Camassia cusickii
Cusick's camas

Distribution: Disjunct in Klickitat County in Washington; northeastern Oregon and adjacent western Idaho.

Habitat: Moist slopes and seeps, often montane.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Sensitive in Washington (WANHP)

Edibility: The bulbs of Camassia cusickii are slimy, malodorous, and unpalatable.

Pollination: Bees, flies, butterflies, beetles, wasps


Perennial herb from elliptic, clustered, mucilaginous bulbs 3-5 cm thick x 6-8 cm long.


Leaves are lance-linear, 30-50 cm long x 10-35 mm wide (but up to 50 mm wide) and typically number more than 10 per stem.


Flowering stems are 40-50 cm long and topped by a crowded inflorescence 50-80 cm long.


Flowers are light blue and radially symmetrical or slightly irregular, with one of the six tepals diverging from the others. Tepals are 20-35 mm long x 3-5 mm wide with 3-5 veins and are not twisted above the fruit at maturity.


Fruit capsules are oval to elliptic, 15-25 mm long


The bulbs of Camassia cusickii are slimy, malodorous, and unpalatable.

Identification Notes:

Camassia leichtlinii has radially symmetric flowers, darker blue-purple tepals that twist together over the capsule at maturity, and have fewer than 10 leaves. Camassia quamash has irregular flowers (symmetrical in ssp. quamash that are pale to dark blue purple and has fewer than 10 leaves (Hitchcock and Cronquist 2018).

Sources: Hitchcock, C.L. and A. Cronquist. 2018. Flora of the Pacific Northwest, an illustrated manual, second edition. Edited by D.E. Giblin, B.S. Legler, P.F. Zika, and R.G. Olmstead. University of Washington Press and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, WA. 882 pp

Hitchcock, C.L., A. Cronquist, and M. Ownbey. 1969. Part 1: Vascular Cryptogams, Gymnosperms, and Monocotyledons. In: C.L. Hitchcock, A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson, eds. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA. 914 pp.

Kephart, S., J. Kephart, andB. Robinson. 2019. Botanizing from Mt. Adams to the Klickitat River: The search for new and historical camas lilies. Douglasia 43(1): 5-10.

Ranker, T.A. and T. Hogan. 2002. Camassia. Pp 303-307. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 26: Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford University Press, New York. 723 pp.

Accepted Name:
Camassia cusickii S. Watson
Publication: Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 22: 479. 1887.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Camassia cusickii in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Camassia cusickii checklist entry

OregonFlora: Camassia cusickii information

E-Flora BC: Camassia cusickii atlas page

CalPhotos: Camassia cusickii photos

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