Herb: Wild Hyacinth

Latin name: Camassia leichtlinii

Synonyms: Chlorogalum leichtlinii

Family: Hyacinthaceae

Edible parts of Wild Hyacinth:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The raw bulb has a mild, starchy flavour, but a gummy texture that reduces the enjoyment of it somewhat. It is excellent when slow baked, however, developing a sweet flavour and making a very good potato substitute. The cooked bulb can also be dried for later use or ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups or as an additive to cereal flours when making bread, cakes etc. The bulbs can be boiled down to make a molasses, this was used on festival occasions by various Indian tribes. One report says that the bulbs contain inulin (a starch that cannot be digested by humans) but that this breaks down when the bulb is cooked slowly to form the sugar fructose which is sweet and easily digested.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Meadows, prairies and hillsides that are moist, at least in early spring.

Propagation of Wild Hyacinth:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in spring. It usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15C, but it can be erratic. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and allow the seedlings to grow on undisturbed for their first year. Give an occasional liquid feed to ensure that the plants do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants are dormant in late summer, pot up the small bulbs putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another one or two years in a cold frame before planting them out when dormant in late summer. Offsets in late summer. The bulb has to be scored in order to produce offsets.

Cultivation of the herb:

Meadows, prairies and hillsides that are moist, at least in early spring.

Medicinal use of Wild Hyacinth:

None known

Known hazards of Camassia leichtlinii:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.