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Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides)

Life history

Species overview

Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides), a Wisconsin Endangered plant, is found in moist prairie remnants, especially along roads and railroad rights-of-way. Blooming occurs late April through late May; fruiting occurs early June. The optimal identification period for this species is late April through late May.

Synonyms: Camassia esculenta, Quamasia hyacinthina


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Stout spike bearing numerous 1 to 2 cm wide pale violet to white flowers with 6 petals; leaves all basal, 20 to 40cm long and no more than 1 cm wide.
  • Flower characteristics: Spike stout, 30 to 60 cm tall; flowers many, 1 to 2 cm wide, pale violet to white; petals 6.
  • Fruit characteristics: Rounded, veined capsule with few to several seeds.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal, many, 20 to 40 cm long and 5 to10 mm wide.


  • Blooming phenology: late April through late May
  • Fruiting phenology: early June
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late April through late May


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Allium canadense, Dodecatheon radicatum, Taenidia integerrima, Zizia aptera, Trillium grandiflorum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Phalaris arundinacea, Solidago canadensis, Geranium maculatum, Poa pratensis, Asclepias syriaca.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Camassia scilloides in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4G5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in moist prairie remnants, especially along roads and railroad rights-of-way.
  • Soils: Moist soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Wild Hyacinth. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Wet-mesic Prairie 3
Oak Woodland 1
Mesic Prairie 3
Oak Opening 1

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Wild Hyacinth. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.


Wild Hyacinth Photo.

Photo © Ted Cochrane.

Wild Hyacinth Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Wild Hyacinth Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Wild Hyacinth Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Wild Hyacinth Photo.

Photo by Travis Anderson, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition