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Vascular Plants of California
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Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AgavaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree, fibrous succulent or not, from bulbs or rhizomes. Stem: above ground or not, branched or not. Leaf: simple, deciduous or not, basal or in terminal rosettes, generally sessile, linear, lanceolate, oblanceolate or ovate, fibrous or not, thin and flexible or thick and rigid or succulent; margin entire, fine-serrate, dentate, or with filaments, tips rigid or flexible, with a spine or not. Flower: bisexual; perianth parts 6, in 2 petal-like whorls, free or +- fused; stamens 6, +- fused to perianth, filaments often wide, succulent; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, style 1 (thick, poorly defined), stigma head-like or 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, indehiscent, loculicidal, or septicidal. Seed: few to many, +- flat or ovoid, generally black.
Genera In Family: 24 genera, 637 species: worldwide.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Dale W. McNeal, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CamassiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb; bulb 1 [or clustered (each bulb has 1 leaf-cluster, 1 scape, or both, so no need to dig up bulbs to make this determination)], coat black or brown. Leaf: basal, linear, keeled, glabrous. Inflorescence: scapose raceme; flowers 3--many; bracts 1--6 cm, narrow-lanceolate, scarious in age; pedicels 1--5 cm, spreading or incurved in fruit. Flower: +- radial (or bilateral); perianth parts 6, in 2 petal-like whorls, fused < 5% of length, 12--40 mm, lanceolate, blue to +- purple (white), 3--9 veined, twisted together above ovary in fruit [or not]; stamens 6, anthers generally 4--7 mm, attached at middle; ovary chambers 3. Fruit: loculicidal. Seed: 6--36, black. Chromosomes: n=15.
Etymology: (chamass, qám'es, or quamash, Native American word) Note: California species highly variable, may hybridize, in need of study; bulbs traded among, eaten by Native Americans, perhaps creating local forms.
Reference: Uyeda & Kephart 2006 Syst Bot 31:643--655
Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene subsp. breviflora Gould
Habit: Bulb generally 1, 1--5 cm. Stem: 2--5 dm. Leaf: generally < 10, 1.5--3 dm, 6--17 mm wide. Inflorescence: often dense; flowers several to many, (4)10--20+ open at once. Flower: bilateral to +- radial, blue violet to bright blue; perianth parts generally 3-veined, persistent, forced apart by expanding fruit. Fruit: ovoid, 8--20 mm. Seed: 5--10 per chamber.
Ecology: Wet meadows; Elevation: < 2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, n SNH; Distribution Outside California: to Washington, Nevada. Flowering Time: May--Jul Note: Several proposed subspecies (only 1 from California) evidently are +- minor geographic variants.
Synonyms: Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene subsp. linearis Gould
Jepson eFlora Author: Dale W. McNeal
Reference: Uyeda & Kephart 2006 Syst Bot 31:643--655
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora

botanical illustration including Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora

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Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2012, Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 24, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 24, 2024.

Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora
click for enlargement
©2008 George W. Hartwell
Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora
click for enlargement
©2012 Vernon Smith
Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora
click for enlargement
©2020 Vernon Smith
Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora
click for enlargement
©2008 George W. Hartwell
Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora
click for enlargement
©2013 Vernon Smith

More photos of Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Camassia quamash subsp. breviflora:
NW, CaR, n SNH
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).