All species are prerennial, but most are herbaceous (not having a woody stem) and die back, after flowering or fruiting, to underground bulbs, corms, or rhizomes. New plants form from bulb division or sprout from seeds, but usually do not begin flowering until about the fourth year, after the bulb has developed sufficiently.
The flowers have 3 petals and 3 sepals, often very similar (in which they are referred to as perianth segments: you needed to know that, I'm sure.) There are typically 6 stamens. The fruit is either dry and cracking at maturity or fleshy in certain species - it is divided into 3 segments. There are few exceptions to the above general description.
Flowers: White, turning pink with age; single flower; 3 oval petals sitting 2 inches above the plant's major leaves. Interior parts of flower reddish.
Blooms: February - March.
Leaves: Solid, green to dark-green, large and triangular; three per plant, radiating off stout stem above the ground.
Fruit/Seeds: Fleshy yellow 3-sided capsule filled with tiny seeds.
Location: Shady, moist trails. Often growing in bottom story of bushy areas. Plaskon Nature Trail (San Pedro Valley County Park), Saddle Pass area on San Pedro Road (McNee Ranch State Park).
Status: Native - Common, but not easy to find.
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|Further description & Comment: Up to 1 ft tall. The pictures above right and below left show a mature flower, already pink with age. Note the reddish interior parts of the flowers, the separation of the flower from the leaves and the solid green, unmottled leaves that distinguish it from Sweet Trillium(T. albidum) and Giant Trillium (T. chloropetalum). The image below right shows the developing 3-chambered seed pod.|
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Flowers: Blue to violet, funnel-like, six petals bent open from funnel; in loose clusters at top of stem.
Blooms: April - June.
Leaves: Grass like, at base of stem.
Location: Grassy trails, open areas.
Status: Native - Common.
Further description & Comment: 6 inches - 2 ft tall; stout stem.
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Ithuriel's Spear/Wally Basket
You must say, Liliaceae certainly has the most interesting common names.
Flowers: White, six pointed petals, star shaped; in loose spike clusters at end of stem.
Blooms: March - April.
Leaves: Narrow and long, at base.
Fruit/Seeds: In 1 - 2 inches upright, lingering pods. May.
Location: Dry trails; Montara Mountain Trail.
Status: Native - Common.
Further description & Comment: 2 - 3 ft tall, stout stems.
Photo by Mike Vasey
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