E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Camassia leichtlinii (Baker) S. Watson
Great Camas (large camas)
(Previously in Liliaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Neil L. Jennings  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9279)

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Distribution of Camassia leichtlinii
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Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a deep, egg-shaped bulb 2-4 cm long; flowering stems 20-100 cm tall, smooth.
Basal leaves several to numerous, linear-lanceolate and grass-like, to 60 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, smooth, sheathing at the base, the margins entire; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence a terminal raceme of 5 to many, stalked flowers, the stalks 1-4 cm long, spreading in flower, spreading to ascending in fruit; flowers pale to deep blue, rarely white, of 6 similar, distinct tepals, the tepals 20-40 mm long, 5-10 mm wide, twisting together over the ovaries when withered; stamens 6; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Capsules, egg-shaped to oblong, cross-ridged, 1-2.5 cm long; fruiting stalks often longer than bracts, spreading to ascending, curved in towards stem; seeds several to many, shiny black, 2-4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Vernally moist meadows in the lowland zone; locally frequent on SE Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, one report also from adjacent mainland (Sechelt Peninsula); S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Camassia leichtlinii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 20 109 315
Slope Gradient (%) 0 34 119
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
23 21 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 1 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(41)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Species occurs in maritime to submaritime summer-dry cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen­rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms). Scattered to plentiful in open-canopy Garry oak stands on water-shedding sites; occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and precipitation. Also inhabits meadow­like communities where early spring moisture is followed by mid-summer drought; occasionally found around vernal pools, springs, and intermittent streams.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References