Close-up flower of Common Camas (Camassia quamash). Another stunning Pacific Northwest native plant available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Close-up flower of Common Camas (Camassia quamash). Another stunning Pacific Northwest native plant available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Common Camas (Camassia quamash). Another stunning Pacific Northwest native plant available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Field of Common Camas (Camassia quamash). Another stunning Pacific Northwest native plant available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Common Camas

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Camassia quamash

Common Camas is as attractive as it is versatile. Countless star-shaped, blue-purple flowers explode into bloom atop erect, tall stems each spring. The bright yellow pollen within is both ornamental and attractive to beneficial insects, pollinators and hummingbirds.  A true Oregonian, it perfectly evolved to thrive being inundated with water in the winters and bone dry in the summers. The bulbs are also edible, extremely high in protein, and delicious and are an important plant for indegenous peoples.  

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant, herb/ground layer
  • Size at maturity: 30" tall, 6-12" wide
  • Light requirements: full sun, part sun / part shade
  • Moisture requirements: wet to dry soil
  • Bloom time: April - July
  • Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: nectar source for adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, supports beneficial insects/pest eating insects, attracts and supports hummingbirds
  • Native habitat/range: Commonly found in meadows, bogs, fens, wetlands and vernal pools. There are eight subspecies of C. quamash, and between them the species covers most of the Pacific Northwest. Portland Plant List - yes. 
  • Special features & uses: edible, supports hummingbirds

Gardening with Common Camas:  Is the crown jewel of the sunny raingarden or meadowscape, as well as an excellent replacement for conventional, ornamental spring bulbs. It does great with winter flooding, and even some shade, provided it can dry out and bask in the summer sun. After blooming, Common Camas dies back completely, so it's ideal to intermix this plant among other perennials and wildflowers that will take the stage once Camas’ glory has passed.


Photo Credit 1: Nikkie West

Photo Credit 2: "Faded Blue Camas" by Dawn Endico is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit 3: "File: Camassia quamash 6009.JPG" by Wsiegmund is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo Credit 4: "Camas" by born1945 is licensed under CC BY 2.0