16 responses to “Toxicoscordion venenosum”

  1. Pierre-Charles Crozat

    with a name like that it’s not tempting to put some in a salad (except maybe for my mother in law….oh, I didn’t say that!)

  2. Bonnie

    I like to practice my decades-old seventh-grade Latin on my email notifications, and when I saw this name I thought, “double death”? Gosh, I was pretty close. I can’t believe this plant hasn’t shown up in a few murder mysteries.

  3. Linda

    It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with these changes. Trilliums are also now Melanthiaceae. I see that our Ontario Zigadenus elegans ssp. glaucus is now Anticlea elegans, not a Toxicoscordion.
    It’s getting really confusing and difficult for amateur botanists like myself to stay on top of all the new taxonomy. Ironically, I find myself depending on the common names more and more–trilliums, asters, goldenrods, and now camas. I sound like an old fogey, but it is a challenge to stay current. So thanks for the heads up on this one.

  4. Anne

    Please tell us how the toxin works.

  5. Sue Frisch

    If it poisons honeybees et al., what does pollinate it?
    I have been growing Melanthium (now Veratrum, it turns out) virginicum, which led me to follow the links in the entry and discover several interesting facts. Thank you!

  6. natalie barringer

    What a sinister truth about such an innocent and beautiful little bloom. Thank you for such an interesting entry. Your site is a real gem and a delight to open each time.

  7. Charles Thirkill

    In defence of this plant, it is the favoured habitat of the Goldenrod
    crab spider. It is a treat to see a yellow or white spider hiding in the flowers for a bee or other large insect to trap with its legs, then kill them.
    The old Latin names are still valid. The new name merely becomes the current official name, and the old ones are relegated, but still apply. All Latin names should have the name of the nominator and the date, in brackets. So this is still Zygadenus venenosus (S.Wats.)
    Death camas is toxic, but I believe that, as with many toxic plants, sources differ on the potency. I think the CIPC would say that invasive plants like Tansy are far more of a problem than Death camas.
    Thanks for this service. It is a daily delight.

  8. Connie Hoge

    It sure is pretty. I especially like the 2nd photo. The light is so good it looks like 3-D.

  9. phillip

    ..now…now..now..Pierre-Charles Crozat…this is a family site..(er nightshade and castor bean extract work well…so i have heard)..

  10. Pat Willits

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — William Shakespeare

  11. Autumn

    Since Honeybees are newcomers to the new world. Most likely one of the native bees pollinates this
    Beautiful photos and thanks for the plethera of info!

  12. Carol

    Something pollinates them as mine seed themselves all over the place. I can see why the tribes pulled them up and marked the spot. I thought you had to ingest the plant somehow – that it’s not a contact toxin.

  13. Roderick "Rod" Sprague the 4th

    Charles Adams, the cartoonist who invented the Adams family included it in a list of plants doing well in the garden when Morticia Adams was writing a letter to Gomez.

  14. Bryant DeRoy

    Autumn,
    The study I came across, which noted the mortality in honeybees after they ingested nectar, did also mention that native bees were less susceptible to the toxin. Pretty cool!

  15. elizabeth a airhart

    my i guess we now know what may have happened
    to our ancestors when they arrived in the western lands
    i have often wondered why did they die so young
    i think we entered the twilight zone with this one
    i wonder if edward gorey had this one in his gardens

  16. Ida

    Couldn’t “they” have come up with a more distinctive family name? Melianthaceae – Melanthiaceae now that’s confusing!

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