General: Perennial herb from a deep, scaly, egg-shaped bulb 3-5 cm long; flowering stems 20-70 cm tall, smooth.
Leaves: Basal leaves several, linear and grass-like, 10-40 cm long, 2-6 (10) mm wide, smooth, keeled, finely rough-margined; stem leaves 2 to 4, reduced upward becoming bract-like.
Flowers: Inflorescence a fairly compact to elongate, terminal cluster of several to many, stalked flowers, the stalks 0.5-3 cm long, ascending to erect; flowers creamy-white, bell- to saucer-shaped, of 6 distinct tepals, the tepals narrowly egg-shaped, 4-5 mm long, the inner 3 slightly longer than the outer 3, each with a yellowish-green, somewhat indistinct gland near the base just above the claw; stamens 6; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Fruits: Capsules, oblong-elliptic, 3-lobed, 0.8-1.5 cm long; seeds numerous, brown, 5-6 mm long.
Notes: Two varieties occur in BC:
1. Upper stem leaves with papery sheaths; 3 outer tepals unstalked or short-clawed, only the inner 3 long-clawed............ var. gramineus (Rydb.) Walsh ex M.E. Peck
1. Upper stem leaves without sheaths; all 6 tepals equally clawed........... var. venenosus
1. Tepals less than 7 mm long; ovaries superior; floral glands less distinctive and unlobed.............Zigadenus venenosus (two varieties)
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Habitat / Range
Dry to mesic grassy or rocky slopes, meadows, forest edges and open forests in the lowland to subalpine zones; common in S BC south of 52degreeN (var. venenosus - predominantly along the coast, var. gramineus - more common in the interior); var. gramineus - E to SW SK and S to NE, NM, UT, ID and OR; var. venenosus - E to AB and S to UT, NV, CA and N Baja CA.
A shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Western North American herb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs on very dry to moderately dry, nutrient-medium soils within temperate, cool semiarid, and mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and precipitation and increases with temperature. Common in grassy communities on very shallow, often melanized soils on rock outcrops. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2017. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
18/08/2019 1:39:42 AM
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