mountain death camas

(Anticlea elegans var. elegans)

Conservation Status
mountain death camas (var. elegans)
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Mountain death camas is a 4 to 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from a layered, unclustered, narrowly egg-shaped bulb.

There are 10 or fewer basal leaves. They are grass-like, linear, 4 to 11¾ long, to wide, hairless, untoothed, and sometimes but not always covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous).

The stem is erect, hairless and glaucous, with a few much smaller leaves.

The inflorescence is usually a narrow, unbranched cluster (raceme), sometimes a 1 or 2 branched cluster (panicle), of 10 to 50 flowers at the top of the stem.

The flowers are subtended with egg-shaped bracts which, at full flower, are tinged with pink or purple and are wilted but persistent.

The flowers are bell-shaped and to ¾ in diameter. There are 3 whitish or greenish-yellow petals and 3 similar, petal-like sepals (6 tepals). The tepals are oblong to egg-shaped and have a green, inversely heart-shaped gland just below the middle.

The fruit is a narrowly cone-shaped, 3-lobed, to ¾ long capsule.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

4 to 24

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Whitish or greenish-yellow

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  White camas (Anticlea elegans ssp. glauca) is a larger plant. The leaves are always glaucous. The inflorescence is usually a branched cluster (panicle). In Minnesota the ranges overlap and the two subspecies intergrade.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Beaches, prairies, bogs in coniferous forests

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
  July to August  
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 30.

 
  4/24/2021      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  
 

Order

Liliales (lilies, supplejacks, and allies)  
 

Family

Melanthiaceae (bunchflowers)  
  Tribe Melanthieae  
 

Genus

Anticlea (death camas)  
  Species Anticlea elegans (mountain death camas)  
       
 

Mountain death camas was formerly included in the genus Zigadenus. However, that species was broadly defined and lacked very distinctive morphological features. In the nineteenth century (Kunth, 1843) separated it into the genus Anticlea, but this was not widely accepted. Molecular phylogenetic studies in 2001 confirmed its placement with ten other species in the genus Anticlea. USDA PLANTS, Flora of North America, and NatureServe Explorer continue to use the old name Zigadenus elegans.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Zigadenus alpinus

Zigadenus elegans ssp.elegans

Zigadenus elegans var.elegans

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

death camas

mountain death camas

mountain deathcamas

white camas

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Tepal

Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.

       
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Plant

  mountain death camas (var. elegans)    
       

Inflorescence

  mountain death camas (var. elegans)    
       

Flower

  mountain death camas (var. elegans)   mountain death camas (var. elegans)
       
  mountain death camas (var. elegans)    
       
       

 

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