Zigadenus elegans Pursh - Death Camas

Zigadenus elegans plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - No info. yet.

Leaves - No info. yet.

Zigadenus elegans leavesLeaves in-situ.

Inflorescence - No info. yet.

Zigadenus elegans inflorescence

Zigadenus elegans bractBract of inflorescence.

Flowers - No info. yet.

Zigadenus elegans flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - June - August.

Habitat - Crevices and ledges of north-facing dolomite bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This attractive species has only been found in 4 Ozark counties in Missouri. The plant is a glacial relic which has remained after the retreat of the last Pleistocene ice sheets. It survives only in the shaded, north-facing dolomite bluffs in southern Missouri.
The pictures above show how the plant grows in Missouri. Plants from more northern states and Canada have an erect and much more robust habit. There are currently two debated subspecies of this plant. Our plants belong to subspecies glaucus (Nutt.) Hulten. Subspecies elegans is a more western plant. Esther Stroh of the USGS is working with these plants and is looking to see if disjunct populations from the Appalachians and the Ozarks are genetically different from those populations in the plants northern range.
Z. elegans is a toxic species which contains many alkaloids.

Photographs taken along the Jack's Fork River, Shannon County, MO., 6-22-03.


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