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Camas Camassia

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Camas:

Phonetic Spelling
kah-MASS-see-ah
Description

Camassia is a genus of herbaceous bulbous plants in the asparagus family and is commonly known as camas, quamash, and wild hyacinth. The plant is a perennial and species of the plant can often be found growing wild in great numbers in moist meadows. In summer, a multi-flowered stem will rise above the main plant and display flowers that vary in color by species from pale lilac or white to a deep purple or blue-violet. When in flower, the plant can appear as a blanket of color across an entire meadow. Once planted, they will usually bloom for many years.

Camassia tolerates wet and heavy soils and grows best in full sun or up to 25% shade. The plant is relatively cold-hardy, but will sustain damage if temperatures dip below 23 degrees F. The plant can be propogated by division in the fall after the leaves have withered or by replanting the bulbs in the fall to a depth of 8 inches. To store bulbs, keep them in a dry location where temperatures will be not lower than 68 degrees F. The bulbs are also known to be edible and were an important food source for indigenous peoples.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known problems with this plant.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • C. cusickii
  • C. esculenta
C. cusickii, C. esculenta
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#perennial#moist soil
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • C. cusickii
  • C. esculenta
C. cusickii, C. esculenta
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#perennial#moist soil
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Camassia
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and United States
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer resistant
    Bulb Storage:
    Store bulbs dry at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C).
    Edibility:
    Bulb
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • 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:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescences appearing terminal, racemose, bracteate; bracts sterile or subtending flowers, narrowly lanceolate. Camassia’s flower stalks stand 24-30” tall and display dozens of star-like florets that open from the bottom up.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal linear leaves measuring 8 to 32 inches in length emerge early in the spring. Leaves tend to die back after flowering.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Voles
    Wet Soil