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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Monday Melange: Camassia
Monday Melange: Camassia Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Monday, 21 November 2016
Camassia

Hardy between USDA zones 5 and 10, camassia or camas lily (Camassia leichtlinii) is a spring flowering bulb native to the Western US and Canada including California and Nevada, north to British Colombia. Considered a wetland indicator species in the wild, in the garden it thrives in full sun and moist organically rich soils. Native Americans used camas lily medicinal purposes and camas roots were used to make a type of bread.

The showy 6-petaled creamy whitish-yellow, and blue or purple flowers of the camas lily are star-shaped. Growing in terminal racemes along the stem, they bloom from April to May and sometimes as late as June. Growing to a height of about 2.5 to 4 feet tall, camas lily is an ideal cut flower. Camas lily should be planted in large groups of 15 or more for full effect. Use it in a woodland setting, wildflower meadows, or at pond and watercourse edges. As with most bulbs, the foliage does die down so it’s not a stand-alone specimen plant.

Although camas lily is a bulb, it will grow from seed and under favorable conditions, it may naturalize and become a “pest”. Camas lily is one of those plants that, botanically has been hard to categorize. According to the Pacific Bulb Society, they have been considered in the Lilaceae family, the Scilloideae family, the Hyacinthaceae, and now with DNA studies have been assigned to the Agavaceae family.

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12017190@N06/1214928619
 
 
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