Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Camas Lily
Camassia quamash

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Camassia (kuh-MAS-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: quamash (KWA-mash) (Info)

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive anelson77 On May 20, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

striking, showy tall natives which come back and increase their numbers in unirrigated, poor soil, full sun.

Neutral smiln32 On Oct 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The beautiful purplish-blue Camassia is native to our northern plains and mountain states, and figured prominently in Native American history. The lilies carpet open areas in the northern plains, and the bulbs were used for both food and medicine. Supposedly, Lewis and Clark collected some of the bulbs on one of their expeditions west.

Positive Wildwood On Mar 6, 2003, Wildwood from Rainier, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Camassia quamash constituted a major portion of plant foods by northwestern Native Americans. It was eaten raw, roasted, boiled, fried, or was dried and stored. It naturalizes readily on prairies with heavy soil that are wet in winter and dry in summer with low grass cover. Reproduces from seed only that is dispersed from pods in summer, taking 3-4 years from seed to bloom. Washington camas emerges in early March, blooms in May and June, seeds in July, and is dormant by September. Bulbs are easily moved when dormant. Does best in a natural setting where it won't be mowed until after seeding.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wethersfield, Connecticut
Townsend, Delaware
Indian Valley, Idaho
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Framingham, Massachusetts
Wayland, Massachusetts
Galesburg, Michigan
Lambertville, New Jersey
Cornwall On Hudson, New York
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Chimacum, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Renton, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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