Quamash

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Quamash
Missing image
Camassia-quamash.jpg



Indian Camas (Camassia quamash)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Asparagales
Family:Agavaceae
Genus:Camassia

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

Quamash, also known as Small camas, is a perennial herb of the family Agavaceae. It is one species of the of the genus Camassia with eight subspecies and occurs in large areas of Southern Canada and the Northwestern United States.

The pale-blue to deep-blue flowers grow in a raceme at the end of the stem. Each of the radially symmetrical, star-shaped flowers have 6 petals. The stems have a length between 30 cm and 90 cm. The leaves are basal and have a grass-like appearance.

The name Quamash is a Native American term for the plant's bulb, which was gathered and used as a food source by tribes in the Pacific Northwest. The bulbs were harvested and pit-roasted or boiled by women of the Nez Perce, Cree, and Blackfoot tribes. It also provided a valuable food source for the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804-1806).

Quamash is not just an edible plant, it is also grown as an ornamental plant. Even in the wild, large numbers of quamash can color an entire meadow blue-violet.

NOTE: Do not attempt to eat the bulb, as many members of the lily family are not edible.

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