Howell's Tritelia (Triteleia Howellii) is a native plant species that can be found in British Columbia, Canada. It is a member of the Asparagaceae family, and it is a perennial herb that grows from a bulb.
Howell's Tritelia is typically found in moist meadows, grassy slopes, and open forests, particularly in coastal areas. It blooms from April to June and produces clusters of pale blue to purple, star-shaped flowers on stems that can reach up to 60 cm in height. The flowers are around 2 cm wide and have six petals with white stamens in the center.
The leaves of Howell's Tritelia are narrow, grass-like, and can grow up to 40 cm in length. They are usually present at the base of the stem and may be slightly twisted or curved.
Howell's Tritelia is an important part of the local ecosystem, as it provides habitat and food for various animals, such as bees and butterflies. It also has cultural significance for some Indigenous communities in the area.
However, like many native plant species, Howell's Tritelia faces threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change. Conservation efforts are being made to protect this species and its habitat.
Is Howell's Tritelia Edible?
There is no evidence to suggest that Howell's Tritelia is edible, and it is not commonly consumed by humans or animals as a food source. In fact, some parts of the plant, such as the bulb and leaves, may be toxic if ingested in large quantities.
It is important to note that it is generally not recommended to consume wild plants or mushrooms without proper identification and knowledge of their potential toxicity or edibility. Consuming wild plants can be dangerous and may lead to serious health consequences. It is always best to consult with a local expert or guidebook before consuming any wild plants.
Population sizes and trends
Triteleia howellii has been collected at 12 sites in Canada, all of which are located on southeastern Vancouver Island. Nine of the twelve sites have been confirmed since 1997, while the status of the plants at the remaining three sites is unknown and the populations are likely extirpated. Population areas range from small (1 m²) to over three or four hectares, while plant numbers range from a single plant to over 450 plants.
Limiting factors and threats
The most direct and immediate threat to Triteleia howellii is habitat destruction. The Quercus garryana communities that are limited to the southeastern side of Vancouver Island and some of the Gulf Islands have been heavily urbanized. The suppression of fire and the spread of introductions has also been a limiting factor. One of the most devastating introduced species is Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom), which has become a dominant shrub on xeric, exposed sites throughout much of southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Furthermore, dispersal into new sites is likely limited and some of the populations of T. howellii contain very few plants and could be at risk of inbreeding depression, genetic drift and loss of fitness.
Special significance of the species
Triteleia howellii occurs in a unique ecosystem in Canada, the Garry oak woodland, which itself occurs within a limited habitat type, the Coastal Douglas-fir zone of southeastern Vancouver Island, several islands in the Gulf of Georgia and a narrow strip of adjacent mainland in British Columbia. The Garry oak ecosystem is a unique habitat for Canada and is at the northern limit of the vegetation type that occurs more commonly to the south. The northern limit of the species also occurs in this region. The importance of these peripheral populations, especially with respect to their genetic characteristics, has yet to be studied adequately. The bulb-like corms of this species are edible and like other related species may have been used by native peoples as a food source.