We just planted Common Camas (Camassia quamash) bulbs in the orchard. The Camas is native to southwest Canada and the northwestern United States, from British Columbia and Alberta to California and from Washington state to Montana and Wyoming. Opening in late spring to early summer, they’ll be a beautiful purple-blue which will attract a variety of bees and other pollinators.
These perennial flowers are edible and highly valued by Coast Salish people. Camas has been a food source for many native peoples in the western United States and Canada. After being harvested in the autumn, once the flowers have withered, the bulbs are pit-roasted or boiled. A pit-cooked camas bulb looks and tastes something like baked sweet potato, but sweeter. The bulbs can also be dried and pounded into flour, which can be used for baking or as a thickener. Native American tribes who ate camas include the Nez Perce, Cree, Coast Samish, Lummi, and Blackfoot tribes, among many others. Camas bulbs also contributed to the survival of members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1804–06.
They’re just holes in the ground now, but they’ll have these beautiful blooms on them soon.
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