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Perennial herb, from rhizome or bulb, or rhizomes ending in weakly developed bulbs, scapose or not. Leaf: alternate, whorled, or mostly basal and spirally arranged, deciduous after 1 year or not. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: perianth parts 6, in 2 petal-like whorls or of sepals and petals, free or fused below, ± spreading; stamens 6, from perianth, anthers attached at base or near middle; ovary superior or partly inferior, chambers 3, styles 3, persistent. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal or septicidal.
10 genera, 130 species: northern hemisphere. W North America Zigadenus moved to Toxicoscordion. —Scientific Editors: Dale W. McNeal, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Key to Melanthiaceae
Plant coarse, leafy; rhizome thick. Stem: erect, 1–2 m, simple, hollow. Leaf: many, alternate, lanceolate to widely ovate, clasping, generally acute at tip, coarse-veined, reduced upward. Inflorescence: panicle; flowers many. Flower: bisexual or staminate; perianth parts 6, free, spreading, petal-like, white or ± green to red-brown, nectary glands 1–2 near base; stamens 6, attached to perianth; ovary ± inferior, chambers 3, styles 3, short, stigmas long. Fruit: capsule, septicidal.Key to Veratrum
± 25 species: northern temperate. (Latin: dark roots) Alkaloids used medicinally and TOXIC to both livestock and humans.
Leaf: elliptic to widely ovate; lower 15–35 cm, sparsely curly-ciliate, abaxially hairy, adaxially veins sparsely short-hairy. Inflorescence: generally 30–70 cm, open, woolly; branches ± spaced, lower drooping; pedicels 2–5 mm. Flower: 6–10 mm; perianth parts oblanceolate to oblong, green to ± yellow, ± irregularly toothed, adaxially hairy, glands 2, elliptic, dark green or ± yellow; stamens ± 1/2 perianth; ovary glabrous. Fruit: 2–3 cm, oblong-ovoid. Seed: 7–10 mm, widely winged.
n=16. Wet subalpine meadows; 1500–2000 m. Klamath Ranges; to Alaska, eastern North America. [Veratrum viride var. eschscholzianum (Roem. & Schult.) Breitung] Aug–Sep [Online Interchange]
Previous taxon: Veratrum insolitum
Next taxon: Xerophyllum
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Jul 25 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Veratrum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=47830, accessed on Jul 25 2014
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Charles Webber © 2000 California Academy of Sciences
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