Secwepemc name: elkékllp, e7lkekllp (lit. “little kinnikinnick plant”)
The small, sweet, delicately wintergreen-flavoured white berries were well known to Secwepemc elder Mary Thomas, who recalled that her mother used to gather big bags full of them from boggy meadows at Salmon Arm. Mary Thomas noted, “When you break the berries open, they are so sweet. People used to pick them into little containers and they were a prized treat.” The berries were gathered in summer, dried and stored for use during the winter.
The berries and plants were also used to make a tea, which was drunk and used to bathe in, especially for pregnant women. The tea and bathing solution mentioned above also had medicinal properties. Women were given the tea to drink after childbirth. Also, when a woman was carrying a child, she bathed in this solution, “because of the moon cycles.”
Ecological requirements: Grows in moist areas; at the edge of clearings; at forest margins. Most common in valley bottoms and wetlands.