Streptopus

Streptopus is a genus that is included in the expanded Asparagaceae by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III but it still considered as belonging to the Liliaceae family by other sources. This is a rhizomatous northern hemisphere genus native to temperate areas of North America, Europe, and Asia. Twisted-stalks are adapted to montane streambanks and seepages, deep dappled shade and conifer duff.


Streptopus amplexifolius(L.) DC. grows in moist rich soils in forests, woods, along streams from Europe to Asia and in North America from the coast to mid elevations from Alaska across Canada and south to California, south to the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico, and over much of the eastern United States. It is hardy to Zone 5 and grows to 30-90 cm (1-3 ft). It has branched stems, often bent at nodes and looking zig-zagged. Leaves are oval with a sharp point and clasp the stem and flowers are yellow, cream, or white, bell shaped and hang under the leaves on kinked or twisted stalks with the tips flaring out and curving upward. Flowers appear from May to July followed by berries that start out yellow or red and ripen to plum-purple and are favored by many birds. The fruit is edible, raw or cooked, and the tender young shoots can be used in cooking and the root is sometimes eaten raw in a salad and has a cucumber flavor. This plant also has medicinal uses. Photos taken on the Oregon coast May 2016 by Mary Sue Ittner and Bob Rutemoeller.

Streptopus amplexifolius, Bob RutemoellerStreptopus amplexifolius, Mary Sue IttnerStreptopus amplexifolius, Mary Sue IttnerStreptopus amplexifolius, Mary Sue IttnerStreptopus amplexifolius, Mary Sue Ittner

The plants pictured below from Paige Woodward are from seeds collected on the shaded banks of two rivers and a creek in British Columbia: the Chilliwack, the Raft and the Clanninick. Current taxonomy does not recognize varieties, but her photos were of what was known as var. chalazatus Fassett with hairless stems and smooth leaf margins.

Streptopus amplexifolius, Paige WoodwardStreptopus amplexifolius, Paige WoodwardStreptopus amplexifolius, Paige Woodward

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Page last modified on June 12, 2016, at 08:05 AM