A rather tall, leafy, herbaceous plant, perennial by a thick rootstock; stems slender to somewhat stout, 2 to 5 feet high. Leaves linear, acuminate, often a foot long, but only one-third to 1 inch wide, the lower ones sheathing the stem, the upper ones smaller and sessile. Inflorescence a many-flowered panicle, 6 to 18 inches long, pubescent; flowers about three-fourths of an inch broad, greenish yellow, turning brown with age; perianth of six spreading, separate, persistent segments, each segment consisting of an oblong, obtuse, flat blade, sometimes obcordate, about twice as long as the claw, and bearing two dark glands at its base; stamens shorter than the segments and adnate to them; fruit a three-lobed capsule, about two-thirds of an inch long.

In meadows, wet woods and marshes, Rhode Island to southern New York and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas. Flowering in July and August.

The Bunchflower is not a common plant in New York, and is found only in a few localities in the southern part of the State. Two closely related species are equally uncommon and also restricted to the southern part of the State. These are: (1) the Crisped or Broad-leaved Bunchflower (Melanthium latifolium Desvaux), with broader leaves and the blade of the perianth segments undulate, crisped and scarcely longer than the claw; (2) the Pine-barren Oceanorus (Oceanorus leimanthoides (A. Gray) Small), with linear, blunt leaves, the outer ones becoming fibrous, and small whitish flowers with oblong perianth segments, which are sessile.

Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum

Plate 10


Bunchflower - Melanthium virginicum

American White Hellebore; Indian Poke Veratrum viride Linnaeus

Plate II

Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum

Plate 11

American White Hellebore; Indian Poke

American White Hellebore; Indian Poke - Veratrum viride

A tall, leafy, perennial herb; stem simple and branched only in the inflorescence, stout, 2 to 8 feet tall, from a poisonous, perennial, erect root-stock 2 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches thick with numerous fleshy-fibrous roots. Leaves alternate, clasping, strongly veined and plaited, all pointed at the apex; the lower leaves broadly oval or elliptic, 5 to 12 inches long, 3 to 6 inches wide; the tipper ones successively narrower and shorter, those of the inflorescence very small; stem and inflorescence pubescent. Flowers greenish or greenish yellow, two-thirds to 1 inch broad arranged in a many-flowered panicle at the summit of the stem, the panicle often 8 to 20 inches long, its lower branches spreading or drooping. Segments of the perianth six, without glands or claws, oblong or oblanceolate, ciliate-serrulate, twice as long as the curved, yellow stamens which are six in number and opposite the perianth segments. Fruit a three-lobed, three-celled, many-seeded capsule, three-fourths to I inch long and one-third to one-half of an inch thick.

In swamps and wet woods, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario to Minnesota, south to Georgia and Tennessee. Flowering in May and June, or July in the far north.