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Zigadenus nuttallii (A. Gray) S. Watson
Nuttall's Death Camas, Death Camas, Poison-onion
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Synonym(s): Toxicoscordion nuttallii
USDA Symbol: ZINU
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
This common prairie flower grows 1-2 feet tall and has long, narrow leaves near the bottom of the plant. The stout stems grow out of a large, black-coated bulb, which is poisonous, as are all parts of the plant, even when dry. Sheep are often poisoned by it. Flowers are cream-colored, 1/2 inch across, growing around the top of the stem in a round-topped cluster. The stamens have large yellow anthers.
This species is similar to Camas (Z. leimanthoides) but has a papery, not fibrous, coat on the bulbous base.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr
DistributionUSA: AR , KS , LA , MO , OK , TN , TX
Native Distribution: Kansas east to Missouri and Tennessee, south to Louisiana, west to Texas, and north to Oklahoma.
Native Habitat: Prairies and open woodlands.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Conditions Comments: Poisonous leaves arise from a dark bulb. Said to be rare because Indians would weed them from their Camus plots. Death Camus (Zigadenus nuttallii) vegatative and flower growth is very similar to the edible Camus (Camassia sp.); great care should be taken to become familiar with Death Camus as all parts of the plant are poisonous.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
BibliographyBibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Zigadenus nuttallii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Zigadenus nuttallii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Zigadenus nuttallii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-10-23
Research By: LAL