Camassia cusickii
Common Name: Cusick's camass 
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Northwestern United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer


Best grown in moist, fertile, acidic, humusy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, Zones 4-8. Can tolerate clay soils. Plant bulbs 4” deep and 4-6" apart in the fall. In its native range in the Pacific Northwest, this plant is found in damp meadows and along the edges of ponds at elevations between 1000-2000 ft. Will naturalize over time if given the proper soil and environmental conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Camassia cusickii, or Cusick’s camass, is native to a few counties in northeast Oregon and western Idaho but can readily be found in cultivation for ornamental use in the home garden. Numerous narrow, green, strap-like leaves, 10-20" in length, emerge from the bulb in the spring forming a basal rosette, followed by the inflorescence. The 1.5-2.5’ flowering stalk supports a terminal raceme made of sky blue to white flowers with showy, yellow anthers. This bulb blooms in late spring to early summer. Unlike other members of this genus, such as C. scilloides, this plant was not used as a food source by Native Americans. The bulbs have a bitter taste and slimy texture.

Genus name is derived from the Native American Indian name of kamas or quamash for a genus plant whose bulb was once used by native Americans and settlers as a food source.

Specific epithet refers to William Conklin Cusick (1842-1922), a self-taught, American botanist who specialized in plants of the Pacific Northwest.


No serious insect pests or diseases reported.


Can be planted along the edges of ponds, in an open woodland garden, wet meadow, or more formal border garden. Massed plantings of these bulbs will create the greatest design impact.