California False-hellebore - Veratrum californicum
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.
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.
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.
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:
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(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
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.