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Scoliopus bigelovii

Scoliopus bigelovii Torr.

Brownies, California Fetid Adderstongue, Slink Pod

Liliaceae (Lily Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A neat woodland lily with two, broad, purple-mottled basal leaves and one to four leafless flowering stems. Both the leaves and flowering stems are 4-8 in. long. Each flowering stem bears a single, small, greenish flower with mottled and veined outer sepals and inner, wiry petals. The flowers have a carrion-like odor. After flowering, the erect stems begins to bend to the ground. By maturity, the capsule is laying on the ground and simply decays, releasing its seed. A peculiar little plant with 3-12 leafless, 3-sided stalks, each topped by 1 dull reddish-brown and green flower, growing between 2 basal leaves mottled with maroon patches.

The genus name, from the Greek skolios (crooked) and pous (foot), as well as the common names Slink Lily and Slink Pod, refer to the way the flower stalk bends and sprawls on the ground as the pod matures. The flowers have an unpleasant odor (hence the common name Fetid Adders-tongue), which is what probably attracts flies as pollinators. The smaller Halls Fetid Adders-tongue (S. hallii) grows in western Oregon. Another common name for S. bigelovii is Brownies.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar


Native Distribution: Humboldt to Santa Cruz Cos., CA
Native Habitat: Moist, shaded slopes below 1500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Needs protection from slugs.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Scoliopus bigelovii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Scoliopus bigelovii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Scoliopus bigelovii


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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