Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Lily Family (Liliaceae). Great camas or Leichtlin’s camas (Camassia quamash spp. quamash) is a liliaceous, perennial herb that grows from an edible bulb. The plant can grow from 24-48 inches (60-120 cm) tall. Leaves are long and narrow, grass-like, and emerge from the base. The inflorescence is a spike-like cluster borne on a leafless stem that is held above the leaves. Camas flowers are creamy-white to deep blue-violet; they have 6 tepals, 6 stamens, and 3 stigmas. The white form is considered to be native only to the Umpqua Valley of Oregon. Great camas differs from common camas (Camassia quamash ssp. breviflora) in the following ways: the flowers are regular, with tepals that twist together after anthesis and remain over the ovary; anthers are dull yellow to violet; the plant is larger, with longer flower stalks and bigger bulbs; and there is a fine, waxy powder on the leaves. The seeds are usually larger as well. The fruits are barrel-shaped to three-angled capsules, splitting into three parts to release many black, angled seeds.