Chlorogalum

Kunth

Enum. Pl. 4: 681. 1843

Common names: Soap plant amole
Etymology: Greek chloros, green, and gala, milk, alluding to the lather-producing juice of the bulbs
Basionyms: Laothoë Rafinesque 1837
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 307. Mentioned on page 20, 21, 58, 204, 303, 308.
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.

Distribution

w North America, mainly Calif.

Discussion

Species 5 (5 in the flora).

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).

Key

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