Bloomeria crocea (Torrey) Cov.
=Bloomeria crocea ssp. crocea
Alliaceae (Onion Family)
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).
Uncommon in the study area, having been found only three times, first
on the bluffs below the
Eastbluff burn area and second on
side of the bay between 23rd St. and the
Delhi Ditch. In
1998, several plants were found at 23rd St. (my
bulbs were used by the Indians for food. (Heizer
& Elsasser 242). The bulbs require three to
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,
generally uncommon in the
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
vines such as Marah
macrocarpus or species of
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
California Native Plant
Society. October 1986. p. 19). For
additional information on post-fire plants see
Lotus scoparius, Eriophyllum
perenne, and Phacelia
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
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.