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 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[
The plant was much harvested by the native N. Americans for its edible bulb. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens.
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[
Eastern N. America. - Ontario to Pennsylvania, south to Kansas, Texas and Georgia
Low fields, meadows and open woods[
]. Prairies; at elevations rom 100 - 1,000 metres[
Succeeds in almost any soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a rather heavy loam[
] that has plenty of moisture in spring but does not remain wet over the winter[
]. Dislikes dry soils[
]. Tolerates partial shade[
Plant bulbs 7 - 10cm deep in early autumn and then leave them undisturbed.
Bulb - raw or cooked[
]. The bulb was an important food for several native North American Indian tribes who used it in a variety of ways[
]. 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[
]. The bulb is about 4cm long and 15mm wide[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in spring[
]. It usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c, but it can be erratic[
]. 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.