Camassia is a lovely spring flowering bulb in shades of soft blue and white and can be mistaken for bluebells. Flowering in April and May, Camassia has large spikes of flowers in blue, purple or white. Commonly offered for sale are C. cusickii, quamash, (center image,) and Leichtlinii, (right image.) all of which are available from Crocus via this affiliate link. From a distance, when planted on mass, they can be mistaken for Bluebells, see the image above left. The flowers bloom from the base upwards. These images were all taken at RHS Harlow Carr.
The flowers are lily like, with coloured stamens. The plants are tall reaching around 1-1.3m. The bulbs originate from North America where they can be found growing along-side streams and damp meadows. Given their natural growing conditions, it follows Camassia will tolerate damp conditions, dappled shade, and look ideal in a woodland setting ,as illustrated in the image left.
The leaves are slow to die down, similar to Alliums, and do not look ideal, especially after the flowers have faded. Bearing in mind the flowering time in late April/ May good planting companions are the early flowering Alliums, early flowering Geraniums and Aquilegia. To mask the faded leaves as they die back, Hosta would also be a good companion plant suitable, and many varieties are suitable for planting partial shade and moist conditions.
Camassia is a less invasive alternative to Bluebells.
They make fabulous cut flowers.