Camas Lily

Camassia quamash

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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Grand Mound, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Renton, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.