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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

California False-hellebore - Veratrum californicum

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is known from a very localized area in the southwestern corner of the state.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    California False-hellebore (Veratrum californicum) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date =
General Description
California False-hellebore is a robust, herbaceous perennial with solitary, unbranched stems that are 1-2 m high and arising from thick rhizomes. The numerous, alternate, broadly elliptic, sessile leaves are 2-3 dm long, and they have entire margins and parallel veins and sheath the stem at the base. Foliage is glabrous below, with the stem becoming densely short-hairy above. The nearly sessile flowers are crowded in a narrow, erectly branched inflorescence that is 3-6 dm long. Each flower has 6 white, petal-like, narrowly elliptic tepals that are 10-15 mm long with green markings at the base. There are 6 stamens that are less than 1/2 as long as the tepals and a glabrous ovary that matures into an egg-shaped capsule that is 2-3 cm long.

Flowering in July-August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The more common and widespread Veratrum viride has greenish flowers, with petals that are 6-10 mm long and arranged on drooping branches of an open inflorescence.

Species Range

Range Comments
In Granite County; WA to MT south to CA, AZ and NM (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 22

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Wet meadows and streambanks in the montane and subalpine zones.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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Citation for data on this website:
California False-hellebore — Veratrum californicum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from