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Small Camas, Quamash - Camassia quamash


Family: Liliaceae - Lily family Genus Common Name: Camas Native Status: NativeMonocot Perennial Herb
Camassia quamash - Small Camas, Quamash. This plant blooms in early to mid-spring and grows in moist meadows and on grassy slopes. The ones photographed here were in a marshy area along a stream at an elevation of around 5300 feet. The bulbs of the plant are edible and were used as a significant food source for native Americans. However, the bulbs look similar to those of Death Camas - the name of that plant is indicative of its poisonous nature - so beware!

Camassia quamash is found in the Rocky Mountain and west coast states.

Found in:
CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

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Camassia quamash

Distribution of Camassia quamash in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 24 Jun 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Custer County, Idaho Date: 2010-June-13Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D60
The large flowers have 6 tepals which are blue to purple, sometimes so pale as to be almost white. There are 6 bright yellow anthers on long filatments.
Camassia quamash

Site: Custer County, Idaho Date: 2010-June-13Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Click on the photo for a larger image
Camassia quamash

Site: Custer County, Idaho Date: 2010-June-13Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves of Camas are basal and somewhat like grass with broad blades. There may be bracts on the stem.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Camassia quamash

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer