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Blue Camas

Camassia quamash

Blue Camas

APPEARANCE

The blue camas has onion-like bulbs with plants growing over 60 centimetres tall. It has blue flowers in the spring.

RANGE & HABITAT

This plant is found from southern B.C. to California, growing in meadows and grassy bluffs, often in garry oak meadows. Fire encourages more camas to grow; it takes away other plants competing with the camas. In B.C. this plant is found in the Georgia Depression ecoprovince.

LIFE CYCLE

The blue camas is a perennial herb. It blooms in May an June and can tolerate a dry summer.

ANIMAL USES

Domestic and wild hoofed animals like to eat the greens and farm pigs will eat the bulbs.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The bulbs of the plant were dug and steamed in pits. A healthy sugar called “inulin” develops in the bulbs when they’re cooked. They can be eaten whole, or dried and pounded into flour.

MODERN USES

Camas is planted as a decorative plant, and used as grazing for sheep and cows.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bcliving.ca

Photo: adrimcm