|This product is not currently available. This catalog page is for reference only.|
The North American native water parsnip (Sium suave) is a very similar plant to skirret. The aerial parts would be easy to confuse and even the root of water parsnip, while not nearly as large as that of skirret, has a similar structure and appearance. The flavor is not as sweet as skirret, but is nice enough. It does taste somewhat similar to parsnip. It was used as a staple food by the Okanagan people of Washington and British Columbia. It grows under conditions very similar to skirret, but tolerating even wetter soils. I’m not sure why this isn’t a more popular edible, other than possibly because there are many warnings not to eat it due to its resemblance to the toxic water hemlock (Cicuta douglasii). Mistaken identity isn’t likely to be a problem in cultivation though. We have been selecting for improved storage root size for several years, but they are still quite small. This is basically still a wild plant. I have watched for any evidence that it will cross with skirret and seen none so far. Patience often pays off with interspecies crosses though.
For best results, cold stratify this seed for 30 days before planting. It will germinate without stratification, but it germinates much more quickly and uniformly with stratification.