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Edible uses


Bulb - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. The raw bulb has a mild, starchy flavour, but a gummy texture that reduces the enjoyment of it somewhat[K]. It is excellent when slow baked, however, developing a sweet flavour and making a very good potato substitute[183, 256, K]. The cooked bulb can also be dried for later use[4] or ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups or as an additive to cereal flours when making bread, cakes etc[5]. The bulbs can be boiled down to make a molasses, this was used on festival occasions by various Indian tribes[4]. One report says that the bulbs contain inulin (a starch that cannot be digested by humans) but that this breaks down when the bulb is cooked slowly to form the sugar fructose which is sweet and easily digested[6].

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Camassia leichtlinii.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Camassia leichtlinii.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[7]. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in spring[7]. It usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c, but it can be erratic[8]. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and allow the seedlings to grow on undisturbed for their first year. Give an occasional liquid feed to ensure that the plants do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants are dormant in late summer, pot up the small bulbs putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another one or two years in a cold frame before planting them out when dormant in late summer. Offsets in late summer. The bulb has to be scored in order to produce offsets.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Camassia leichtlinii. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in almost any soil[9] and is tolerant of considerable neglect once it is established[K]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a rather heavy loam[10] that has plenty of moisture in spring but does not remain wet over the winter[8][11]. Dislikes dry soils[11]. Prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade[8][11].

A very ornamental plant[10], there are many named varieties[11]. Plants often self-sow[K]. A good bee plant[12]. Plants can be naturalized in damp grass, this should not be trimmed until mid to late summer when the bulbs have flowered and the leaves have died down[7]. This species can be confused with certain poisonous bulbs in the genus Zigadenus[13].

Plant the bulbs 7 - 10cm deep in early autumn and then leave undisturbed[10]. The bulbs should be planted about 20cm deep[14].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Camassia leichtlinii. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Camassia leichtlinii.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Camassia leichtlinii
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Sweet. M. Common Edible and Useful Plants of the West. Naturegraph Co. ISBN 0-911010-54-8 (1962-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
    6. ? 6.06.1 Turner. N. J. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples UBC Press. Vancouver. ISBN 0-7748-0533-1 (1995-00-00)
    7. ? Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    8. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 3. Thompson and Morgan. (1989-00-00)
    9. ? Grey. C. H. Hardy Bulbs. Williams & Norgate. (1938-00-00)
    10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    12. ? International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees. International Bee Research Association. (1981-00-00)
    13. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    14. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    15. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-60