Rare elsewhere, but common in Nova Scotia, these are blue bead lilies at the centre of the image. They greatly resemble the delectable wild leek, and grow in many of the same places. But blue bead lilies are more tolerant of Nova Scotia’s clay and rock soil and evergreen woods which acidify the soil. Like wild leeks, they are edible and delectable when young, but they have a taste very much like cucumber. In fact, one of the easiest ways to delineate between wild leek and blue bead lily is to break off a small tip of a leaf, crush it in your hand and sniff. Wild leek has a strong onion-garlic scent, while blue bead lily smells just like a cucumber.
Blue bead lily is a forest herb. It grows in loose colonies in both hardwood and softwood forests. It likes moist soil and seems to prefer sandy soil in riparian environments, but it will tolerate the soil and grow in forest shade most anywhere in these parts. It is a long-lived perennial and fragile, despite its commonness. Never take but a little here and there as it is much susceptible to over harvesting and whole colonies can easily be wiped out.