Nature Notes


Mr. E.C. Solinsky
Mr. Earl U. Homuth
Acting Park Naturalist
September 1, 1929. Vol. II, No. 3

This is one of a series of bulletins issued monthly during the summer season, by the staff of the Educational Division to give information on subjects of interest concerning the Natural History of Crater Lake. It is supplemental to the lectures and field trips conducted by the staff.

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For copies which are free, address the Superintendent or Acting Park Naturalist.

An Indian Legend
By Earl U. Homuth

Many of the prominent cliffs above Crater Lake bear names derived from Indian legends. In 1885, William G. Steel obtained several legends from Allen David, then Chief of the Klamaths. Llao Rock The stories were not disclosed without some persuasion. Allen David at first refused to divulge any information. A new silver dollar casually seemed to arouse his interest, and a second silver dollar, which to him represented a new trinket, proved to be too great a temptation, and when once he started to talk it was with some difficulty that he was prevailed upon to stop.

According to one legend, many years before the white man came to the region, a band of Klamaths hunting in the forests came upon a lake set deep within a hollow in the mountains. Recognizing it as an abode of the gods they passed silently down the slopes of the mountain and camped far away. One brave, however, returned. He camped upon the very edge of the precipice, slept till morning, then arose and joined the tribe far below upon the mountainside. Again he returned, and each visit bore a greater charm. Voices, mysterious and strange, emanated from the waters. After many moons this brave descended to the water, remained for the night, and again returned to his tribe. Thereafter he spent many night on the lake shore. On these occasions he saw wonderful forms (Llaos, or minor gods) similar to a Klamath Indian except that they lived entirely in the water.

A strange influence came upon this Indian; he was more hardy and stronger than any member of the tribe. Older warriors sent their sons for the strength and courage which were gained by his experience.

On one occasion the youth who first came to the water's edge captured and killed one of the monsters of the lake. Immediately he was overpowered by countless others who carried him to the great rock which stands above the west shore. His throat was cut with a stone knife and his body torn to pieces and hurled into the water, where it was devoured by other angry Llaos.

While relating this story to Mr. Steel, Allen David held his hands before him, palms inward, thus describing the cliff from which the body of the Indian was thrown. When Mr. Steel later returned to the lake, he recognized the cliff and give it the name Llao Rock, which it bears today.

As told by W. G. Steel to Earl U. Homuth.

More Poison!
By F. Lyle Wynd


The Monk's Hood or Aconite (Aconitum columbianum) is a very common plant in Crater Lake Park. It is especially common along the streams near Park Headquarters and along the Castle Crest Flower Trail.

Most species of Aconitum are poisonous. One species has long been used in medicine. Cases of human poisoning are largely to be traced to over-doses of the drug used in medicine. Fatality from this plant among animals grazing in the higher altitudes is common. This is another example of the fictitious nature of the popular belief that animals will not eat poisonous plants.

A lethal dose is exceedingly small amounting to only 1/16 of a grain. The effect of poisoning in human beings is first a tingling sensation on the end of the tongue, which shortly gives rise to burning. This is followed by a tingling sensation in the throat. The action of the heart becomes depressed and breathing difficult. Death is caused by a complete stoppage of respiration.

Blyth who has studied records of poisoning in Europe states that there have been cases of murder, suicides, and many more or less accidental deaths. In two of these cases children met death by chewing the flower.

All parts of our species are poisonous but the seeds and roots are especially potent. The exact nature of the lethal substance is not yet known to science, and there is no specific antidote available at the present time. However, physicians have used atropin and amyl-nitrate. Artificial respiration is often necessary during treatment.

From the above, one can readily see the danger which lurks in one of our most beautiful plants.

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