I have this image of a game of Russian Roulette where there are people out harvesting the rich bulbs of the edible blue camas and never quite knowing when they may accidentally dig up the the similar Toxicoscordion venenosum bulb that grows in the same locations, but contains the alkaloid zygacine. To avoid this, local indigenous people would remove the plants from a local harvest area when they were in bloom and more recognizable. This would make harvesting less risky! The leaves are also poisonous and have been deadly to grazing cattle in the spring where the death-camas is out before other forage is available. We have a few locations where the creamy death-camas is a lovely counterpoint to the abundant blue camas; generally in slightly moister areas.
Two biologists on a beautiful property armed with cameras, smart phones and a marginal knowledge of websites took up the challenge of documenting one species a day on that property. Join along! Posts and photographs by Leah Ramsay and David Fraser (unless otherwise stated; started January 1, 2014.