This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", 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..
Glabrous scapose perennial herbs, with entire or repand basal leaves. Flowers large or middle-sized in involucrate umbels terminating scapes. Calyx deeply 5-lobed, persistent, the lobes at first reflexed. Corolla 5-parted, the lobes reflexed, slightly unequal, imbricated, the tube very short, thickened at the throat. Stamens 5, inserted on the throat of the corolla; filaments short, flat, monadelphous, connivent into a cone, exserted; anthers linear or lanceolate, connivent, attached by their bases to the filaments. Ovary ovoid or subglobose, superior; ovules numerous, amphitropous; style filiform, exserted; stigma simple. Capsule oblong or cylindric, erect, 5-6-valved at the apex or splitting to the base. Seeds numerous, minute; the testa punctate. [Greek, twelve gods; name used by Theophrastus for some different plant.]
About 30 species, natives of North America and northeastern Asia. Besides the following typical one, some 20 others occur in western and northwestern North America.
Perennial by a stout rootstock; roots fibrous; scape erect, 8'-2° high. Leaves oblong to ovate or oblanceo-late, obtuse or obtusish at the apex, narrowed into margined petioles or subcordate, entire or toothed, 3'-12' long, 1/2'-4' wide; flowers few, several or numerous in the umbels, 9'-15" long; bracts of the involucre lanceolate or linear, acute; pedicels recurved in flower, erect in fruit, unequal, the outer ones sometimes 4' long; calyx-lobes triangular-lanceolate, acute; corolla purple, pink or white; anthers 3"-4" long; capsule narrowly ovoid, erect, 5-valved above, 6"-8" high, much longer than the calyx.
Dodecatheon Hugeri Small, with anthers prominently auricled at base, ranges north into Maryland.