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Camassia scilloides (Atlantic camas)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Camassia scilloides

Camassia scilloides (Raf.) Cory

Atlantic camas, Wild hyacinth

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Camassia esculenta, Quamasia hyacinthina

USDA Symbol: casc5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Grass-like leaves in a tight, basal clump surround a 1-2 ft. blossom stalk topped by lavender flowers in 5-7 in. spikes. A leafless stem with lavender to blue flowers in an elongated, loose-flowered cluster rising from an underground bulb. The sweet-scented flowers have six, petal-like segments and protruding, yellow stamens.

The bulbs of this plant were used by Native Americans and early explorers for food. The flower somewhat resembles the cultivated Easter Hyacinth, in the genus Hyacinthus. Grape Hyacinth (Muscari botryoides), which occasionally escapes from cultivation, has blue, ball-like flower clusters resembling bunches of grapes.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers in 7 inch spikes
Fruit: Black
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , DC , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: SC to e. TX, n. to w. PA, s. Ont., s. WI & e. KS
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Woodlands edge, Opening, Open woodlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Looks best in masses at least three to a clump. Green in spring only dormant the rest of the year.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Showy, Blooms ornamental, Shortgrass meadow, Perennial garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies
Use Food: The bulbs of this plant were used by Native Americans and early explorers for food.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed sown in fall or division of clumps. Remove offsets from larger bulbs and plant them separately. Do not plant small bulbs more than 2 in. deep.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FAC FAC FAC FAC
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:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

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:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter1991 VOL. 8, NO.3 - Native Plants Provide a Wealth of Foods and Fibers, Letter from the President, A...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Camassia scilloides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Camassia scilloides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Camassia scilloides

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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