Camassia angusta (Engelm. & A. Gray) Blank.

Wild Hyacinth, Prairie Camas


CC = 10
CW = 5
MOC = 12

© SRTurner

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb from a bulb, lacking allium odor.

Camassia_angusta_bulb.jpg Bulb.

© SRTurner

Camassia_angusta_base.jpg Base of plant.

© SRTurner

Stems - Aerial stems erect, to 110 cm, terete, glabrous, with several (3-24) linear, bractlike leaves below the lowermost flowers.

Camassia_angusta_stem.jpg Stem with reduced leaves.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Mostly basal, glabrous, to 45 cm, linear and straplike, flat with a raised midrib on the lower surface, sometimes folded longitudinally in the basal portion. Stem leaves alternate, greatly reduced and bractlike.

Camassia_angusta_leaves.jpg Basal leaf blades.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Terminal racemes of 50-100 flowers. Flowers stalks 5-30 mm long, subtended by linear, involute bracts.

Camassia_angusta_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Perianth spreading, 7-10 mm long, the tepals free, pale lavender to pale purple. Stamens 6, free. Style 1, 2.5-5.5 mm long, the stigma 3-lobed. Ovary superior, with 3 locules, each with 2-5 ovules.

Camassia_angusta_flowers.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Camassia_angusta_corollas.jpg Corollas.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Capsules, 6-10 mm long, ovoid to obovoid, erect or nearly so, the stalks 5-20 mm long, arched upward.

Camassia_angusta_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Mesic upland prairies and savannas, sometimes in rocky areas.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - C. scilloides.

Other info. - This species is much less common in Missouri than its close relative, C. scilloides. It occurs mostly in a cluster of counties in the southwestern part of the state, with a few other scattered populations elsewhere. Beyond Missouri the main populations occur in a band extending from eastern Kansas through central Texas. The plant is differentiated from its sibling C. scilloides by the presence of numerous linear, bractlike leaves along the upper stem below the inflorescence. In C. scilloides, these are absent or very few in number. Additionally, C. angusta blooms later and has more deeply colored flowers than C. scilloides.

Bulbs of Camassia are edible, and have been used as a food source by Native Americans. However, consumption of the bulbs is not recommended, since the plant is uncommon and also because it could be confused with some highly poisonous species.

Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 6-3-2019 and 6-4-2021 (SRTurner).