Thursday, June 2, 2011

CAMAS LILY

Several years ago DH and I were traveling through south central Idaho in late May across an area called Camas Prairie.  In every wild meadow I could see the haze of acres of tall blue flowers.  I wondered what big blue wild flower was growing all over Camas Prairie.  Duh.

Blue Camas grows wild in the middle altitudes of the 
western United States and British Columbia.

The plant comes from a bulb similar to that of a tulip.  Camas bulbs were a staple food source for many native people long before white explorers arrived.  The bulbs were pit-roasted or boiled.  When dried they were pounded into flour which was used to make a bread.

Lewis and Clark wrote about seeing the “quawmash in blume” and how the meadow 
“resemhles a lake of fine clear water.”..." [Clark, June 12, 1806, at Weippe Prairie, Idaho]
I was able to purchase some Camas bulbs and I planted them in my garden.  
They have thrived and every spring there are more. 

 I’ve never tried boiling them, but I understand they taste something like sweet potato but sweeter.

8 comments:

Flea said...

Ooo! Something new and fun to try in the garden! They're beautiful. :)

TALON said...

I never knew that - that is so cool! And the blue is so amazing! I'm so glad they are thriving in your garden, Leenie.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh who could bear to boil the bulbs of such a beautiful plant.

Debbie said...

i love the personal connection we feel with our flowers and plants, so profound. the thoughts they evoke....

gorgeous pictures!!!

DayPhoto said...

Those are beautiful. I don't think we have those jewels here. Thanks for sharing.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

susan m hinckley said...

Lovely AND educational! Always worth stopping by, Leenie. I never come away without something wonderful (and you are like salve to the homesick soul of this transplanted westerner).

Buttons said...

They are beautiful I don' think I have ever seen them. Nice colour.
Darn spell check always says Colour should be color so just ignore, that is how we do it here in Canada. LOL B

Anzu said...

Blue flower draws out a latent emotion from me. I feel much vivid energy by Camas Lily. Thank you !