Anticlea elegans - Mountain Death Camas/Elegant Death Camas

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order:  Liliales - Family: Melanthiaceae

Mountain Death Camas

Beautiful but deadly - this plant is very poisonous. Many native Indians and early settlers to America alike were poisoned as a result of mistaking the bulbs of this plant for edible onions or bulbs.

Beautiful it certainly is, but Elegant Death Camas contains an alkaloid called zygadenine which is even more poisonous than strychnine. It causes problems with the heart rhythmn and can lead to death from heart attacks and convulsions.

This member of the lily family grows in grassy mountain meadows, often along streambanks which is where we photographed it in August in Rocky Mountain National Park..