Death Camas, Nuttall's death camas, Nuttall's deathcamas, Poison onion
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Marcus, Joseph A.
This common prairie flower
grows 1–2 feet tall and has long, narrow leaves near the bottom of the plant. The stout stems grow out of a large, black-coated bulb,
which is poisonous, as are all parts of the plant, even when dry. Sheep are often poisoned by it. Flowers are cream-colored, 1/2 inch across, growing around the top of the stem
in a round-topped cluster. The stamens
have large yellow anthers.
This species is similar to Camas (Z. leimanthoides) but has a papery, not fibrous,
coat on the bulbous base.
Image Gallery: 29 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr
, TX Native Distribution:
Kansas east to Missouri and Tennessee, south to Louisiana, west to Texas, and north to Oklahoma. Native Habitat:
Prairies and open woodlands.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Part Shade Conditions Comments:
Poisonous leaves arise from a dark bulb. Said to be rare because Indians would weed
them from their Camus plots. Death Camus (Zigadenus nuttallii
) vegatative and flower
growth is very similar to the edible Camus (Camassia
sp.); great care should be taken to become familiar with Death Camus as all parts of the plant are poisonous.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High