Camassia leichtlinii
Common Name: large camas 
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Western North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White, cream, blue or purple with yellow anthers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Wet Soil, Black Walnut


Best grown in moist, fertile, acidic, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Does best in full sun. Plant bulbs 4-6” deep and 6” apart in fall. Needs regular moisture during the spring growth and bloom, but will tolerate drier conditions after bloom as the plants head for summer dormancy. Best left undisturbed once planted. Can be grown from seed, but will not bloom until the 3rd or 4th year.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Camassia leichtlinii, sometimes called Leichtlin’s camass, is a spring-flowering bulbous perennial that typically grows on moist slopes and moist mountain meadows west of the Cascades and Sierras from British Columbia to southern California. Linear, strap-shaped leaves (up to 2’ long) typically form a 2’ clump of foliage. Star-shaped flowers (2-3" wide) in upright terminal racemes (20-80 flowers per raceme) open sequentially from bottom to top on stout, naked flowering stems that rise above the foliage clump to a height of 2.5-4’ tall in late spring. Each flower has six showy petal-like tepals. Flowers in this species may be white, cream, blue or purple, all with attractive yellow anthers. Good fresh cut flower.

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 honors Max Leichtlin (1831-1910) of Baden-Baden, Germany who introduced many plants into cultivation, notably from the Near East.


No serious insect or disease problems. Plants stems are strong and seldom need support.


Mass or plant in groups of at least 15 bulbs in wildflower meadows, open woodland areas or borders. May not deserve a prominent place in the border, however, since foliage can become rather scruffy in appearance after bloom. May also be utilized as accents on the periphery of a water garden or pond.