Asparagus Family – Asparagaceae
Common Camas is also called Blue Camas, Wild Hyacinth, or simply Camas.
Plant Description: Common Camas has smooth, upright, slender leafless stems that are 8 to 24 inches tall with 5 to 30 blossoms attached on short pedicels along the top half. The flowers open a few at a time from the bottom up. The 3 or 4 grass-like, basal leaves at the base are dull on top, shiny and darker on the bottom and almost reach the lowest flowers.
Flower Description: The blossoms are to 1.5 inch across, pale blue to deep purple (occasionally white). There are 6 narrow, identical tepals, spreading star-like. The upper 5 are closely spaced, the lowest one is separated from the others and points outward and down. There are 6 prominent, blue or yellow stamens with blue to yellow pollen and a prominent green ovary with slender style and 3 stigmas.
Ecology: Common Camas grows on both sides of the Cascades in moist meadows, coastal bluffs, grassy sagebrush flats, and even fairly heavily timbered hillsides in deep soil.
- Common Camas has been moved from the Lily Family to the Asparagus Family. See “APG Changes” page.
- Camas bulbs were a vegetable staple of the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. They tended the meadows where the camas grew to assure repeated harvests. Camas still forms blue carpets in some areas.
Common Camas Photo Gallery