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Camassia (quamash)

Tara Luna
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Liliaceae
Family Common Name: Lily family
Scientific Name: Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene quamash
Common Synonym: Camassia quamash teapeae
Common Name: Common camas
Species Code: CAMQUA
Ecotype: Moist meadow, near Lee Creek,
General Distribution: C. quamash occurs in moist meadows which dry by mid summer. It ranges from southern B.C. to California, east to southwest Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml (10 in3) Containers
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: Height: 6 to 10 true leaves; 15 cm.<br> Caliper: n/a<br> Root System: firm plug with developed bulb in container.
Propagule Collection: Collect mature capsules when they begin to split and turn light tan in color. Seeds are black at maturity. Capsules are collected in paper bags and kept in a well ventilated drying shed prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are hand cleaned at the nursery by shaking seeds out of opened capsules.
Seed longevity is unknown.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: unknown
% Purity:100%
% Germination:50%
Pre-Planting Treatments: Freshly harvested seeds were cold, moist stratified outdoors for 5 months. Germination occurs in early May under cool and fluctuating temperatures(10 to 20 C day and 10 to 15 C night).
Seeds germinate equally well in light (when surface sown) or dark (when covered with mulch).
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Outdoor nursery growing facility.
Growing medium used is 6:1:1 milled spaghnum peat,perlite, and vermiculite with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) and Micromax fertilizer (12%S,0.1%B,0.5%Cu,12%Fe,2.5%Mn, 0.05%Mo,1%Zn) at the rate of 1 gram of Osmocote and 0.20 gram of Micromax per 172 ml conetainer.

Conetainers are filled and sown in late fall and irrigated thoroughly prior to winter stratification. Seedlings germinate in spring under fluctuating outdoor temperatures and are grown under full sun exposure. Seedlings are irrigated with Rainbird automatic irrigation system in early morning until containers are thoroughly leached.
Average growing season of nursery is from late April after snowmelt until October 15th.
Establishment Phase: Medium is kept slightly moist during germination. Germination appeared uniform and complete after 4 weeks.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Plants had developed 2 true leaves and a small bulb 10 weeks after germination. Plants went dormant by late July. The onset of dormancy is induced by high temperatures.
Continued growth and development of seedlings could be extended if seedlings are kept in a controlled environment of air temperatures maintained at 10 and 15 C during growth, and placing dormant seedlings into cooler storage for a minimal chilling period. Following the miminum chilling period, seedlings could be taken out of cooler storage and grown in the greenhouse for a second growth phase. Thus, two seasons of growht could be forced in 1 year.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 12 weeks
Hardening Phase: Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: At least 2 years from seed.
Harvest Date: September of the second year.
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: There are other botanical varieties and subsubspecies; var. quamash, var. maxima, var. breviflora, var. utahensis, var. intermedia, and var. azurea.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, 7th edition, University of Washington Press, 1973.
Seeding Rate Statistics for Native and Introduced Species, Hassell, Wendel, U.S.D.I. and U.S.D.A., April 1996.
Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice, Deno, Norman, Penn State University, 1993.
Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene plants 172 ml (10 in3) Containers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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