white camas

(Anticlea elegans ssp. glauca)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


White camas is a 4 to 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from a layered, unclustered, narrowly egg-shaped bulb.

There are 10 or fewer basal leaves. They are grass-like, linear, 4 to 11¾ long, to wide, hairless, untoothed, and covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous).

The stem is erect, hairless and glaucous, with a few much smaller leaves.

The inflorescence is a 4 to 12 tall, 1¼ to 2 wide, branched cluster (panicle) of 10 to 50 flowers at the top of the stem.

The flowers are subtended with egg-shaped bracts which, at full flower, are tinged with pink or purple and are wilted but persistent.

The flowers are bell-shaped and to ¾ in diameter. There are 3 whitish or greenish-yellow petals and 3 similar, petal-like sepals (6 tepals). The tepals are oblong to egg-shaped and have a green, inversely heart-shaped gland just below the middle.

The fruit is a narrowly cone-shaped, 3-lobed, to ¾ long capsule.




4 to 24


Flower Color


Whitish or greenish-yellow


Similar Species


Mountain death camas (Anticlea elegans var. elegans) is a smaller plant. The leaves are sometimes but not always glaucous. The inflorescence is usually a narrow, unbranched cluster (raceme), sometimes a 1 or 2 branched cluster. In Minnesota the ranges overlap and the two subspecies intergrade.


Beaches, prairies, bogs in coniferous forests




July to August


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



4, 7, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Liliales (lilies, supplejacks, and allies)  


Melanthiaceae (bunchflowers)  
  Tribe Melanthieae  


Anticlea (death camas)  
  Species Anticlea elegans (mountain death camas)  

Mountain death camas was formerly included in the genus Zigadenus. However, that species was broadly defined and lacked very distinctive morphological features. In the nineteenth century (Kunth, 1843) separated it into the genus Anticlea, but this was not widely accepted. Molecular phylogenetic studies in 2001 confirmed its placement with ten other species in the genus Anticlea. USDA PLANTS, Flora of North America, and NatureServe Explorer continue to use the old name Zigadenus elegans. Virtually all other authoritative sources use the new name.


Subordinate Taxa






Anticlea chlorantha

Zigadenus elegans ssp. glauca

Zigadenus elegans var. glauca

Zigadenus glauca


Common Names


death camas

mountain death camas

mountain deathcamas

white camas












Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.

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