Chlorogalum

Chlorogalum is a genus of 5 species mostly from California but extending into Oregon and Mexico. Formerly considered to be part of the Liliaceae family, Dahlgren placed this genus in the Hyacinthaceae family, but DNA now suggests they be assigned to the Agavaceae family. They have fibrous-coated bulbs that produce long, basal leaves with tall loosely branched stems with starry flowers.


Chlorogalum parviflorum is a somewhat smaller version of C. pomeridianum, with smaller flowers and bulbs. Its range is restricted to California's South Coast floristic province. The flowers open during the day. They are quite common where I live in San Diego, especially in Mission Trails Regional Park. Photos from Jim Duggan.

Chlorogalum parviflorum, Jim DugganChlorogalum parviflorum, Jim Duggan

Chlorogalum pomeridianum is a bulb found on grassy road banks, open meadows, and slopes in southern Oregon and California. It has basal rosettes of attractive wavy margined leaves that appear late winter and widely branched panicles of fragrant flowers that bloom in summer. The leaf margins have various degree of undulation based on sun exposure. The flowers open late afternoon, are pollinated by night insects, and fade by morning. Flowers appear over a long period. The plants has a brief dormancy in fall. This one is an easy garden plant that can be grown from seed. The first 4 photos by Bob Rutemoeller showing the leaves and a close-ups of the small flowers and a number blooming late afternoon. It can increase a bit too much in places where it is happy and deer cannot get to the flowers, but still makes quite a nice sight late afternoon and early evening with all the starry flowers. Photo 5 from John Ingram is of a one growing in habitat in Southern California. The blooms were blasted for some reason but still a great looking plant. Photo 6 shows a plant found on Ring Mountain, California on serpentine. This form has leaves that are glaucous blue.

Chlorogalum pomeridianum leaves, Bob RutemoellerChlorogalum pomeridianum flowers, Bob RutemoellerChlorogalum pomeridianum close up, Bob RutemoellerChlorogalum pomeridianum, Bob RutemoellerChlorogalum pomeridianum in habitat, John IngramChlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu Nguyen

The photos below were taken in habitat by Nhu Nguyen. Photo 1 was taken in Henry Coe State Park, CA. Photo 2-3 were taken on Mount Diablo. Photo 3 was taken in April 2010 of many plants growing in conjunction with California poppies and Dichelostemma capitatum.

Chlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu NguyenChlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu NguyenChlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu Nguyen

The photos below of various aspects of the flowers were taken by Nhu Nguyen on Ring Mountain, Marin Co., CA in June 2010.

Chlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu NguyenChlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu NguyenChlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu NguyenChlorogalum pomeridianum, Nhu Nguyen

Variegated forms can sometimes be seen. Here is an example of a marginata variegated form. Two year old seedlings of self-pollinated flowers from this plant have not yet shown any variegation. Photo by Kipp McMichael.

Chlorogalum pomeridianum variegated, Kipp McMichael

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