Liliaceae - lily family

Gerald A. Mulligan
Research Scientist and Research Institute Director (retired) and presently Honorary Research Associate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6, Canada

Awarded the George Lawson Medal by the Canadian Botanical Association in 2006.
Awarded the Faculty of Macdonald, McGill University, Most Distinguished Alumni Award on October 18, 2014.
Read his biography "The Real Weed Man" available in print and ebook.

Veratrum viride Aiton, hellebore, vérâtre (eastern and western populations)
Tall coarse native herbs with thick rootstocks. In moist woods and open slopes. False hellebore occurs in the eastern part of our area whereas showy false hellebore is found in the extreme west. The two widely separated populations are often considered different varieties or subspecies. Both have caused sicknesses and deaths of humans, sheep, cattle, and poultry.

Zigadenus elegans Pursh, smooth camas, zigadene élégant and Zigadenus venenosus S. Watson, meadow camas, zigadene vénéneux
Bulbous perennials, from 1 to 2 feet (3 to 6 dm) tall, flowers greenish white to yellow. Smooth camas is widespread in moist meadows and open woods. Meadow camas is mostly confined to the plains and hillsides of our western prairie. Both smooth camas and meadow camas are very poisonous. Ingestion of their bulbs has caused sicknesses and deaths of humans. Grazing of all plant parts has resulted in sickness and death in sheep, cattle, and horses. Meadow camas has been especially deadly for grazing sheep.

Click on a photo to view an enlarged image.
Weed Name Photo Weed Name Photo
false hellebore, vérâtre vert
(herbarium specimen)
showy false hellebore, vérâtre d’Eschscholtz
(herbarium specimen)
smooth camas, zigadene élégant meadow camas, zigadene vénéneux
(herbarium specimen)
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