Dichelostemma capitatum

Dichelostemma capitatum is commonly known as Blue Dicks. This plant is widespread in California, spilling into Oregon and Baja California from the coast to the foothills and even to the deserts. This species is part of the diverse flora growing on Table Rocks in Jackson County, Oregon. The flower stems appear from March to May, carrying umbrella-like flower clusters. The bell shaped flowers are usually lavender to violet, occasionally white or purplish pink, and unlike the other species in this genus have 6 stamens. The flower tube is not narrowed below the lobes as it is in the other two species that are much the same color and the filament crown is forked. It also varies greatly in how tall it is depending a lot of the habitat where it is found. Corms are reported to be edible and collected by Native Americans who lived in their native range. Research shows that removal of adult corms actually facilitates an increase in number of plants due to the many cormlets left in the ground as a result of the removal process. This species prefers to be grown in a deep container such as a 1 gallon pot where it can send its deep roots. It also likes to be fertilized during growth. It is susceptible to snails and slugs so protect the plant!

Photos 1-3 by Bob Rutemoeller show the flowers in the middle of a Lupine and then alone where the leaves are shown as well. Another view shows the tube. Photos 4-5 by Nhu Nguyen shows the vigorous root system of the plants. The thickened part of the root in photo 5 will eventually be consumed by the developing corm. Photo 6 by M. Gastil-Buhl shows corms grown by Jim Duggan on a 1 cm grid.

Dichelostemma capitatum, Bob RutemoellerDichelostemma capitatum, Bob RutemoellerDichelostemma capitatum tube, Bob RutemoellerDichelostemma capitatum, roots, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, roots, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, corms, M. Gastil-Buhl

In April of 2015, Travis Owen came across a large colony of Dichelostemma capitatum at the side of the road in Rogue River, Oregon. Photos below were of the colony, on a steep bank with Ceanothus, Toxicodendron, and Arbutus trees surrounding the patch.

Dichelostemma capitatum, April 2015, Travis OwenDichelostemma capitatum, April 2015, Travis OwenDichelostemma capitatum, April 2015, Travis OwenDichelostemma capitatum, April 2015, Travis Owen

In order to illustrate the natural variation by locality of these plants in California, they are listed by county, loosely north to south:

Dichelostemma capitatum, Humboldt County, Mary Sue IttnerDichelostemma capitatum, Humboldt County, Mary Sue IttnerDichelostemma capitatum, Humboldt County, Mary Sue Ittner
Dichelostemma capitatum, Butte Co., Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, white form, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, white form, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, white form, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, white form, Nhu Nguyen
Dichelostemma capitatum with Mimulus guttatus in serpentine, Lake County, Mary Sue Ittner
Dichelostemma capitatum, Bob RutemoellerDichelostemma capitatum, Mary Sue IttnerDichelostemma capitatum, Bob Rutemoeller
Dichelostemma capitatum, Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, Nhu Nguyen
Dichelostemma capitatum, Mount Diablo State Park, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, Mount Diablo State Park, Nhu Nguyen
Dichelostemma capitatum, HW140, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW140, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW140, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, Hite Cove, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, Hite Cove, Nhu Nguyen
Dichelostemma capitatum at Pinnacles National Monument, Mary Sue Ittner
Dichelostemma capitatum, San Luis Obispo County, Mary Sue Ittner
Dichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum in Kern County, Mary Sue Ittner
Dichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu NguyenDichelostemma capitatum, HW178, Mojave Desert, Nhu Nguyen
Dichelostemma capitatum, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Lee Poulsen
Dichelostemma capitatum, San Diego County, Jim Duggan

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Page last modified on May 26, 2016, at 08:55 AM