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Wild Hyacinth Camassia scilloides

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Wild Hyacinth:

Phonetic Spelling
kah-MASS-see-ah sil-OY-dees
Description

Camassia scilloides, or Wild Hyacinth, is a perennial wildflower often found in moist meadows, stream banks, or open woods. It is best grown from bulbs planted in moist, fertile, acidic, humusy, well-drained soils and allowed to grow in full sun to part shade. It will tolerate clay soil and can grow in open woodland conditions; however, full sun is recommended for maximum flowering. The plants grow to 2 or 3 feet tall and bloom in late spring displaying a cluster of one inch pale blue flowers set off by green bracts that flare out from under the flowers. USDA lists this plant as threatened in North Carolina.

The plant will reseed itself; however, you can plant from bulbs. Place the bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart in the fall in a site where they will remain undisturbed. Provide regular moisture during spring growth and bloom. After bloom, the plant will tolerate drier conditions as the plants head for summer dormancy. Alternatively, you can plant Wild Hyacinth from seed, but the plant will not bloom until the third or fourth year.

Flowers consist of a terminal raceme of fragrant, pale blue to white flowers that bloom sequentially from the bottom of the raceme to the top. Each raceme typically holds up to 20 flowers. Basal leaves turn yellow and wither after flowering and plant appearance declines during mid-summer dormancy.

The bulbs of the Wild Hyacinth can be eaten raw or baked, roasted or boiled. However, the bulbs of a very similar plant commonly known as death camas (Zygadenus nuttallii) are very poisonous if ingested. Be cautious because the bulbs of these two genuses are sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#perennial#wildflowers#low maintenance#moist soil
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#perennial#wildflowers#low maintenance#moist soil
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Camassia
    Species:
    scilloides
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern North America
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees, flies, butterflies, and wasps seeking nectar from the flowers.
    Bulb Storage:
    Plant 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart in the fall in what will be a permanent site.
    Edibility:
    Bulbs are edible. Can be confused with Zygadenus nuttallii, or Death Camas, whose bulbs appear similar, but are known to be poisonous.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    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 Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Each fertilized flower gives way to a 1/3” seed capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowering stalk rises up to 2 feet from basel leaves, supporting 1 inch pale blue or white flowers that bloom in April and May. Six-pointed, star-shaped flowers display on an elongated, loose cluster with green bracts that flare out from under the flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Keeled, linear, grass-like leaves, 5 to 15 inches long, in a basal clump.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Drought