Find thousands of freely licensed digital books, artworks, photos and images of historical library materials and museum objects.
Camassia leichtlinii (Baker)S.Watson Hyacinthaceae. Great Camas, Quamash. The species was named for Maximillian Leichtlin (1831-1910 of Baden , Germany, bulb enthusiast who corresponded with J.G. Baker at Kew. Bulbous herb. Distribution: North America. The bulbs of Camassia species were eaten by the Native Americans, the Nez Perce, after cooking by steaming for a day - which suggests they may be poisonous raw. They gave them to the American explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clerk, on their expedition (1804-1806) when they ran out of food. The bulbs of the similar looking 'Death camus', Toxicoscordion venenosum have been fatal when ingested by mistake (RBG Kew on-line). Steroidal saponins, which are precursors in the manufacture of steroids and cytotoxic activity has been detected in the sap of the bulbs. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
- Dr Henry Oakeley