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Camassia cusickii

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
kah-MASS-see-ah koo-SIK-ee-eye
Description

Camassia cusickii, or Cusick’s camass, is native to northeast Oregon and western Idaho but is planted as an ornamental throughout the United States. It grows best in moist, fertile, acidic, humusy, well-drained soils, although it can tolerate clay, in full sun to part shade throughout USDA Zones 4 through 8. The plant tolerates summer droughts, but should be kept moist during the growing season. It is relatively winter hardy, but will sustain damage at temperatures below 23 degrees F (-5 degrees C).

Left alone in appropriate soil and environment, the plant will spread. However, to grow from bulbs, dig up the small bulbs when the plants are dormant in late summer, putting 2 to 3 bulbs in a pot. Grow them in pots for another one or two years in an environment protected from freezing temperatures before planting them. Note that the bulb has to be scored to produce offsets. Plant them in the fall, about 3 to 4 inches apart, 8 to 10 per square foot, to a depth of 4 inches. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons.

Unlike other members of the Camassia genus, cusickii was not used as a food source by Native Americans. The bulbs have a bitter taste and slimy texture.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious insect pests or diseases reported.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#perennial#perennial bulb#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#spring flowering bulbs
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#perennial#perennial bulb#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#spring flowering bulbs
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Camassia
    Species:
    cusickii
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northwestern United States
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts insects and bees.
    Bulb Storage:
    Store in a dry location protected from freezing.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Each seed capsule contains many small seeds that are black and shiny.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The 1.5-2.5’ flowering stalk supports sky blue to white flowers with showy, yellow anthers. Each flower is ¾–1" across, consisting of 6 tepals, 6 stamens with bright yellow anthers, and a green central ovary with a slender style. The tepals are light blue-violet to nearly white; they are oblong in shape and spread widely from the center of the flower. Each tepal (petal or petal-like sepal) has 1-3 poorly defined veins along its length.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Numerous narrow, green, strap-like leaves, 10 to 20 inches in length, emerge from the bulb in the spring forming a basal rosette.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Flowering stalk 1.5 to 2 feet high.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Rabbits