Page author: David Giblin
Veratrum californicum
California false hellebore

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Washington south to California, east to the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: Moist meadows and woodlands, lowlands to subalpine.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, flies, wasps


Tall perennial herbs from thick rhizomes, the simple stem glabrous below, 1.5-2 m. tall.


Leaves numerous, alternate, cauline, ovate to broadly elliptic, 2-3 dm. long and over as broad, strongly sheathing at base, reduced upward.


Inflorescence a dense panicle, 3-6 dm. long, stiffly erect, the lower branches not drooping; pedicels 1-3 mm. long; perianth off-white to greenish tinged, saucer-shaped; tepals 6, distinct, lanceolate to elliptic, broadly clawed at base, 10-17 mm. long, nearly entire and glabrous; stamens 6, about as long as the tepals.


Capsule 2-3 cm. long, glabrous, narrowly ovoid, tipped with the persistent styles.

Accepted Name:
Veratrum californicum Durand
Publication: J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, ser. 2. 3: 103. 1855.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Veratrum californicum in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Veratrum californicum checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Veratrum californicum information.

E-Flora BC: Veratrum californicum atlas page.

CalPhotos: Veratrum californicum photos.

USDA Plants: Veratrum californicum information.

66 photographs:
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