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Camassia cusickii - S.Watson

Common Name Cussick's camas
Family Asparagaceae
USDA hardiness 3-11
Known Hazards Although no hazards are known Camassia spp. can be mistaken for Zigadenus spp. when not flowering which are very toxic.
Habitats Damp meadows at subalpine and alpine elevations (4,000–6,000 feet (1,200–1,800 m) and tolerates pond edges, rich soils, and bloom well in either sun or shade.
Range A Pacific Northwest U.S. native that’s been cultivated commercially in the Netherlands.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Camassia cusickii Cussick

Kurt Stüber wikimedia.org
Camassia cusickii Cussick
Kurt Stüber wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of bulb
Camassia cusickii is a BULB growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Quamasia cusickii (S.Watson) Coville


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Bulb. The cooked bulb has a sweet, anise-squash flavour. Pressure cook at 250°F or 120°C for nine hours. A larger bulb than other species in this genus but the flavour is considered poorer [1-2]. Considered pungent, slimy, and bitter tasting by some (summitpost.org). The bitter taste is due to saponins in the plant. Commonly confused with C. quamash where Native Americans would harvest the roots to eat raw as a vegetables, or boiled them to create a sweet, molasses-like treat.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None Known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Uses include food forests, informal gardens, cottage gardens, prairie and meadows. Locations include: garden banks and slopes, beds and borders and can be underplanted with roses and other shrubs. Showy, cut flowers. Thrives among perennials. C. cusickii can naturalize and serve as a good ground cover.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Hardy Perennial Bulb found in temperate to subtropical locations. Prefers moist, fertile soil in full sun to partial sunlight. Soil chalk, loam or sand which is acid, alkaline or neutral. It tolerates clay and dry soil. Soil moisture moist but well-drained. Unlike most bulbs, it prefers soil that has a bit more moisture but is intolerant of waterlogging. Deer- and rodent-resistant. Flowers spring to early summer. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 12 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1). For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is a bulb.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Propagated by removing the offsets that have formed round the main bulbs. Plant 6 inches (150 mm) deep in late summer or early fall. In very cold areas, the soil should be mulched to protect the bulbs in late autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cussick's camas, Wild hyacinth

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Camassia leichtliniiWild Hyacinth, Large camas, Suksdorf's large camasBulb1.0 3-7  LMHSNM40 
Camassia quamashQuamash, Small camas, Utah small camas, Walpole's small camasBulb0.3 3-7  LMHSNM513
Camassia scilloidesAtlantic CamasBulb0.6 6-9  LMHSNM30 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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