Anticlea elegans (Pursh) Rydb.

mountain death camas

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Mountain death camas is very rare in New England, being known only from the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont, where it grows on lakshore headlands and bluffs on high-pH bedrock. It is poisonous to humans and cattle, and a common source of poisoning in sheep. The flowers have a characteristic unpleasant odor.

Habitat

Cliffs, balds, or ledges, ridges or ledges, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Vermont
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade shape
the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
Leaf blade length
100–300 mm
Flower petal color
  • green to brown
  • white
Flower petal length
7–12 mm
Petal fusion
the perianth parts are separate
Inflorescence type
  • the inflorescence is a panicle (branched with the individual flowers on stalks)
  • the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
Ovary position
  • the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
  • the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
Fruit length
10–20 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached at its midpoint to the filament
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused (the number of carpels equals the number of locules)
    Flower bract length
    5–20 mm
    Flower bracts
    there are bracts associated with the flower
    Flower number
    10–50
    Flower orientation
    the flowers point upward or spread or curve outward
    Flower petal color
    • green to brown
    • white
    Flower petal length
    7–12 mm
    Flower shape
    • the flower is bell-shaped
    • the flower is flattened or platter-shaped
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Form of style
    the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence hair glands
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence length
    100–300 mm
    Inflorescence type
    • the inflorescence is a panicle (branched with the individual flowers on stalks)
    • the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    Inflorescence width
    30–60 mm
    Length of flower stalk
    10–23 mm
    Length of peduncle
    90–250 mm
    Marks on petals
    • the petals have spots or streaks on them
    • there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    3
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals and/or petals
    there are six petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    3
    Ovary position
    • the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    • the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Petal nectaries
    there are nectaries at the petal bases
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal length
    7–12 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spathe
    the plant does not have a spathe
    Spathe form
    NA
    Spathe length
    0 mm
    Stamen length
    3.5–12 mm
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen types
    the stamens within a cycle are all similar
    Stamens fused outwards
    the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    the petals and sepals are similar in size and color
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Fruit compartments
    there are three locules in the fruit
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit length
    10–20 mm
    Fruit stalk orientation
    the fruits point upward or spread or curve outward
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Other markings on berry
    NA
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Underground organs
    the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades do not have basal lobes
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf blade clasps the stem at the base, or the leaf blade goes all the way around the stem, so that the stem appears to pierce the leaf blade
    • the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    NA
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf blade has a noticeable waxy or powdery bloom
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    100–300 mm
    Leaf blade orientation
    the upper surface of the leaf blade faces the stem of the plant
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are parallel or slightly arched in the direction of the tip
    Leaf blade width
    3–15 mm
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Leaflet number
    0
    Stipule twining
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on this plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • ridges or ledges
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is held upright
    Flowering stem leaves
    • there are no true leaves on the flowering stem
    • there is at least one fully-formed leaf on the flowering stem
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly or completely hairless

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

ssp. glaucus

Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Anticlea elegans (Pursh) Rydb. var. glaucus (Nutt.) Zomlefer & Judd
  • Anticlea glauca (Nutt.) Kunth
  • Melanthium glaucum Nutt.
  • Zigadenus elegans Pursh var. glaucus (Nutt.) Preece ex Cronq.

Family

Melanthiaceae

Genus

Anticlea

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our subspecies is Anticlea elegans (Pursh) Rydb. ssp. glaucus (Nutt.) A. Haines.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Anticlea elegans (Pursh) Rydb. ssp. glaucus (Nutt.) A. Haines NC

mountain death camas. Anticlea elegans (Pursh) Rydb. var. glaucus (Nutt.) Zomlefer & Judd; 
 A. glauca (Nutt.) Kunth; Melanthium glaucum Nutt.; Zigadenus elegans Pursh var. glaucus (Nutt.) Preece ex Cronq. • VT; known only from Lake Champlain. Lakeshore headlands and bluffs composed of high-pH bedrock.