Camassia quamash ssp. breviflora
Synonym: Camassia quamash var. breviflora
A close-up of the raceme of common camas (ssp. breviflora) as seen along Forest Service Road #16 in western Logan Valley, Malheur National Forest..................June 30, 2010. Note the yellow anthers of this variety.
Common Camas consists of a stout stem arising 20 to 70 cm from a large bulb. The ovoid bulb may be 2 to 5 cm long and 1 to 2.5 cm wide. The leaves are primarily basal, and are about half as long as the height of the stem, and may be 8 to 25 mm wide. They are linear in shape with parallel venation.
The inflorescence is an elongated raceme of closely to loosely spaced flowers. Individual flowers are pale to deep blue or violet colored. White (albino) individuals are possible. The tepals are narrowly elliptical in shape, 15 to 35 mm long and 2 to 8 mm wide. The six stamens have yellow to blue anthers, depending upon the variety.
Common Camas was a valuable food source for the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Today, its importance is as meadow wildflower in gardens. It is expecially effective grown in dense drifts. It self seeds readily, and care must be taken not to accidentally weed out the seedlings. Several years must pass before the seedlings are ready to flower, which is the case for most members of the lily family.
ssp. breviflora - Widespread distribution across central and eastern Oregon and Washington.
ssp. quamash - Found across north-central and northeastern Oregon and much of Washington east of the Cascades.
ssp. utahensis - Found across eastern Oregon near the Idaho border.
ssp. walpolei - Found across central and southern Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon.
Common camas lives in grassy areas which are moist in the spring and which dry up during the summer and fall.
Common camas is a widespread wildflower found from southern British Columbia along both sides of the Cascades south to California. Eastward, its range extends to southwest Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.
Common camas as seen in a vernally moist swale along the Steens Mountain North Loop Road at a point where the juniper forest abruptly transitions to sagebrush steppe.............June 2, 2012. The site is on the south side of the road just above a gate where there is also a stock pond.
This photo shows a close-up of the inflorescence of common camas as seen along Road #46 at Dougherty Springs in the northern Wallowa-Whitman N.F..................June 26, 2008.
-These 2 photos show close-ups of the flower of common camas (ssp. breviflora) as seen at Fish Lake on the Steens Mt..................June 20, 2004. Note the yellow anthers of this variety.
Photo above of Camassia quamash var. breviflora at Jackman Park C.G., the Steens Mt....8/3/95.
-The photo above shows the flower of common camas as seen at Hog Lake, a BLM site east of Sprague, WA.....................April 27, 2006.
The photo above shows common camas in a seep on the northern outskirts of Klickitat, OR....................April 13, 2007.
-The photos above show close-up views common camas in a seep on the northern outskirts of Klickitat, OR....................April 13, 2007. (Click on each photo to see an enlarge view.)