Cusick's Camas (Camassia cusickii)
Cusick's camas is a very large and robust plant, sometimes being over a meter tall. It was not used as food by the native Americans as its near relative the common camas was. This is because the large root is smelly, slimy and foul tasting. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this species is it's extremely small range. It is endemic to the southern end of Hells Canyon with a global range covering only a few miles. Most plants are on the Oregon side of the Snake River, but it also has been found on the Idaho side. It's habitat is open, rocky slopes with soils that are saturated in the spring, but dry out entirely by mid summer. Photo from Pine Creek Oregon. May 1994.