This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
An erect glabrous slightly fleshy herb, with a bitter tuberous rootstock. Basal leaves spatulate, those of the stem lanceolate. Flowers small, white, dioecious, in a long narrow bractless spike-like raceme. Perianth of 6 linear-spatulate i-nerved segments. Staminate flowers with 6 stamens, the filaments filiform, the anthers subglobose, 2-celled; pistillate flowers with a 3-celled oblong ovary, 3 short styles, stigmatic along the inner side, and usually with 6 staminodia. Capsules erect, slightly 3-lobed, loculicidally 3-valved. Seeds 6-12 in each cavity, broadly winged at both ends, narrowly winged on the sides. [Greek, signifying a low lily.]
A monotypic genus of eastern North America.
Veratrum luteum L. Sp. Ph 1044. 1753-Chamaelirium carolinianum Willd. Mag. Nat. Fr.
Berl. 2:19. 1808. Chamaelirium luteum A. Gray, Man. 503. 1848. C. obovale Small, Torreya 1: 108. 1901.
Staminate plant 1 1/20-2 1/2° tall, the pistillate often taller, sometimes 40 high. Basal leaves 2r-8' long, 1/2'-1 1/2' wide, mostly obtuse, tapering into a long-petiole; stem leaves lanceolate, the or upper linear, acute or acuminate, sessile or the lower short-petioled; staminate raceme nodding or finally erect, 3'-9' long, pedicels spreading, 1"-2" pistillate raceme erect; flowers nearly 3" broad; capsule oblong or somewhat obovoid, 4"-7" long, 2-3" in diameter.
In moist meadows and thickets, Massachusetts to southern Ontario and Michigan, south to Florida and Arkansas. Called also Devil's bit, unicorn-root or -horn, drooping starwort. False unicorn-plant. May-July.