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..
[Amianthium A. Gray, Ann. Lye. N. Y. 4: 121. 1837.] An erect glabrous herb, with an ovoid-oblong coated bulb, and numerous long blunt basal leaves, a few short ones on the stem. Flowers perfect, white, in a dense terminal raceme, the lower ones first expanding. Perianth of 6 distinct glandless persistent obtuse segments. Stamens inserted on the bases of the sepals; anthers small, reniform. Ovary ovoid, 3-lobed, 3-celled. Capsule 3-celled, dehiscent above the middle, the cavities 1-2-seeded, its 3 divergent lobes tipped with the subulate styles. Seeds ovoid, reddish brown. [Greek, referring to the colored seeds.]
A monotypic genus of eastern North America based on Melanthium laetum Soland.
488. 1789. Melanthium muscaetoxicum A. Gray, Ann. Lye. N.
Y. 4: 122. 1837. Chrosperma muscaetoxicum Kuntze, Rev. Gen. PI.
Bulb 1 1/2-2' long, nearly 1' in diameter. Stem 1 1/2°-4° tall. Basal leaves 2"-15" wide, shorter than the stem, the upper few and distant, bractlike; raceme at first ovoid-conic, becoming cylin-dric, 2'-5' long; pedicels ascending, 4"-10" long; bractlets ovate, 1"-2" long; sepals ovate-oblong, obtuse, 2"-3" long; filaments filiform, about equalling the sepals; capsule 2"-3' in diameter above the middle, scarcely as long; seeds about 1 1/2" long.
In dry sandy woods, Long Island and eastern Pennsylvania to Florida, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. Ascends to 4000 ft. in Virginia and to 2100 ft. in Pennsylvania. Hellebore. Crow-poison. May-July.