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Vascular Plants of California
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Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MelanthiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 10 genera, 130 species: northern hemisphere. Note: W North America Zigadenus moved to Toxicoscordion.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Dale W. McNeal, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ToxicoscordionView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: DEATH CAMAS
Stem: +- scapose. Leaf: +- basal, reduced upward, linear, generally folded, +- curved, entire, deciduous after 1 year. Inflorescence: raceme or panicle; flower bracts 1 (or reportedly 2). Flower: staminate, sterile, or generally bisexual; perianth parts 6, petal-like, free or +- fused to ovary base, white to +- yellow [or not], adaxially with [0]1[2] glands near base; stamens 6, free to +- attached to perianth; ovary superior, chambers 3, styles 3. Fruit: capsule, septicidal. Seed: many.
Species In Genus: +- 8 species: central United States, western North America. Etymology: (Greek: poison garlic, for poisonous bulb) Toxicity: All taxa highly TOXIC (generally unpalatable) to livestock, humans from alkaloids (especially in bulbs). Note: As treated in TJM (1993), Zigadenus polyphyletic, so California members transferred to Toxicoscordion (Zomlefer & Judd 2002 Novon 12:299--308).
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal & Wendy B. Zomlefer
Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum (M.E. Jones) R.R. Gates
Habit: Bulb 10--40 mm diam, ovoid; outer coat dark brown to black. Stem: 30--60 cm, glabrous. Leaf: 10--30 cm, 3--10 mm wide, scabrous-ciliate. Inflorescence: generally panicle, 10--35 cm, open; bracts 2--8 mm, green; pedicels in fruit generally spreading, 10--40 mm. Flower: on branches generally bisexual or staminate; perianth parts 5--8 mm, ovate to elliptic, +- obtuse, outer +- not clawed, inner clawed, gland distal margins evident; stamens +- 2/3 perianth; styles spreading or recurved. Fruit: 8--20 mm, oblong. Chromosomes: n=11.
Ecology: Sandy desert; Elevation: 600--1800 m. Bioregional Distribution: Teh, WTR, DMoj. Flowering Time: Apr--May
Synonyms: Zigadenus brevibracteatus (M.E. Jones) H.M. Hall
Jepson eFlora Author: Dale W. McNeal & Wendy B. Zomlefer
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Botanical illustration including Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum

botanical illustration including Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum


Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal & Wendy B. Zomlefer 2012, Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 23, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 23, 2019.

Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum
click for enlargement
© 2004 James M. Andre
Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum
click for enlargement
© 2005 James M. Andre
Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum
click for enlargement
© 2010 Aaron Schusteff
Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum
click for enlargement
© 2012 James M. Andre
Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum
click for enlargement
© 2004 James M. Andre
Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum
click for enlargement
© 2006 James M. Andre

More photos of Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Toxicoscordion brevibracteatum:
Teh, WTR, DMoj.
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.