Mountain Deathcamas | Outside My Window


Mountain deathcamas, Cedar Bog, Ohio (photo by Dianne Machesney)

Any flower with the word “death” in its name is probably poisonous and deceptively beautiful. This one fits the bill.

Mountain deathcamas or alkali grass (Anticlea elegans) is a threatened native plant found in limy sandy soil, in fens, wet meadows, beaches, on hillsides and canyons in the Great Lakes area and western North America. A member of the trillium family (Melanthiaceae) it blooms in June through August so today, August 31, is probably too late to see it.

Dianne and Bob Machesney visited Cedar Bog, Ohio in July to catch up with the plant in bloom. (Dianne’s photo above.) Here’s another look at it from Wikimedia Commons, photographed at Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada.

Mountain deathcamas, Cedar Bog (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Enjoy the plant’s beauty but never eat it! The entire plant contains a deadly alkaloid. Ingestion causes coma and death. Yikes! It earned its name.

(photo at top by Dianne Machesney. Second photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)