Blue camas is a perennial with an important history as a food source for peoples living in the Pacific Northwest (including Western Montana). The showy bunches of flowers and delicate grass-like leaves, which appear late in the spring as vast seas of blue (in some relatively undisturbed areas) give the plant great garden appeal, but it's the fleshy underground bulb that provided sustenance for those having to endure our harsh winters. If you are planning on consuming camas bulbs (or any plant!) ensure you have a knowledgeable person positively identify them first, as there are poisonous lookalikes, such as meadow death-camas.

 

Blue camas enjoys sunny spots with plenty of moisture in the spring and early summer, but will tolerate summer drought by going completely dormant after the flowering is done. Plant later-flowering species with it to prevent bare spots in the garden. Good garden companions include Rocky Mountain iris, tall pussytoes, showy milkweed, streamside daisy, sulphur buckwheat, and chamisso sedge, and sneezeweed. 

 

Our plants are at least 3 years old, and have developed a .5 - 1" bulb. Plants purchased after the beginning of June will likely be dormant (but very much alive!). Plant and establish much as you would a non-dormant species, but water less frequently during the summer (ever 2 weeks or so). 

blue camas

  • Camassia quamash

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