Home Plant List

Malheur Experiment Station
Oregon State University

Camassia quamash

camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)Camassia quamash
Common Names black camas, camas, small camas
Family Lily
Flower Color Blue
Short Description The close up pictures of camas show 6 pale to deep blue petals in the form of a star.
Location McCall
Native Yes
Weed No

camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)

camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)

camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)

camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash) camas, black camas, camas lily (Camassia quamash)

The Camas is a native plant that was used by the Native Americans (Blackfoots, Cree, Nez Pierce & others). The name quamash is from the Nez Perce qmes for the bulb, which was gathered and used as a food source by various tribes. It was considered to be a delicacy. The bulbs were steamed for pit-cooked slowly for a least a day, up to three, then ground up and mixed to make gravy. This plant is thought to have been semi-domesticated by the women to produce maximum harvest. Camas grows on moist swales and shallow marsh soils.

It is sometimes called "Black Camas" because when it is slow pit-cook, then the bulb turns black.

Camas provided an important food for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Although camas is edible, it may grow with death camas (Zigadenus spp) which has very different white flowers (picture on the left) and is extremely poisonous.

small camas, black camas


For additional information please send an e-mail request to:
Dr. Clinton C. Shock
Clinton.Shock@oregonstate.edu

Malheur Agricultural Experiment Station
595 Onion Avenue
Ontario, OR 97914
(541) 889-2174
FAX (541) 889-7831

Malheur Experiment Station Web Site Purpose and Policy OSU Home Page OSU disclaimer