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CAMASSIA

Image of Camassia

James H. Schutte

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

CAMASSIA

Plant Common Name

Quamash

General Description

Native to valleys, meadows, and prairies of eastern and western North America, camas are grown for their steepled clusters of starry flowers atop tall leafless stems in late spring. The blue or sometimes white blooms have six pointed segments, and often remain on the stem after they wither. The clumps of strap-shaped, keeled, green or gray-green leaves go dormant in summer. The leaves and flower stalks grow from large bulbs with dark tunics. Most camassias come from the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. One, Camassia scilloides, occurs from Pennsylvania and Michigan to Georgia and Texas. Cultivars of C. quamash, C. cusickii, and C. leichtlinii are available from bulb merchants.

Plant the bulbs three times as deep as they are wide. They grow and flower best in full to partial sun in moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil. Though they prefer steady moisture in late winter and spring they will not tolerate waterlogged soil. Narrow in stature, they looks best when planted in groups. Given favorable conditions and left undisturbed, these bulbs persist and increase for years. They work well in perennial borders, meadows, and waterside plantings. Pair them with plants such as hardy geranium that will cover the withering leaves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    18"-52" / 45.7cm - 132.1cm

  • Width

    3"-6" / 7.6cm - 15.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States, Northwestern United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Blue, Violet, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Double, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No