Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Dale W. McNeal, except as specified

Perennial to trees, from membranous bulb, fibrous corm, scaly rhizome, or erect caudex
Stem generally underground
Leaves generally basal, often withering early, alternate, generally ± linear
Inflorescence various, generally bracted
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; perianth often showy, segments generally 6 in two petal-like whorls (outer sometimes sepal-like), free or fused at base; stamens 6 (or 3 + generally 3 ± petal-like staminodes), filaments sometimes attached to perianth or fused into a tube or crown; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, placentas generally axile, style generally 1, stigmas generally 3
Fruit: generally capsule, loculicidal or septicidal (berry or nut)
Genera in family: ± 300 genera, 4600 species: especially ± dry temp and subtropical; many cultivated for ornamental or food; some TOXIC. Here includes genera sometimes treated in Agavaceae, Amaryllidaceae, and other families.



Perennial from bulb or rhizome
Stem ± scapose
Leaves many, ± basal (reduced upward), linear, generally folded, ± curved
Inflorescence: raceme or panicle
Flower bisexual, staminate, or sterile; perianth parts 6, petal-like, free or ± fused to ovary base, white to yellowish in CA, glands 1–2 near base; stamens 6, free to ± attached to perianth; ovary chambers 3, styles 3
Fruit: capsule, septicidal
Seeds many
Species in genus: ± 15 species: temp North America, Asia
Etymology: (Greek: yoke-gland, from gland shape of some)
All taxa should be considered highly TOXIC to livestock (generally unpalatable) and humans from alkaloids (especially in bulbs); caused serious illness to some members of Lewis & Clark Expedition.


Z. venenosus S. Watson var. venenosus

Bulb 12–25 mm diam, widely ovate; outer coats ± brown
Stem 15–70 cm, glabrous
Leaf 10–40 cm, 4–10 mm wide, scabrous-ciliate
Inflorescence raceme-like (sometimes with basal branches), 5–25 cm; pedicels erect or ascending, generally 10–20 mm
Flowers bisexual, 4–6 mm; perianth parts unequal, ± ovate, obtuse, outer 4–5.5 mm, generally subsessile, inner ± 4.5–6 mm, claw ± 1 mm, glands yellowish green; upper margin a heavy, irregular ridge; stamens = or > perianth; styles erect
Fruit 8–14 mm, cylindric
Chromosomes: n=11
Ecology: Moist meadows to dry rocky hillsides
Elevation: < 2600 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Central Western California, Western Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, c US, Arizona, n Baja California
Flowering time: Mostly May–Jul
Recent taxonomic note: Toxicoscordion venenosum (S. Watson) Rydb.
Horticultural information: SUN: 4, 5, 6 &IRR: 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

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