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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

55. Chlorogalum Kunth, Enum. Pl. 4: 681. 1843.
[name conserved]

Soap plant, amole [Greek chloros, green, and gala, milk, alluding to the lather-producing juice of the bulbs]

Judy Jernstedt

Laothoë Rafinesque 1837, name rejected

Herbs, perennial, from tunicate bulbs. Leaves basal; blade linear, reduced to scarious bracts in inflorescence. Inflorescences paniculate. Flowers scattered at intervals along branches, 1–several per node, each subtended by small bract; perianth white, purple, or pinkish; tepals 6, distinct, linear to oblong, with nectaries at base, persisting in fruit and twisting together above capsule; stamens 6, inserted on bases of tepals; anthers versatile; style slightly 3-lobed at apex; pedicel articulate. Fruits capsular, 3-valved, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds 1 or 2 per locule.

Species 5 (5 in the flora): w North America, mainly California.

Based on floral characters, chromosome numbers, and karyotypes, Chlorogalum probably is closely related to Camassia, from which it differs primarily in the number of ovules per locule (1 or 2 in Chlorogalum, more than 2 in Camassia).


Hoover, R. F. 1940. A monograph of the genus Chlorogalum. Madroño 5: 137–176. Jernstedt, J. A. 1980. Ultraviolet absorbtion by flowers of Chlorogalum (Liliaceae). Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 107: 163–171.

1 Flowers diurnal.   (2)
+ Flowers vespertine.   (3)
2 (1) Tepals white or pinkish; flowers or buds 2 or more per axil.   4 Chlorogalum parviflorum
+ Tepals deep blue to purple; flowers and buds occurring singly along inflorescence axis.   5 Chlorogalum purpureum
3 (1) Leaves 2–5 mm wide, margins not strongly undulate.   3 Chlorogalum angustifolium
+ Leaves 6–25 mm wide, margins strongly undulate.   (4)
4 (3) Pedicel 5–35 mm, ca. equal to or exceeding perianth.   1 Chlorogalum pomeridianum
+ Pedicel 2–5 mm, much shorter than perianth.   2 Chlorogalum grandiflorum

Lower Taxa


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