Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Dale W. McNeal, except as specified

Perennial to trees, from membranous bulb, fibrous corm, scaly rhizome, or erect caudex
Stem generally underground
Leaves generally basal, often withering early, alternate, generally ± linear
Inflorescence various, generally bracted
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; perianth often showy, segments generally 6 in two petal-like whorls (outer sometimes sepal-like), free or fused at base; stamens 6 (or 3 + generally 3 ± petal-like staminodes), filaments sometimes attached to perianth or fused into a tube or crown; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, placentas generally axile, style generally 1, stigmas generally 3
Fruit: generally capsule, loculicidal or septicidal (berry or nut)
Genera in family: ± 300 genera, 4600 species: especially ± dry temp and subtropical; many cultivated for ornamental or food; some TOXIC. Here includes genera sometimes treated in Agavaceae, Amaryllidaceae, and other families.



Susan M. D'Alcamo

Perennial; bulbs solitary or clustered
Leaves basal, 15–60 cm, linear-lanceolate, glabrous
Inflorescence: raceme, scapose, 2–13 dm; flowers 3–many; bracts 1–6 cm, lanceolate, becoming scarious; pedicels 1–5 cm, spreading or incurved in fruit
Flower ± radial; perianth parts 6, petal-like, 15–40 mm, lanceolate, purplish blue to white, 3–9-veined, sometimes twisting over fruit; ovary superior, chambers 3, style 1, stigma lobes 3
Fruit: capsule, ± spheric to oblong, cross-ridged, loculidical
Seeds 3–many, ± shiny black
Species in genus: ± 4 species: North America
Etymology: (Native American name: camas or quamash)
Reference: [Gould 1942 Amer Midl Naturalist 28:712–742]
Spp. differentiated mostly by geog.


C. quamash (Pursh) Greene

Bulb generally solitary
Flower: perianth generally (purplish) blue (white)
Fruit ovate to oblong
Ecology: Damp forests, meadows, streamsides
Elevation: < 3300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, n San Francisco Bay Area, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to sw Canada, Wyoming, Utah
Highly variable among populations and with habitat. Probably only 2 forms warrant recognition; needs study. Bulbs were used widely for food and traded among native tribes, perhaps blurring distinctions or creating local forms.

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