Red Hills soaproot

Red Hills soaproot

--Chlorogalum grandiflorum

This perennial herb is a member of the lily family and grows from a bulb. Several leaves radiate from the base of the plant. They are usually four to twelve inches long, between one fourth and one half inch in width, linear and wavy. The flowers, which open in the evening, bloom along the upper portion of slender stalks which are one to two feet in height. The six

petals are about an inch long, slender and white, with a vein of purple down the middle. The slender petals curve backward when the flowers open in the evening, attracting moths as pollinaters.

The species occurs near common soaproot (Chlorogalum pomeridianum). The bulb coat of the common species is made up of many dark brown, coarse fibers, while the bulb coat of Red Hills soaproot is made up of these membranes and a few delicate fibers. Also, the leaves of the common soaproot are often longer, wider and less wavy than the Red Hills soaproot. The thin stems that attach the flowers to the stalk tend to be shorter on the Red Hills soaproot than on the common variety.

The Red Hills soaproot occurs almost entirely on gabbro and serpentine soils in western El Dorado County, and the Red Hills in Tuolumne County, but it has been found at several locations in other soils as well. It is typically found growing in rocky soils in open areas in the midst of chaparral.

Listed by the California Native Plant Society as rare.