Camas lily (Camassia quamash)

Camas lily, six pedal flowerCamas lily (Camassia quamash) is a perennial, purple herb that can grow to 70 centimeters tall. They used to be very abundant in the Willamette Valley, and were cultivated by many native groups including the Kalapuya, who would gather the bulbs and roast them from twelve to twenty-four hours to make them more edible. They prepared the land by setting fire to it, a process that does not live on today.


The leaves of the Camas are basal and populous and shaped like grass. The flowers are deep blue to pale and can get to 3.5 centimeters long, with pedals in groups of six. It shares its name with the Death-camas which has white flowers and bulbs similar to the Camas lily. The bulbs are highly toxic and fatal if eaten.


  • Flowers are deep blue, purple, to pale
  • Leaves can get to 3.5 cm long, pedals in groups of six
  • Grass-like leaves
  • Root similar to garlic but grows a foot deeper)