Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sandbog Death-camas - Zigadenus glaberrimus   Michaux
Members of Melanthiaceae:
Only member of Zigadenus in NC.
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Melanthiaceae
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DistributionFound over most of the Coastal Plain, but apparently absent from the far northeastern counties. As it is found in southeastern VA, it likely is present in a few additional counties toward the VA border.

A Coastal Plain species, found from southeastern VA south to western FL and MS. Oddly, it is scarce in GA and FL, and its main core areas are in eastern NC and SC, and again in southern AL and MS.
AbundanceIn well-managed conservation areas, it can be fairly common to common, such as in coastal savannas and locally in the Sandhills region. However, it is generally uncommon in much of the province between these two areas, with records still lacking from some (such as Sampson and Wayne counties northward through Nash and Edgecombe). It is certainly quite rare in the northern half of the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a characteristic species of pine savannas, but it is also frequently seen in sandhill seepages and streamhead ecotones. It can be found along pocosin borders and other boggy places such as ditches, though usually close to savannas. It does best in fire-managed systems.
PhenologyFlowers from late June to early September, and fruits from August to November.
IdentificationThis is another tall lily with a clump of basal leaves and white or creamy-white flowers. The leaves reach about 9-12 inches long but only about 1/3-inch wide, like many other such species. The flowering stalk grows to about 3 feet tall, but in this species the flowers are widely scattered and not in a dense raceme. Each flower is somewhat creamy-white but is nearly 1 inch across, and each tepal has 2 green dots near the base. This inflorescence can often be at least 1 foot high or more, such that an observer can spot a blooming plant at a great distance across a savanna. There are really no other confusing species in the savannas or seepages where it grows, at least once it flowers. A visit to a savanna in late July or August can often be spectacular, as several orchid species (such as Platanthera species), Pine Lily (Lilium catesbaei), and many other striking species such as this one can be found in bloom.
Taxonomic CommentsNone. The is the only species of Zigadenus from the RAB (1968) days to not be moved to another genus!

Other Common Name(s)Large Death-camas, Snakeroot
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieEastwood Powerline rare plant site, streamhead ecotone, June 1995. MoorePhoto_natural
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