Brodiaea elegans Hoover
Harvest Brodiaea, Elegant Cluster-lily
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
USDA Symbol: BREL
An umbel of several violet or blue-violet, funnel-shaped flowers at top of a leafless stalk with a few long, very narrow basal leaves that are usually withered by flowering time. Mounds of narrow leaves, 4-16 in. in height, arise in late winter to early spring and brown when the flower buds have swollen. The flowering stem is about the same height as the leaves, bearing a terminal umble of small, tubular, violet-pink flowers. The intensity of color and number of flowers varies within the species.
This plant begins to flower as fields dry out in the early summer. Several species of Brodiaea (pronounced bro-dee'-ah), are similar. In Harvest Brodiaea (B. coronaria), from British Columbia to southern California, the scales between the stamens are concave on their inner side, longer than the stamens and lean toward them. One of the most handsome is Wally Basket, Grass Nut, or Ithuriel's Spear (Triteleia laxa), which grows on heavy soils in grassland or brush from southern Oregon to southern California; it reaches a height of up to 28" (70 cm) and has many flowers in a large umbel, with 6 stamens and beneath the ovary a stalk 2-3 times its length.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall when flowering.
Fruit: Seeds black.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: CA , OR
Native Distribution: Monterey & Tulare Cos., CA to Hood River & Clackamas Cos., OR; occasional in the Willamette V. to s.e. OR
Native Habitat: Open or wooded plains or foothills
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Dry to moist, heavy soils.
Conditions Comments: Most Brodiaeas choose habitats where their tall, wiry flowering stems can be supported by other tall herbs. Though B. elegans has a stouter scape than other Brodiaeas, it will flop about if planted free of surrounding plants.
BenefitUse Food: Bulbs/corms consumed by indigenous peoples.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Plant untreated seed 1/4" deep. Thin to 3-5" if necessary by digging dormant cormlets and respacing. Plants from seed require 2-3 years to flower. Also can be propagated by digging mature corms in the fall and carefully dividing the offset corms. Pla
Seed Treatment: No treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
BibliographyBibref 1218 - Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources (2006) Anderson, M. Kat
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Brodiaea elegans in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Brodiaea elegans in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Brodiaea elegans
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-12-16
Research By: TWC Staff