"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Wild Recipes



Wild Hyacinth--Nameless Beauty 
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Scifres

Many a year ago I was mushroom hunting in one of my favorite woods and ran across a good friend. As we moved through the woods talking I mentioned that I would like for my friend to see something very pretty--a wildflower.

Arriving at the spot where I had discovered this raging beauty, my friend exclaimed: "It is beautiful  . . . what is it?"

" I don't know what it is," I said, but I found it yesterday . . . and shot some pictures . . . perhaps some day I can tell you what it is, but for now I am satisfied just see it."

That night, when my mushrooms had been processed and were safe in the frig, I went to my den and opened my Peterson Field Guide To Wildflowers. In a matter of minutes I had learned that I had stumbled onto a wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides).

Sitting there marveling at the picture of this beautiful, powder-blue, six-petaled flower that made me think of a head of wheat, I wondered if knowing common and scientific names of this showpiece of nature could somehow change the value I had attached to it.

The answer to that question came immediately: Certainly not. It was the beginning of my realization that the wonders of nature are so many . . . so beautiful . . . and so interesting that one does not have to be able to attach as common or scientific names to these jewels to enjoy them.

Sure, it is nice and impressive to walk through the woods and recite for yourself or a companion the names of the wild things we see, but putting a name to a wildflower, bird, tree or animal should be secondary to enjoying and respecting these works of the Creator.

But knowing the common and scientific name of this beautiful flower has not changed the value I have assigned to it one iota. It still is one of the most beautiful, most interesting, wildflowers I have ever been privileged to see. And this becomes patently apparent in my mind when I realize that my rambles in the woods over the years have not put me eyeball-to-eyeball with another of its kind.

For many springs thereafter, I returned to the spot that was etched in my mind; until, at length, the spot became somebody's lawn. I never saw this flower again, there or anyplace else.

Some day, if I am lucky, I will see the wild hyacinth again. But if and when this happens, this gem of the wild will be no more important to me than it was when it was nameless.

This thinking is, of course, reflected daily in the spring as legions of mushroom hunters, nature lovers, and those who adhere to many other forms of outdoor recreation, take to the woods.

Sure morels are great, and so are the other edible forms of nature's bounty. But they don't have to have a name, nor do they have to be edible, to be integral parts of this place where we live . . . planet earth.

ON DOG TRAINING [Note to Readers: This column was written on May 3, 2004.]

The Joint Advisory Council of the Department of Natural Resources handed the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) a measure of comeuppance recently when the wildlife agency sought approval of the panel for its plans to regulate hunting dog training and trial events off state fish and wildlife areas and reservoir properties.

The DFW, which has been trying to weasel out of allowing such hunting-dog activities for several years, sought approval of the advisory group with a proposed rule change before taking their plan to the DNR Commission. But the wildlife agency took a sound thrashing when it garnered the vote of not a single panel member.

The word from the top: This proposed change is at least temporarily dead. This doesn't mean it won't come back because the anti-hunting dog element of the DFW is still very much intact.

Click on thumbnail photo for enlarged view.

wildhyacinth.JPG (14632 bytes) wildhyacinth1.JPG (51333 bytes)
Closeup of the wild hyacinth flower (color)
A full length b&w shot of the plant 

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Scifres Family, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page