The strange common name is the N. American Indian word forthis handsome plant which bears tall spikes covered with starry flowers in summer. It is no bother at all – Camassia will grow in heavy, damp soil and flourishes in either sun or shade. Plant the bulbs where they can be left undisturbed.

VARIETIES: It is generally agreed that the most striking species is C. leichtlinii – the upper part of the 3 ft flowering stem is bedecked with Iva in. white or blue flowers. C. quamash (C. esculenta) is usually a little shorter but the flowers are just as numerous, with colours ranging from white to purple. The tallest of the Camassias is C.cusickii, producing up to 100 blue flowers on each tall spike.

SITE AND SOIL: Any moisture-retentive soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade.

PLANT DETAILS: Planting time September-October. Planting depth 4 in.

Spacing: 6 in. Height 2.5-3.25 ft.

Flowering period: June-July.

PROPAGATION: Divide mature clumps in autumn – replant at once.

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