When a dense colony of California false hellebore is in full flower in a mountain meadow it is a mesmerizing sight! The tall, stately, perennial wildflowers grow in moist, open meadows, seeps, damp areas, and on mountainous slope. It emerges as soon as snow melts in the spring and flowers June-August, depending on elevation. Cream-colored, star-like, inch-wide flowers grow in showy clusters at the top of a single unbranched stalk in a way that resembles corn, hence the use of an additional common name: cornlily. It can reach up to 3′- 6′ tall and has large, pleated or veined, oval leaves that can be a foot long. California false hellebore is a western native and is a common plant in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. It makes a great, large specimen plant for a sunny and moist garden setting. This species spreads by rhizome. The Latin genus name “Veratrum” translates to “true black,” referring to the black rhizomes. A member of the False Hellebore (Melanthiaceae) family. Contains steroidal alkaloids that are poisonous to some livestock. Deer and gopher resistant!
Veratrum californicum seed packets contain 1 teaspoon of seed.
Seed Germination Instructions
30-60 days warm-moist stratification followed by 90-120 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in early fall.