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Useful Temperate Plants

Camassia scilloides

(Raf.) Cory

Asparagaceae

+ Synonyms

Camassia esculenta (Ker Gawl.) B.L.Rob.

Camassia fraseri Torr.

Camassia gawleri Torr.

Camassia hyacinthina (Raf.) E.J.Palmer & Steyerm.

Cyanotris scilloides Raf.

Lemotrys hyacinthina Raf.

Ornithogalum nuttallianum Kunth

Ornithogalum texanum Scheele

Oxytria texana (Scheele) Pollard

Phalangium luteum Nutt.

Quamasia hyacinthina (Raf.) Britton

Quamasia scilloides (Raf.) Raf.

Schoenolirion texanum (Scheele) A.Gray

Scilla esculenta Ker Gawl.

Scilla fraseri (Torr.) A.Gray

Stilla carolinensis W.Young

Common Name: Atlantic Camas

Camassia scilloides
Flowering plants in Illinois
Photograph by: Fan of Zhirkov
Creative Commons License
Camassia scilloides Camassia scilloides Camassia scilloides Camassia scilloides

General Information

Camassia scilloides is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a solitary bulb (sometimes forming clusters) 10 - 30mm in diameter; it produces a cluster of 3 - 8 grass-like leaves 20 - 60cm long and flowering stems 19 - 47cm tall[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
The plant was much harvested by the native N. Americans for its edible bulb. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens.

Known Hazards

Camassia bulbs have long been an important food staple for native North Americans, especially in the Pacific Northwest of N. America, where the bulbs were dug and traded on large encampment meadows. However, the plants are superficially similar to the poisonous species of Zigadenus (known as ‘death camas’) and so great care should be taken in making a positive identification[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.

Range

Eastern N. America. - Ontario to Pennsylvania, south to Kansas, Texas and Georgia

Habitat

Low fields, meadows and open woods[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Prairies; at elevations rom 100 - 1,000 metres[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
HabitBulb
Height0.60 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in almost any soil[
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a rather heavy loam[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
] that has plenty of moisture in spring but does not remain wet over the winter[
138
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1989
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Dislikes dry soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Tolerates partial shade[
138
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1989
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plant bulbs 7 - 10cm deep in early autumn and then leave them undisturbed.

Edible Uses

Bulb - raw or cooked[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. The bulb was an important food for several native North American Indian tribes who used it in a variety of ways[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. It can be baked or dried and made into a powder which can be used as a thickener in stews or as an additive to cereal flours when making bread, cakes etc[
62
Title
A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T. and Dykeman. P.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold
Year
1982
ISBN
0442222009
Description
Very readable.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The bulb is about 4cm long and 15mm wide[
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in spring[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. It usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c, but it can be erratic[
138
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1989
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and allow the seedlings to grow on undisturbed for their first year. Give an occasional liquid feed to ensure that the plants do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants are dormant in late summer, pot up the small bulbs putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another one or two years in a cold frame before planting them out when dormant in late summer.
Offsets in late summer. The bulb has to be scored in order to produce offsets.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-11-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Camassia+scilloides>

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