This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
[Camassia Lindl. Bot. Reg. pl. 1846. 1832.]
Scapose herbs, with membranous-coated edible bulbs, linear basal leaves, and rather large, blue, purple or white bracted flowers in a terminal raceme. Perianth of 6 separate equal spreading persistent 3-7-nerved segments. Pedicels jointed at the base of the flower. Stamens inserted at the bases of the perianth-segments; filaments filiform; anthers oblong or linear-oblong, versatile, introrse. Ovary 3-celled, sessile; ovules numerous in each cavity; style filiform, its base persistent; stigma 3-lobed. Capsule oval, 3-angled, loculicidal. Seeds black, shining. [From quamash, the Indian name.]
About 4 species, natives of North America. Type species: Qudmasia esculenta Raf.
Wash. 11: 64. 1897. Not Raf.
Bulb ovoid, 1'-1 1/2' long, its outer coat usually nearly black. Scape slender, 1°-2° tall, sometimes bearing 1 or 2 short linear scarious leaves; basal leaves narrowly linear, acuminate, shorter than the scape, 11 /2"-4" wide; raceme open, 3'-8' long in flower, longer in fruit; flowers several or many; pedicels filiform, 6"-10" long, about as long as the bracts and the perianth-segments; bracts long-acuminate; perianth-segments narrowly oblong, 3-5-nerved, blue or nearly white, longer than the stamens; capsule about 4" high, 5"-6" thick, the valves transversely veined.
In meadows and along streams, Pennsylvania to Minnesota, Georgia and Texas. Ascends to 2100 ft. in Virginia. Eastern camass. April-May.