Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Camassia quamash


SPECIES: Camassia quamash
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Howard, Janet L. 1993. Camassia quamash. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : CAMQUA SYNONYMS : Camassia esculenta Lindl. Quamassia quamash (Pursh) Coville SCS PLANT CODE : CAQU2 COMMON NAMES : common camas camas blue camas western camas camas lily quamash TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of common camas is Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene (Liliaceae) [8,12,13,25]. Recognized subspecies are as follows [13,24]: C. q. ssp. azurea (A. Heller) Gould C. q. ssp. breviflora Gould C. q. ssp. intermedia Gould C. q. ssp. linearis (Pursh) Greene C. q. ssp. maxima Gould C. q. ssp. quamash C. q. ssp. utahensis (Pursh) Greene C. q. ssp. walpolei (Piper) Gould LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Camassia quamash
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Common camas is distributed from southern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta east to Montana and south to California, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming [3,4]. An introduced population occurs near Haines, Alaska [16]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES27 Redwood FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES29 Sagebrush FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES41 Wet grasslands FRES42 Annual grasslands STATES : AK CA ID MT OR UT WA WY AB BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest K003 Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest K004 Fir - hemlock forest K005 Mixed conifer forest K006 Redwood forest K007 Red fir forest K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest K009 Pine - cypress forest K010 Ponderosa shrub forest K011 Western ponderosa forest K012 Douglas-fir forest K014 Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K026 Oregon oakwoods K028 Mosaic of K002 and K026 K029 California mixed evergreen forest K030 California oakwoods K033 Chaparral K034 Montane chaparral K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K047 Fescue - oatgrass K048 California steppe K049 Tule marshes K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass K063 Foothills prairie SAF COVER TYPES : 205 Mountain hemlock 211 White fir 213 Grand fir 217 Aspen 218 Lodgepole pine 229 Pacific Douglas-fir 230 Douglas-fir - western hemlock 231 Port-Orford-cedar 232 Redwood 233 Oregon white oak 234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone 243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer 244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir 245 Pacific ponderosa pine 246 California black oak 247 Jeffrey pine 249 Canyon live oak 250 Blue oak - Digger pine 255 California coast live oak 256 California mixed subalpine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : In the Intermountain region and the northern Rocky Mountains, common camas is usually found in mountain grassland and prairie communities. West of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada crest, it occurs in both forest and grassland types [10,13,22].


SPECIES: Camassia quamash
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Livestock, elk, moose, and caribou graze common camas [23]. Pigs consume the bulbs [6]. PALATABILITY : Common camas provides fair to good graze for sheep and cattle [23]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Common camas forage is poor in energy and protein value [26]. The nutrient composition of fresh bulbs (per gram dry weight) is as follows [14]: calories 3.90 calcium (mg) 1.76 protein (g) 0.13 iron (mg) 0.23 carbohydrate (g) 0.80 magnesium (mg) 0.40 lipid (g) 0.03 zinc (mg) 0.03 COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Common camas was planted for mountain grassland restoration in western Washington, using bulbs salvaged from a nearby area undergoing subdivision [1]. Plants can also be established by fall planting of seed [20]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Common camas bulbs were eaten by western Indians, trappers, and early settlers [3,6,22,23]. Many western Indian tribes also used the bulbs as a trade item [22]. Common camas is planted as an ornamental [3]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Common camas decreases under sheep grazing [22].


