Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Camassia quamash
common camas

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to Montana and Utah.

Habitat: Open, moist areas, often where dry by late spring, from lowlands to mid-elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Scapose perennial from a deep-seated bulb, the scape 2-7 dm. tall.


Leaves several, all basal, 8-20 mm. broad, considerably shorter than the scape.


Inflorescence a raceme, many-flowered, 5-30 cm. long; pedicels 10-20 mm. long, spreading, arched or ascending in flower, incurved-erect in fruit; flowers pale to deep blue or violet, somewhat irregular; tepals 6, distinct, 15-35 mm. long and 2-8 mm. broad, narrowed at base, lowest segment curved outward and downward away from the others, all withering separately and exposing the ovary; stamens 6, anthers yellow or blue, style slender, stigmas 3.


Capsule ovoid, 3-celled, 1-2.5 cm. long.

Accepted Name:
Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene
Publication: Man. Bot. San Francisco. 313. 1894.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
ssp. azurea – blue camas, prairie camas    Endemic to the lowlands west of the Cascades crest in Washington, including the Puget Trough from Pierce County, Washington, to Grays Harbor County, and on both sides of the Olympic Mountains.
ssp. breviflora – eastern camas, small-flowered camas    Occurring in the south-central and southeastern counties in Washington; southern Washington to California, east to Nevada.
ssp. maxima – dark camas    Occurring west of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to the Willamette Valley, Oregon; more common in the northern part of range
ssp. quamash – common camas    Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; southern British Columbia to eastern Oregon, east to Montana
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Camassia quamash in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Camassia quamash checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Camassia quamash atlas page.

CalPhotos: Camassia quamash photos.

USDA Plants: Camassia quamash information.

135 photographs:
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