Reub's journey

25 May 2010


The beautiful blue-violet camas, of the Lilly family, has come into bloom here in Oregon.

I have lived in the East, the deep South, and the Midwest, but have never seen it growing anywhere except here in the Northwest.

It was a staple food of the native Americans, who showed Lewis and Clark how to use it. Harvested in autumn, its root can be roasted, boiled in soups, dried and pounded into flour, or baked along with salmon; they say it tastes like sweet potato.

Camas grows wild along the paths where I walk the dogs.

I wonder how it tastes, although I have never wanted to dig one up because it is so special and pretty.

*That's KA-mus, not to be confused with Albert Camus [ka-MOO], although when I looked up camas recipes, I misspelled camas (silly me, must have had philosophy on my mind) and I did run across the Jean Paul Sartre Cookbook, which proved to be an amusing sidetrip.


  1. I know that there is a similar flower called the Death Camas, but when I've seen it identified it was white, so I'm no sure how people got the two confused. I enjoyed the photos.

  2. Lovely flower. I have never seen it. I love the serendipity of the Internet.

  3. Beautiful. As I was reading I was thinking that I have never seen them before...but then I live in the east so I guess that explains it. So interesting that it tastes like sweet potato.

    I love the shots with the water drops.

  4. I love its shape!
    and the color of course
    lovely photos

  5. Snowbrush: I looked up Death Camas because I had heard of it and was curious. It's white. This is blue.It would be dumb to mix them up. However, the bulbs (the edible part) must look very similar because the Indians sometimes harvested them in the spring while the blue flowers were still in bloom, so as not to make a terrible mistake. I have never once seen a white camas around here, though. Maybe they are rare?

  6. I've seen the white ones but only rarely. I don't know about the Native Americans, but I know that white settlers died of them, and I too have wondered how. I suppose if you were harvesting hundreds of blue camus on the same day, and the white ones had already bloomed, you might make a mistake that way.

  7. Never seen one before, thanks for introducing me to Camas. Lovely series.

  8. These delicate, periwinkle flowers are gorgeous - remind me of our Siberian iris that I love so much!

  9. awesome flower! I bet that is a treat to see while out walking.


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