species are common in many interior regions of British Columbia and further east in Canada, and are thought to have been more common around the Salish Sea before 5,000 b.p.

 

 

blossoms of Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia, bove the beach just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station
blossoms of Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia, bushes adjacent to some Garry oak woodland above the beach just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia, was transplanted by some First Nations in the region (Turner 203 – 204) as late as the early 20th Century.

 

Soapberry, Shepherdia canadensis,  is thought to have been more common on the Coast and more important dietarily than it is now (Turner 2014: 140 – 144). Along the coast and in the interior, soapberry patches were “maintained by landscape burning, bushes pruned, berries scattered” and “occasionally transplanted” (Turner 2014: 191)

a cultivated European apple tree, Malus sylvestris, planted at what is today Ruckle Provincial Park in the late 19th or early 20th century; around these old trees are second and third generation, ‘volunteer’ apple and pear trees, that most likely have hybridized with the adjacent Salish crabapple trees, Malus fusca, which is the only North American Malus species that can cross with cultivated Eurasian apple crops 2017 May 5 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

circumpolar Eurasian hybrids

All of the Salish fruit tree species, aside from Saskatoon berry and soapberry, are part of circumpolar gene pools with millennia of relationships with human beings and domestication processes — on both sides of Beringia. But there are some distinct differences between each side of the North Pacific. Nearly all of the petals of the Eurasian domesticates are one and a half to twice the size of the North American species. Another general difference between ‘wild’, traditionally stewarded, and indigenous, North American and domesticated and Eurasian, primarily north-western Europe, sides of those gene pools is this simple dichotomy:

aside from the Island species of black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii / Crataegus suksdorfii, which blossoms simultaneously with slow leafing, the North American native fruit trees nearly always leaf-out a week or two BEFORE blossoming

while

the Eurasian domesticates nearly always produce blossoms before they leaf out.

And on the Gulf Islands there are circumpolar hybrids where blossoming and leafing are more simultaneous such as a probable,

hybrid of native bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata, and introduced, north-western European blackthorn or sloe, Prunus spinosa, that began to reproduce without cultivation starting in the twentieth century on Salt Spring Island, where blossoms and fruit begin with a double cluster several inches from the end of each branch like bitter cherry, with petals large like a European domesticate, and blossoming and leafing relatively simultaneous.

***

The Turner 2014 references above refers to the most definitive survey, so far, of indigenous tree crops in British Columbia:

Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Volume One is also crucial for understanding the human relationships with these species of fruit trees.

a blooming grove of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 11 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native, Salish fruit trees

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lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana” installed in Vancouver at Station & Terminal, late October and early November 2016, photograph by Alex Grünenfelder

 

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native fruit trees

host
City of Vancouver Public Art Program

 

initial posters in the ongoing ‘Nearly Lost’ project

4 different posters installed in 20 bus shelters with the poster dimension 47.25 inches x 68.25 inches.

 

installation & locations
October 10 to November 7, 2016 (with locations attached)

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authorship
castle grünenfelder ingram (Julian Castle, Alex Grünenfelder, and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram with this project involving conceptualization by all three artists, research, photographing, and initial design conceptualization by Grünenfelder and Brochu-Ingram, text by Brochu-Ingram, and final designs and electronic conveyance by Grünenfelder)

castle grünenfelder ingram is a collective of three working on the cusp of public art, urban design, sustainability transitions, and intercultural conversations especially around First Nations legacies in public space and local territories. Only working together for two years, our individual work in Vancouver goes back decades along with other projects and installations in Kamloops, New York, London UK, Seoul, Geneva, and Prince George. As one of our projects, we coordinate KEXMIN field station, on Salt Spring Island, as a centre for research and learning spanning traditional indigenous knowledge and contemporary science for environmental planning, ecological design, public art and other forms of contemporary cultural production with a focus on the Salish Sea and its Gulf and San Juan Islands between the mainland of the North American West Coast and Vancouver Island.

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castle grünenfelder ingram, 2016 Nearly lost poster #3 kwu7upay Pacific crabapple Malus fusca, installed in Vancouver at Commercial & Adanac, late October and early November 2016, photograph by Laiwan

 

text from project proposal

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native fruit trees We propose large 2D imagery especially at bus stops, with video loop installations also possible for the video screens, of fruit and blossoms of several of the native fruit trees that have existed and continue to survive in the City of Vancouver — and that are of continued interest for First Native use, stewardship, and cultivation. Low resolution photographs would be enlarged, slightly saturated, and ‘montaged’ with educational text in English, Halkomelem (Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim (Squamish) along with other widely spoken languages, and botanical Latin. For the 2015-2016, we would be able focus on making a number of montage posters celebrating two of the most common native fruit trees and more extensive Salish orchards, Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, and chokecherry, Prunus virginiana ssp. demissa. Both of this crabapple species and this subspecies of chokecherry are limited to coastal ecosystems in BC, Alaska, and Washington State.

