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Camassia scilloides (Atlantic camas)
Cressler, Alan

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.


From the Image Gallery

29 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers in 7 inch spikes
Fruit: Black

Bloom Information

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


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, Savannas, 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.


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 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.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

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 Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

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


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
Bibref 1294 - 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

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1991 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


Record Modified: 2023-01-31
Research By: TWC Staff

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