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Thread: Camassia quamash

  1. #1

    Default Camassia quamash

    FRom what I have read, natives would simply wait until they flowered (blue). A bit like Commelina and Tradescanthia down this way. One is edible the other is not, but you need to ID them by the flower colour (blue is edible). We show Commelina at our survival school, it was used by Captian Cook to fend off scurvy amongst his crew, hence the common name of scurvy weed. My wife and I use it in our salads.
    Last edited by Rick; 05-04-2015 at 08:31 AM. Reason: Restored Post


  2. #2
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Not found in my part of the US. Seems to populate the northwest part of the country.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Haven't seen any around here in north central USA, Wisconsin.
    Had heard it mentioned as a possible food source of the Lewis and Clark expedition...the Wikipedia seems to confirm that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camassia_quamash#Food_use

    Quote>
    Food use[edit]





    The fruits of C. quamash
    While the bulbs of Camassia species are edible and nutritious, the white-flowered meadow death-camas (which is not in Camassia, but part of the genus Toxicoscordion that grows in the same areas) is toxic, and the bulbs are difficult to distinguish.[12][13]

    Camas has been 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 are 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. People have also dried the bulbs to then be pounded into flour.[14] Native American tribes who ate camas include the Nez Perce, Cree, Coast Salish, Lummi, and Blackfoot tribes, among many others. Camas bulbs contributed to the survival of members of the expedition of Lewis and Clark (180406).
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    It is a very specific regional plant but the death gammas are more widespread and have encouraged the avoidance of all they type.

    It is like mushrooms, if you are not an expert stay away from them.

    Its like the old Boy Scout Handbook used to warn; you can eat anything that walks, crawls, or flies but 90% of the plants will kill you.
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  5. #5

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    FRom what I have read, natives would simply wait until they flowered (blue). A bit like Commelina and Tradescanthia down this way. One is edible the other is not, but you need to ID them by the flower colour (blue is edible). We show Commelina at our survival school, it was used by Captian Cook to fend off scurvy amongst his crew, hence the common name of scurvy weed. My wife and I use it in our salads.
    Last edited by Rick; 05-04-2015 at 08:30 AM. Reason: Restored Post

  6. #6
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    Well, the natives who would wait until they flowered probably knew what to look for, and what to avoid....like you say, the blue flowers. Now, i'm personally leery of eating any foraged food I'm not absolutely certain of, so even if camas grew around here...and the one species that I know of that grows in Ontario isn't something I've ever seen personally...I probably wouldn't eat it until I'd been out a few times with somebody who knows what's what who specifically told me "this is safe to eat, here's how you identify it". Better safe, as my grandfather would have told me if he said things like "better safe".

  7. #7

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    Absolutely Tundra. Thats what safe foraging is all about.

    For anyone here who may forage for these, does any other Blue Flowering plant, that looks similar, grow at the same time, in the same areas as Cammas, which may be dangerous to consume?
    Last edited by crashdive123; 05-04-2015 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Restored post

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