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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

XEROPHYLLUM BEAR-GRASS, BASKET-GRASS
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]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Sep 22 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Xerophyllum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=9567, accessed on Sep 22 2014

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