Bloomeria crocea (Torrey) Cov. 

 =Bloomeria crocea ssp. crocea

Alliaceae (Onion Family)


Common Goldenstar         

Golden Stars                               

                                             May Photo

Plant  Characteristics: Perennial  herb from a fibrous-coated corm, about 15 mm. thick; stem scapose, 1.5-6 dm. high; lvs. basal, few, linear, carinate, about half as long; fls. yellow, many, in a loose umbel subtended by membranous lanceolate bracts; pedicels many, jointed at summit, 2-6 cm. long; perianth persistent, rotate, of 6 subequal oblong-linear, orange-yellow, segms. with  median dark lines, 8-12 mm. long; fils. filiform, margined at base by winglike or cupshaped appendages, 6 mm. long; anthers versatile, attached near the base; style 1, persistent, splitting  with  the  subglobose loculicidal  caps., 5 mm. long; caps. 5-6 mm. high; seeds 1-several in each locule, black, subovoid , angular and wrinkled, 2 mm. long.

Habitat: Common, dry  flats  and  hillsides, often in heavy soil,  up to  5000 ft.;  Coastal  Sage  Scrub, Chaparral, V. Grassland and, S. Oak Wd.; L. Calif. to Santa Barbara and w. Kern cos.; Channel Ids.  April June.

Name: Named for H.G. Bloomer an early San Francisco botanist. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 877 ).   Crocea means saffron colored.   (Dale 25).

General: Uncommon  in  the study area, having been found only three times, first  on  the bluffs below the Eastbluff burn area and second  on  the  opposite  side of the bay between 23rd St. and the  Delhi  Ditch.    In 1998, several plants were found at 23rd St. (my  comments).      The bulbs were used by the Indians for food.  (Heizer  &  Elsasser 242).       The bulbs require three to  four  year's  to  become mature. (Dale 25).        Perennial herbs  are  conspicuous in  the first spring after a fire, and their  presence  results from resprouting or bulbs or other buried parts.    Included are all of the bulb-forming monocots such as species of Allium, Bloomeria, Brodiaea, Calochortus, and Chlorogalum, as well as dicots such Paeonia californica and Marah macrocarpus.   Seeds of these species do not require fire for  germination,  and  their  seedlings  are  generally uncommon  in  the  first  season  after  a  fire.  As the shrub canopy returns these species  persist, but they produce depauperate  growth in most years and due to  low  light levels they seldom  flower  under  the  canopy.    The exceptions  to  this  are  vines  such as Marah macrocarpus or species  of  Cuscuta  or Convolvulus (Calystegia),  which are capable  of  reaching  into the canopy and flowering.   (Keeley, Jon  F. and Sterling C.   "Chaparral and Wildfires".  FREMONTIA, A  Journal  of  the  California  Native Plant Society.  October 1986.  p. 19).   For additional information on post-fire plants see  Lotus scopariusEriophyllum confertiflorum, Lolium perenne, and Phacelia tanacetifolia.        The Cahuilla, who inhabited the San Jacinto Mountains, were able to utilize the corms of B. crocea for food.  They were eaten raw.  (Bean and Saubel 47).      The Kawaiisu, Indians of the southern Sierra Nevada region, used the corms of Bloomeria crocea and Dichelostemma pulchella to obtain a starchy sealant to close the interstices of closely twined seed-gathering baskets.  The fibrous skin was removed and corms were rubbed on a grinding stone (the hyacinth corms were boiled first).  (Campbell 164).     Amaryllidaceae is treated with Liliaceae in the Jepson Manual but Roberts in his second edition of  A Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Orange County, California, 1998 moves the Orange County species to Alliaceae.      A small California genus.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 877).        Comparison of the DNA sequences for various genes, usually those found in the chloroplast of the plant cell has led biologists to propose many changes in the plant families as they are now known.  It is proposed to move the genus Bloomeria from Alliaceae to Themidaceae.   (Kelch, Dean G. “Consider the Lilies” FREMONTIA, A Journal of the California Native Plant Society Vol. 30 No. 2 April 2002 pp. 23-29).


Text  Ref: Dale  25;  Hickman,  Ed.1180; Munz, Calif. Flora 1379; Munz  Flora So. Calif. 877; Roberts 42.

Photo Ref: April-May 85 # 17,18; May 98 #11.

Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by F. Roberts.

First Found:  May 1985.


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 125.

Have plant specimen

Last edit 5/28/04.

                               May Photo