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MELANTHIACEAE FALSE-HELLEBORE FAMILY

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

VERATRUM CORN LILY, FALSE-HELLEBORE
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.
± 25 species: northern temperate. (Latin: dark roots) Alkaloids used medicinally and TOXIC to both livestock and humans.

Key to Veratrum

Previous taxon: Trillium ovatum subsp. ovatum
Next taxon: Veratrum californicum var. californicum

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Apr 23 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2012. Veratrum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=9566, accessed on Apr 23 2014

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