False Hellebore Family – Melanthiaceae
Mountain Death-camas is also called Alpine Death-camas and Elegant Death-camas. Former Latin name was Zigadenus elegans.
Plant Description: Mountain Death-camas has a 6 to 28-inch flowering stem emerging from a clump of long, stout, grass-like leaves, 4 to 15 inches long, flat or somewhat folded. The stem is coated with a white powder and is sometimes pinkish. It has a few leaves, reduced in size as they alternate up the stem, and a open, branched cluster of a few to several flowers.
Flower Description: The flowers are .5 inches across. The 6 petals are cream or greenish-white, oval in shape, and have yellowish or greenish, heart-shaped glands at their base, which form a cirlcle inside the flower. The 6 stamen are about the same length as the petals and are attached to the base of the petal.
Ecology: Mountain Death-camas grows along lakeshores and in moist sites in forests, meadows, rocky slopes and open grasslands in subalpine and alpine zones.
1) Mountain Death-camas has been moved from the Lily Family to the False Hellebore Family. See “APG Changes” page
2) Mountain Death-camas is foul-smelling and all parts of the plant are very poisonous.
Mountain Death-camas Photo Gallery
Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across