Common Camas (Camassia quamash)
The edible root of this spring flowering plant has a rich history. Easily confused with the poisonous Death Camas once the flowers are gone, as the rest of the plants are nearly identical and the two often grow in the same areas. Native Americans are thought to have weeded the Death Camas from large fields during flowering so that they could later harvest the edible camas without worry.
“…Camas was one of the most important of all native plants to the Indians. Tribes cherished the onion-like root and guarded the tribal Camas fields from rivals…The bulb was also dug by the early pioneers and saved many from starvation.” – E. Horn: Wildflowers I