Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Melanthium latifolium


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Carey, Jennifer, H. 1994. Melanthium latifolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : MELLAT SYNONYMS : Melanthium hybridum Walt. [6,11,14,19] Veratrum hybridum (Walt.) Zimmerman [8,21] SCS PLANT CODE : MELA4 COMMON NAMES : slender bunchflower hybrid bunchflower crisped bunchflower TAXONOMY : The scientific name for slender bunchflower is Melanthium latifolium Desr. (Liliaceae) [1]. Most eastern United States floras [6,11,14,19] use the synonym M. hybridum Walt., but Bodkin [1], who wrote the monograph for the Melanthium genus in North America in 1978, argues convincingly that this name is misapplied. The taxonomy of slender bunchflower is further complicated by the placement of the entire Melanthium genus into the Veratrum genus by Zimmerman [21]. There are no currently accepted infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : See OTHER STATUS OTHER STATUS : Slender bunchflower was not found in 1978 in Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia [15]. It was listed as probably extirpated in Delaware in 1979 [15]; in 1994, it was listed as extremely rare in Delaware [9]. In 1978, slender bunchflower was listed as possibly extirpated in Tennessee, but it was rediscovered in four counties from 1981 to 1985 [2]. No existing populations of slender bunchflower are known in New York [20].


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Slender bunchflower occurs in the Appalachian Mountains from southwestern Connecticut and southeastern New York south to northern Georgia [1]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES18 Maple - beech - birch STATES : CT DE GA MD NJ NY NC PA SC TN VA WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest SAF COVER TYPES : 44 Chestnut oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Slender bunchflower occurs in the eastern deciduous forest biome [1]. At a Shenandoah National Park site dominated by oak (Quercus spp.) and hickory (Carya spp.), herbaceous associates of slender bunchflower included white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima), flypoison (Amianthium muscitoxicum), white wood aster (Aster divaricatus), bigleaf aster (A. macrophyllus), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), Allegheny hawkweed (Hieracium paniculatum), widowsfrill (Silene stellata), Atlantic goldenrod (Solidago arguta), mountain decumbent goldenrod (S. caesia var. curtisii), hairy goldenrod (S. hispida), and meadow zizia (Zizia aptera). Some slender bunchflower stalks emerged from a dense cover of eastern hayscented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) [1]. Slender bunchflower is found at lower elevations than Appalachian bunchflower (Melanthium parviflorum) where populations overlap [1].


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Slender bunchflower is a native, bulbous, perennial herb with an open terminal panicle on a stem that grows 1.6 to 5 feet (0.5-1.6 m) tall. The leaves are mostly basal and are 0.4 to 2.8 inches (1-7 cm) wide. The fruit is a capsule. Seeds are winged. Underground vegetative parts consist of a 0.2- to 0.7-inch (0.6-1.7 cm) diameter bulb composed of the thickened bases of basal leaves. Attached to the bulb base is a short rhizome. Roots arise from the peripheral area of the bulb at the junction with the rhizome. There are often at least two series of lateral roots which are radially segmented and branch distally [1]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Bunchflowers flower irregularly. Bodkin [1] estimated that less than 20 percent of bunchflower plants in the Appalachian Mountains flower in any given year. During 5 years of observations of a slender bunchflower population in Shenandoah National Park, only 7 of approximately 50 plants flowered [1]. The winged seeds are presumably dispersed by wind. In a germination experiment, no slender bunchflower seeds germinated under a variety of conditions although some dissected seeds contained embryos [1]. Bodkin [1] suggested that slender bunchflower reproduction may be primarily vegetative. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Slender bunchflower occurs on slopes and in ravines, gorges, and coves. It grows on rich, moist sites on rocky, well-drained soils. Although soils may appear dry, the roots of slender bunchflower usually penetrate to moister subsoils [1]. Slender bunchflower occurred on a rock outcrop with seepage in the Thompson River Gorge in South Carolina [18]. Slender bunchflower generally occurs from 1,000 to 5,500 feet (305-1,677 m) elevation [1]. It is restricted to areas of high elevation in eastern Tennessee [10]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Slender bunchflower is shade tolerant. It occurs in dense, shaded habitats [1] and is not reported as occurring on open, sunny sites. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Slender bunchflower flowers from July to August, and fruits ripen September through October [1,11,19].


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Information on the fire ecology of slender bunchflower is lacking in the literature. Slender bunchflower probably survives most fires because its bulb and growing points are located beneath the soil surface. However, it may not thrive on sites where cover is completely removed by severe fire. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Geophyte, growing points deep in soil


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Slender bunchflower is probably top-killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Slender bunchflower probably regenerates after fire with vegetative growth from bulbs and rhizomes. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Melanthium latifolium
REFERENCES : 1. Bodkin, Norlyn L. 1978. A revision of Northern American Melanthium L. (Liliaceae). College Park, MD: University of Maryland. 142 p. Dissertation. [23777] 2. Churchill, John A.; White, Peter S. 1986. Melanthium latifolium in Tennessee. Castanea. 51(1): 68-69. [23814] 3. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 4. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p. (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny Series; vol. 2). [14935] 5. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 6. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329] 7. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 8. Kupchan, S. Morris; Zimmerman, James H.; Afonso, Adriano. 1961. The alkaloids and taxonomy of Veratrum and related genera. Lloydia. 24(1): 1-26. [23815] 9. McAvoy, William, compiler and ed. 1994. Rare native plants of Delware. Dover, DE: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Inventory. 29 p. [22965] 10. McGilliard, Eleanor. 1955. The family Liliaceae in Tennessee. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science. 30: 19-26. [23813] 11. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606] 12. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 13. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 14. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213] 15. Tucker, Arthur O.; Dill, Norman H.; Broome, C. Rose; [and others]. 1979. Rare and endangered vascular plant species in Delaware. Newton Corner, MA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 89 p. [16518] 16. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1994. Plants of the U.S.--alphabetical listing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 954 p. [23104] 17. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey. [n.d.]. NP Flora [Data base]. Davis, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey. [23119] 18. Ware, Donna M. Eggers. 1973. Floristic survey of the Thompson River watershed. Castanea. 38(4): 349-377. [23494] 19. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908] 20. Young, Stephen M., editor. 1992. New York state rare plant status list. August 1992. Latham, NY: Department of Environmental Conservation, Divisison of Lands and Forests, Natural Heritage Program. 79 p. [22563] 21. Zimmerman, J. H. 1958. A monograph of Veratrum. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. [Pages unknown]. Dissertation. [23820]

FEIS Home Page