Meadow Death Camas (Zigadenus venenosus)

Death Camas
Location: Nancy Creek Washington (Ferry County)

Information: Next to hemlock this is the most poisonous plant in the Pacific Northwest. It also creates confusion as the bulb of the Common Camas is strikingly similar to Death Camas. Common Camas was eaten often by Indians and was considered a delicacy. {A Canadian Indian recipe called for a mixture of salmon roe with dried crushed camas bulbs.} Since the bulbs were often dug up before flowered mistaking the two plants occurred. If ever deciding to partake in common camas it’s highly recommended that it’s only done during the flowering period. In this case it’s extremely important that you know your plant before eating it. Most survivalists simply avoid all versions of camas for this very reason. This plant has the agent zygadenine; which causes an irregular heartbeat, slows down respiration which eventually leads to convulsions and death. Other common names are Narrowleaved Death Camas, simply Death Camas and Grassy Death Camas.

Identification:
USDA Plants Database
E-Flora on Meadow Death Camas

Click here (to see Common Camas during flowering)

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