“At a short distance, the colour resembles lakes of bright clear water." – Meriwether Lewis, 1806.

Camassia
Camassia quamash: Camas

Easy to grow, a stunning addition to your sunny border, a striking blue spire rising to the sky in your spring garden, a native plant that is easy to grow and free of most pests and predators, Camassia is one of the best flowers to grace the Pacific Northwest!

Two species are widespread and available to today's gardeners. C. quamash, or Common Camas, is the one most frequently found naturally in the region and C. leichtlinii, or Great Camas, is a larger but less abundant variety that inhabits similar growing locations and conditions. They are often mistaken for each other, but there are a couple notable differences in the flowering habit for those who are curious to know: The tepals (think petals) of C. leichtlinii, as they wither after bloom, eventually twist together to cover and protect the fruit. Those of C. quamash don’t do this, and when in bloom the C. quamash has 5 tepals (petals) distinctively curving upward, with the 6th curved downward.

Arbutus menziesii 5822

After they bloom, resist the urge to cut back the flower stem, because they will self-seed in undisturbed soil – those little grassy blades surrounding your Camas plants next spring are the self-seeded offspring. Have patience, in 3-4 years they too will bloom in all their beautiful jewel-blue hues!

Camas are a great plant to naturalize in your garden. If you’ve already tossed narcissus bulbs hither and yon to naturalize an area of your landscape, consider adding the native Camas into the mix. It would be a beautiful combination!

A great place to see Camassia in its native habitat is at the Camassia Natural Area. Located just a few miles outside Portland it is a 26 acre natural area preserved by the Nature Conservancy which includes a large Camas field that comes into bloom in April through early May.

Visit the Oregon Camassia Natural Area.

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest