Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Toxicoscordion venenosum var. venenosum

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.
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 venenosum (S. Watson) Rydb. var. venenosum
Habit: Bulb 12--25 mm diam, widely ovate; outer coat +- brown. Stem: 15--70 cm, glabrous. Leaf: 10--40 cm, 4--10 mm wide, scabrous-ciliate. Inflorescence: raceme except occasionally with 1 branch below, 5--25 cm; bracts 5--25 mm, white-membranous to generally green; pedicels in fruit spreading to generally ascending, 3--25 mm. Flower: bisexual; perianth parts 4--6 mm, +- ovate, obtuse, outer generally with claw < 5 mm, inner clawed, gland distal margin evident or not; stamens =, occasionally > perianth; styles erect. Fruit: 8--14 mm, cylindric. Chromosomes: n=11.
Ecology: Moist meadows to dry rocky hillsides; Elevation: < 2600 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, CW, WTR, PR, GB, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, central United States, Arizona, northern Baja California. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Synonyms: Zigadenus venenosus S. Watson var. venenosus
Jepson eFlora Author: Dale W. McNeal & Wendy B. Zomlefer
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Toxicoscordion venenosum var. venenosum

botanical illustration including Toxicoscordion venenosum var. venenosum

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Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal & Wendy B. Zomlefer 2012, Toxicoscordion venenosum var. venenosum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 24, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 24, 2024.

Toxicoscordion venenosum  
var. venenosum
click for enlargement
©2005 Steve Matson
Toxicoscordion venenosum  
var. venenosum
click for enlargement
©2011 Barry Rice
Toxicoscordion venenosum  
var. venenosum
click for enlargement
©2005 Steve Matson
Toxicoscordion venenosum  
var. venenosum
click for enlargement
©2001 George W. Hartwell
Toxicoscordion venenosum  
var. venenosum
click for enlargement
©2010 Barry Breckling

More photos of Toxicoscordion venenosum var. venenosum
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Toxicoscordion venenosum var. venenosum:
NW, CaR, SN, CW, WTR, PR, GB, DMtns
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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 (fruiting time in some monocot genera).