Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Veratrum californicum E.M. Durand
- Family: Lily (Liliaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: This plant is easily identified by its coarse stature, its large, coarsely veined leaves, and its white or greenish white flowers borne in a terminal erect panicle.
- Habitat: Along streams, around lakes, in wet meadows.
- Habit: Coarse perennial herb with short, thick rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, stout, unbranched except in the inflorescence, smooth or hairy in the
inflorescence, up to 8 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, broadly elliptic to ovate, up to 15 inches long, up to 8 inches wide, hairy, with conspicuous veins, pointed or rounded at the tip, rounded and sometimes
clasping the stem at the base.
- Flowers: Many crowded into an erect, terminal panicle, the panicle up to 2 feet long;
flower stalks up to 1/4 inch long.
- Sepals and Petals: 6, similar, white or greenish white, lanceolate to elliptic, up to 3/4 inch long, united below.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3.
- Fruits: Capsules ovoid, up to 1 1/2 inches long, smooth, containing many pale, flat seeds up to 3/4 inch long.
- Notes: Some of the flowers may only have stamens, while others may have both stamens
and pistils. The stems and leaves are sometimes browsed by larger mammals.
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