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text on posters
four different posters with large type with,

1. lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

2. t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

3. ḵwu7úpay (with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

4. qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

Along with the following headings is the following text for respective poster:

1. lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

One of the Salish names for chokecherry is lhexwlhéxw in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Downriver dialect of Halkomelem language.

2. t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

One of the Salish names for chokecherry is t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim language.

3. ḵwu7úpay (with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca One of the Salish names for Pacific crabapple is ḵwu7úpay (with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim language.

4. qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca One of the Salish names for Pacific crabapple is qwa’upulhp in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Downriver dialect of Halkomelem language.

2016-sept-kwu7upay-crabapple-castle_grunenfelder_ingram

For the two posters on chokecherry, there is the following text: Chokecherry has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver.

For the two posters on Pacific crabapple, there is the following text: Pacific crabapple has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver. For the two posters on chokecherry, there is the following text: Chokecherry has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver. For the two posters on Pacific crabapple, there is the following text: Pacific crabapple has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver.

2016-sept-qwaupulhp-crabapple-castle_grunenfelder_ingram

All four posters have the following text: This species is being studied at KEXMIN field station, a centre for conversations spanning traditional indigenous knowledge, modern science, and contemporary art — a project of castle grünenfelder ingram (Julian Castle, Alex Grünenfelder and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram). The following text was provided by the City of Vancouver: Commissioned as part of the series Coastal City for the 25th Anniversary of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program Vancouver.ca/platform2016

media
Inkjet printer on paper photographing
The photographs in the attached images of the posters were photographed jointly by Alex Grünenfelder and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram. All of the photographs of the posters installed in the bus shelters were taken by by Alex Grünenfelder.

fabricators / suppliers
OUTFRONT MEDIA Decaux in cooperation with
the printer, LinxPrint, as service-providers to the City of Vancouver

2016-sept-telemay-chokecherry-castle_grunenfelder_ingram

 

castle-grunenfelder-ingram-2016-nearly-lost-poster-3-kwu7upay-nanaimo-e-3rd-img_0348

castle grünenfelder ingram, 2016 Nearly lost poster #3 kwu7upay Pacific crabapple Malus fusca, installed in Vancouver at Nanaimo & East 3rd, late October and early November 2016, photograph by Laiwan

 

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castle grünenfelder ingram, 2016 Nearly lost poster #4 qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca, installed in Vancouver at King Edward & Ontario, late October and early November 2016,  photograph by Sally Ogis

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ripe chokecherry, thuxwun [Halkomelem], Prunus virginiana, above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island

 

2016 August 12 chokecherry Grünenfelder & Ingram IMG_0049

ripe chokecherry, lhex̱wlhéx̱w & thuxwun [Halkomelem] above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island photograph by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram 2016 August 12

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0472

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0471

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0443

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0431

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0378

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0249

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0143

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0047 copy

4 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0476

3 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0579

2 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0446

1 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0573

0 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0563

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0379 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0435 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0584

bibliography: 6. decolonising permaculture

À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu: Decolonising permaculture: The greatest adversity comes from forgetting

blossoms that will become the fruit of Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 6 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

bibliography heading

compiled project biographies:  2017 June 22 bibliography À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu

  1. decolonising permaculture

Altieri, Miguel A. 1995. Agroecology: The Science Of Sustainable Agriculture (Second Edition Paperback). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Benner, Ron. 2008. Gardens of a Colonial Present / Jardins d’un Present Colonial. London, Ontario: London Museum.

Francis, Robyn. 2015. What is permaculture? Nimbin, New South Wales Australia: Djanbung Gardens. http://www.permaculture.com.au/articles/social-permaculture/art-activism-and-permaculture.html

Marques, Pedro Neves. 2015. SUPERCOMMUNITY – Look Above, the Sky is Falling: Humanity Before and After the End of the World. e-flux journal 56th Venice Biennale (Apocalypsis, May 23rd 2015—Day 14). http://supercommunity.e-flux.com/texts/look-above-the-sky-is-falling-humanity-before-and-after-the-end-of-the-world/

Mbembe, Achille. 2001. On the Postcolony. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mollison, Bill. 1979. Permaculture Two: Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture. Stanley, Tasmania: Tagari Publications.

Mollison, Bill. 1988. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. Stanley, Tasmania: Tagari Publications.

The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. 2009. 13 Attitudes. As part of The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination’s 9th Experiment: C.R.A.S.H: A post capitalist A to Z. London: The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. http://www.labofii.net/docs/13attitudes.pdf

Turner, Nancy J., R. Gregory, C. Brooks, L. Failing, and T. Satterfield. 2008. From invisibility to transparency: Identifying the implications. Ecology and Society 13(2): 7. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol13/iss2/art7/