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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dicoria canescens T. & G., an Aboriginal Food Plant in the Arid West


The subspecies of Dicoria canescens discussed in this paper are widespread in the Arid West, ranging from northwestern Sonora and southwestern Arizona through the California deserts, north to Churchill County, Nevada, and east into Utah (Abrams and Ferris 1960[IV]:144). In view of this distribution, and in consideration of the data from the Coachella Valley, it would seem probable that Dicoria has been a much-overlooked aboriginal food source that was of considerable importance in eastern California and at least the southern part of the Great Basin, as well as regions to the southeast. It would have been particularly important when foods traditionally stored for winter use (such as pine nuts and mesquite beans) were in short supply.

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