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What's in Bloom: Blue camas

Posted: June 6, 2014 - 12:00am
Small camas or blue camas, scientifically known as Camassia quamash, is an outstanding bulb native to western North America. In the wild, they grow en masse to the extent that Meriwether Lewis was quoted in 1806 as saying "at a short distance, the colour resembles lakes of bright clear water."  Photo by Merrill Jensen
Photo by Merrill Jensen
Small camas or blue camas, scientifically known as Camassia quamash, is an outstanding bulb native to western North America. In the wild, they grow en masse to the extent that Meriwether Lewis was quoted in 1806 as saying "at a short distance, the colour resembles lakes of bright clear water."

Small camas or blue camas, scientifically known as Camassia quamash, is an outstanding bulb native to western North America.

In the wild, they grow en masse to the extent that Meriwether Lewis was quoted in 1806 as saying “at a short distance, the colour resembles lakes of bright clear water.” These bulbs (not to be confused with the white-flowered death camas, Toxicoscordion sp.) were an important food source for the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest and were often used as trade items. When used as a food source, they were most often pit roasted or were dried and stored for winter use.

To grow them well here in Juneau, they require full sun and good drainage.

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