Sunday, May 3, 2009

Indian Camas at Fort Steilacoom Park

Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, WA, has a lot of wonderful Spring wildflowers. One particularly beautiful one is the Indian Camas flower. They started blooming in April (I think late April). Now they are in full bloom!

Here is a quote from Wikipedia's page about the Camas wildflower:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camassia

Camas grow in the wild in great numbers in moist meadows. They are perennial plants with basal linear leaves 20–80 cm long, which emerge early in the spring. They grow to 30–130 cm tall, with a multi-flowered stem rising above the main plant in summer. The six-petaled flowers vary in color from pale lilac or white to deep purple or blue-violet. They sometimes color whole meadows.


Here is a quote from Wiki's page about the Quamash, or Small Camas, also known as Indian Camas (I'm not why Wiki doesn't list it there by that name, but it is known as that!):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camassia_quamash

The name Quamash is from Nez Perce qém’es, a term for the plant's bulb,[1] 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.

While quamash is edible and nutritious, it often grows with Zygadenus species which are extremely poisonous and which have very similar bulbs, so it is very important to be sure of your identification.


Taken May 1, 2009


Taken May 1, 2009


Taken May 1, 2009


Taken April 22, 2009


Taken April 22, 2009

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