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General: Lily Family (Liliaceae). Common camas (Camassia quamash ssp. breviflora) is a stout, robust, 12-28 inches (30-70 cm) tall plant with a dense inflorescence. Camases are liliaceous, perennial herbs that grow from an edible bulb. The leaves are long and narrow, grass-like, and emerge from the base. Common camas flowers are light to deep blue; more than 3 flowers in an inflorescence may be open at one time. Camas flowers have 6 tepals, 6 stamens, and 3 stigmas. The inflorescence is a spike-like cluster borne on a leafless stem that is held above the leaves. Common camas is distinguished from great camas (Camassia quamash ssp. quamash) by the following: the flowers are slightly irregular, with the lowest tepal curving outward away from the stem; the anthers are bright yellow; the plant is relatively short and stout, with shorter flower stalks and smaller bulbs; and there is no waxy powder on the leaves. Common camas blooms from April through June. The fruits are barrel-shaped to three-angled capsules, splitting into three parts to release many black, angled seeds.


Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & Corvallis (OR) Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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