SPECIES: Camassia quamash
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Common camas is a native perennial forb. Its peduncle is from 8 to 20 inches (20-50 cm) in height and supports a terminal raceme. The peduncle and basal leaves attach to a bulb that is up to 1.5 inches (6 cm) across. Its roots are fibrous. The fruit is a three-celled capsule with 5 to 10 seeds per cell [12,13,23]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Common camas reproduces from seed and bulb offsets [18,22]. Clones flower at age 2 or 3 years [18]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Common camas grows on sites that are moist to wet in spring but dry by late spring or summer [4,6,8,12,25]. It is commonly found near vernal pools, springs, and intermittent streams [10]. It occurs at elevations ranging from sea level to 7,000 feet (2,134 m) in California [13] and from 6,240 to 7,950 feet (1,890-2,410 m) in Utah [25]. Associated species in the Intermountain region are snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), Douglas grass-widow (Sisyrinchium douglasii), Hooker balsamroot (Balsamorhiza hookeri), rush pussytoes (Antennaria luzuloides), Wyeth buckwheat (Eriogonum heracleoides), and western yarrow (Achillea millifolium) [17]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Common camas is shade intolerant [10]. In forested areas, it is found on open sites created by disturbance. In grasslands and meadows, it is most prevalent in initial and early seral communities but also occurs in later seres [1,10,22]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Common camas flowers from May to July, depending upon elevation and snow cover [4,9,12]. Leaves die and seeds are dispersed from late May to August [22].


SPECIES: Camassia quamash
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Soil insulates the meristematic tissue in common camas bulbs from damage by fire [22]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Geophyte, growing points deep in soil


SPECIES: Camassia quamash
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire presumably top-kills common camas. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Common camas on the palouse prairie of eastern Washington increases with frequent fire [1]. Data regarding common camas postfire recovery are lacking. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Because growth and flowering occur in spring and early summer, short-interval fires in spring or early summer would probably reduce common camas populations. Northwest Coast Indians reportedly set fires annually. This optimized common camas production by maintaining an open prairie [20,21].

References for species: Camassia quamash

1. Antieau, Clayton J.; Gaynor, Peggy E. 1990. Native grassland restoration and creation in western Washington. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(1): 34-35. [14166]
2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]
3. Dayton, William A. 1960. Notes on western range forbs: Equisetaceae through Fumariaceae. Agric. Handb. 161. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 254 p. [767]
4. Delane, Teresa M.; Sharp, William H. 1976. The blue camas, Camassia quamash, a plant new to Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 90(1): 79-80. [23843]
5. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
6. Gabriel, Herman W., III. 1976. Wilderness ecology: the Danaher Creek Drainage, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 224 p. Dissertation. [12534]
7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]
8. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1969. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 1: Vascular cryptograms, gymnosperms, and monocotyledons. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 914 p. [1169]
9. Idaho State Department of Commerce and Development. [n.d.]. Idaho wild flowers. Boise, ID: Idaho State Department of Commerce and Development. Pamphlet. 10 p. [17999]
10. Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press. 288 p. [10703]
11. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]
12. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798]
13. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
14. Norton, H. H.; Hunn, E. S.; Martinsen, C. S.; Keely, P. B. 1984. Vegetable food products of the foraging economies of the Pacific Northwest. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. 14(3): 219-228. [10327]
15. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
16. Scoggan, H. J. 1978. The flora of Canada. Ottawa, Canada: National Museums of Canada. (4 volumes) [18143]
17. Skovlin, Jon M.; Edgerton, Paul J.; McConnell, Burt R. 1983. Elk use of winter range as affected by cattle grazing, fertilizing, and burning in southeastern Washington. Journal of Range Management. 36(2): 184-189. [2154]
18. Sperka, Marie. 1973. Growing wildflowers: A gardener's guide. New York: Harper & Row. 277 p. [10578]
19. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 10 p. [20090]
20. Turner, Nancy Chapman; Bell, Marcus A. M. 1971. The ethnobotany of the Coast Salish Indians of Vancouver Island. Economic Botany. 25: 63-104. [21014]
21. Turner, Nancy Chapman; Bell, Marcus A. M. 1973. The ethnobotany of the southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. Economic Botany. 27: 257-310. [21015]
22. Turner, Nancy J.; Kuhnlein, Harriet V. 1983. Camas (Camassia spp.) and riceroot (Fritillaria spp.): two liliaceous "root' foods of the Northwest Coast Indians. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. 13: 199-219. [20526]
23. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]
24. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573]
25. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
26. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806]