Camas (vegetable)

Camas (vegetable)

About Camas (vegetable)

Camassia is a genus of six species native to western Canada, and the western United States, from southern British Columbia to northern California, and east to Utah, Wyoming and Montana. Common names include Camas, Quamash, Indian hyacinth, and Wild hyacinth. While Camassia species are edible and nutritious, the white-flowered Deathcamas species (which are not in the genus Camassia but in a number of genera in the tribe Melanthieae) that grow in the same areas are toxic, and the bulbs are quite similar. It is easiest to tell the plants apart when they are in flower.The Quamash was a food source for many native peoples in the western United States and Canada. After being harvested in the autumn, once the flowers have withered, the bulbs were pit-roasted or boiled. A pit-cooked camas bulb looks and tastes something like baked sweet potato, but sweeter, and with more crystalline fibers due to the presence of inulin in the bulbs.