Melanthium hybridum from Chris in SC

I first noticed these plants in early June along the Lakeside Trail at Table Rock State Park just below the dam on the west side. The are located in deep to dappled shade. The leaves are about a foot long (I didn’t measure), and the plants are around 2 feet tall (give or take a little). Although they had started to bloom by early July, they weren’t in full bloom until the middle of July. The flower stalks are still present as of Labor Day with a number of green seed capsules on them. It is not a large colony, less than 1/2 dozen blooming stems, although there were some others that never flowered. At best I can tell it is a monocot by the strap-like leaves with the parallel veins and the flowers with 6 parts, but I can’t find it in any field guide.

Hi Chris,

as best as I can determine, this is the crisped bunchflower, Melanthium hybridum, now called Melanthium latifolium. It is a mountain plant that I have never seen in South Carolina, and I would suspect it is quite rare. Beautiful pictures!  I would ask someone in the Natural Heritage Program what its status is. I believe it warrants protection.


Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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