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Mr. Smarty Plants - Origin of name Bluedicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)

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Friday - March 21, 2008

From: Avalon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Origin of name Bluedicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Why are Blue Dicks called that? I do a weekly wildflower update on the radio and I don't know the answer!

ANSWER:

Neither do we.  Blue Dicks (or Bluedicks) is a common name for Dichelostemma capitatum, a Southwestern US native in the family Liliaceae.  Dichelostemma refers to appendages on the stamens.  Depending on which literature you search, you may find this species listed under the synonymous names Brodiaea capitata, Brodiaea pulchells, Dichelostemma lacuna-vernalis, Dichelostemma pulchellum, Dichelostemma pulchellum var. capitatum, or Hookera pulchella.  Unfortunately, we could find no references which described the origin of the common, Blue Dicks.  Our conjecture, though, is that the name has its origin in the colorful language of early California miners or settlers.

 

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