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Dale W. McNeal, except as noted

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 non-flowering for several years, stalk dying after fruiting; rhizome woody, tuber-like. Stem: stout, simple, leafy. Leaf: persistent, wiry, tough, grass-like, strongly scabrous. Inflorescence: raceme, dense, ± club-shaped, longer (to 50 cm) in fruit. Flower: perianth parts free, oblong to ovate, persistent, ± white to cream, 5–7-veined; filaments wider at base, anthers attached near middle; style short, stigmas thread-like. Fruit: 3-angled, loculicidal. Seed: 9–18, oblong, 3-angled, black.
2 species: North America. (Greek: dry leaf, from tough, persistent leaves) [Fay et al. 2006 Aliso 22:559–565]
Unabridged references: [Fay, M. F., et al. 2006 Phylogenetics of Liliales: summarized evidence from combined analysis of five plastid and one mitochondrial loci. Aliso 22:559–565]

X. tenax (Pursh) Nutt.
Stem: 15–150 cm. Leaf: basal in dense clump, 30–100 cm, 2–6 mm wide; cauline many, reduced upward. Inflorescence: pedicels 2–5 cm, spreading to ± erect. Flower: 5–10 mm; perianth parts ± oblong; style ± 1 mm, stigma branches 2–4 mm. Fruit: 5–7 mm.
n=15. Dry open slopes, ridges, montane conifer forest; < 2300 m. Klamath Ranges, Outer North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, n High Sierra Nevada, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area; to British Columbia, Montana, Wyoming. May–Aug [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Xerophyllum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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click for enlargement Xerophyllum tenax
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1995 Saint Mary's College of California

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Xerophyllum tenax Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.