Western False Asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa)
We’ve probably mistaken these for Death Camas, Bistort, or Valerian on many occasions. Unlike the wide-ranging species mentioned, Western False Asphodel, also known as Bog Lily, prefers wet areas near lakes or marshes. A couple things differentiate this plant from Death Camas, the plant it resembles most: the Asphodel’s leaves grow only from its base (none on the stem), and the flower heads are generally rounder and less elongated than the Camas.
Like many North American plants whose common names begin with “false”, these are named by their similarity to a “true” European species, asphodelus. It is the true asphodels that Homer wrote grew in the mythical Elysian Fields, the final resting place of the souls of Greek heroes.