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Camassia quamash

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About Common Camas (Camassia quamash) Camassia quamash, commonly known as camas, small camas, common camas, common camash or quamash, is a perennial herb. It is one species of the genus Camassia and is native to western North America in large areas of southern Canada and the northwestern United States, from British Columbia and Alberta to California and east from Washington state to Montana and Wyoming. Though the once-immense spreads of camas lands have diminished because of modern developments and agriculture, numerous camas prairies and marshes may still be seen today. In the Great Basin, expanded settlement by whites accompanied by turning cattle and hogs onto camas prairies greatly diminished food available to native tribes and increased tension between Native Americans and settlers and travelers. Both the Bannock and Nez Perce Wars began after Nez Perce became incensed at the failure of the US government to uphold treaties, and at settlers who plowed up their camas prairies, which they depended on for subsistence. Growth pattern. It is a perennial herbaceous monocot with leaves emerging from a persistent bulb in a basal rosette. Leaves, stems, and roots. The stems have a length between 30 and 90 centimetres (12 and 35 in). The leaves are basal and have a grass-like appearance. Inflorescence and fruit. The pale blue to deep blue flowers appear in late spring to early summer (May to June in their native habitat). They are arranged in a raceme at the end of the stem. Each of the radially symmetrical, star-shaped flowers has six petals. Taxonomy.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.2 - 2.3 ft (0.37 - 0.7 m)


Growth Rate

Flower Color
Blue, Purple, Pink, Lavender

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
meadows, streamsides

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
12' - 9229'

Annual Precip. ?
13.7" - 126.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.35" - 3.85"

Coldest Month ?
25.6° F - 48.9° F

Hottest Month ?
50.2° F - 74.9° F

Humidity ?
0.09 vpd - 22.36 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of a variety of garden soils as long as sufficient moisture is available

Fast, Medium, Slow

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Sow seeds, enclose seed container in polyethylene bag and refrigerate at less than 41°F. Remove from refrigerator and plastic bag when germination starts or in 3 mos.

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Common Camash, Small Camas, Quamash

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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