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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene
Small camas, Common camass, Swamp sego
USDA Symbol: caqu2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A bulbous plant with basal clusters of narrow, grass-like, bright green leaves. The flowering racemes are 1-3 ft. tall with dozens of showy, star-like, sky- to deep-blue flowers. Light to deep blue-violet, star-shaped flowers in a raceme; several narrow, grass-like leaves grow mostly near the base. The three sepals and three petals all share the blue color.
This species is sometimes so frequent as to color entire meadows blue-violet. Indians pit-roasted the bland bulbs with other leaves, and also boiled them, which yielded a good syrup. Another similar species is Leichtlins Camas (C. leichtlinii), which grows only west of the Cascade Mountains, from southern British Columbia to the southern portion of Californias Sierra Nevada, and has radially symmetrical flowers.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
, WY Canada: BC Native Distribution:
B.C. to CA,
e. to s.w. Alt., MT, WY
& UT Native Habitat:
Moist areas, often where dry by late spring
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Heavy, winter- & spring-moist soils. Conditions Comments:
Camass eventually goes dormant and should then have less water, but not fully dry soil. Considered among the easiest of and showiest of native
Elk, deer & moose reportedly graze the plant in early spring. Use Food: Bulb
favored by indigenous peoples for food. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Propagate from offsets or seed. Sow seed in a sealable container and refrigerate for 3 months or until germination starts. Germination is often poor. Seedlings take 3-4 years to flower.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
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Native, non-invasive plant seeds for each region in U.S.
June 09, 2006
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National Wetland Indicator Status
|Status:|| FACW || FACW |
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Oregon Native Plant Nursery
- Woodburn, OR
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2008-10-19
Research By: TWC Staff