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Clintonia andrewsiana

Andrew's clintonia, blue-bead lily, red clintonia, redwood clintonia

beadlily, bluebead, clintonia

Habit Plants 3–8 dm; rhizomes short, thick. Herbs, perennial, rhizomatous, 1.5–8 dm; rhizomes bearing thin, fibrous roots.

basal 2–6, arising from rhizome crown, sessile, sheathing, hyaline, chaffy in age;

cauline petiolate, blade with central vein prominent basally, obovate to oblanceolate, weakly villous-pubescent, base attenuate to cuneate, margins entire, apex acute to abruptly short-acuminate, often mucronate.

Cauline leaves


blade dark green, oblanceolate to broadly elliptic, 20–35 × 5–15 cm.


in terminal, umbel-like clusters, 1–3(–5) lateral clusters usually present, 20–45-flowered;

bracts 1–3(–5), foliaceous.

terminal, in short racemes or umbellike clusters, 1–45-flowered, bracteate;

bracts foliaceous or linear.


tepals deep claret red, narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, 10–18 × 3–3.7 mm;

filaments 7–10 mm;

anthers oblong, 1.8–2.8 mm.

tepals caducous, 6, distinct, obovate to narrowly oblanceolate, nectaries present, sometimes obscure;

stamens inserted at perianth base;

filaments dilated, basally pubescent;

anthers oblong-obovate to oblong-linear, semiversatile, extrorse;

ovary superior, 2-locular [3-locular], ovoid to subcylindrical, glabrous, ovules 2–10 per locule;

style columnar, compressed laterally;

stigmas weakly 2-lobed [3-lobed];

pedicels unequal, elongate and ascending with age.


baccate, metallic blue to black, 4–30-seeded, ellipsoid to ovoid, smooth.


blue to bluish black, ovoid, 10–30-seeded, 8–12 mm.


3–4 mm.

shiny brown, round abaxially, angled with 2 or 3 faces.


= 7.


= 28.

Clintonia andrewsiana


Phenology Flowering late Apr–late Jun.
Habitat Moist, coastal redwood forests
Elevation 0–400 m (0–1300 ft)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from USDA
Temperate North America; e Asia
[BONAP county map]

Species 5 (4 in the flora).

Eastern and western Native Americans used Clintonia as an eye and heart medicine, as well as a dermatological and gynecological aid (D. E. Moerman 1986).

The North American Clintonia species have bicarpellate ovaries by reduction (F. H. Utech 1973) and reticulate pollen, in contrast to the typical liliaceous tricarpellate ovaries and gemmate pollen that occur in the eastern Asian C. udensis (M. Takahashi and K. Sohma 1982; V. N. Kosenko 1991). The genus has a unique type of megasporogenesis, the “Clintonia-type” (A. N. Pahuja and V. Kumar 1971; F. H. Smith 1943; R. W. Smith 1911; R. I. Walker 1944), in which there is a selective elimination of genomes (heterotypic vs. homotypic divisions) before double fertilization, resulting in genetically identical diploid embryo and diploid endosperm nuclei. Such derived megasporogenesis is equivalent to female self-fertilization (pseudogamy).

Counts of 2n = 28 are known in all Clintonia species except for a recently discovered sympatric diploid cytotype (2n = 14) in C. udensis (Li S. F. and Chang Z. Y. 1996; Li S. F. et al. 1996). It appears therefore that the Clintonia karyotype has an ancient allopolyploid origin and that the generic base number should be viewed as x = 7 and not x = 14. Based on these karyological data, an early eastern Asian and North American divergence with speciation and polyploidization occurring in North America is postulated.

M. N. Tamura (1998c) included Medeola and Clintonia in the tribe Medeoloideae within a narrowly defined Liliaceae, and molecular analysis supports the association of those two genera (K. Hayashi et al. 1998, 2001; M. F. Fay and M. W. Chase 2000).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Inflorescences 1–8(–10)-flowered, in short, terminal racemes.
→ 2
1. Inflorescences 10–45-flowered, in terminal and/or lateral, umbel-like clusters.
→ 2
2. Plants 1.5–2.5 dm; inflorescences 1- or 2-flowered; tepals creamy white, 18–25 mm; anthers 3.5–5.5 mm; w North America.
C. uniflora
2. Plants 2–5 dm; inflorescences 3–8(–10)-flowered, in short, terminal racemes; tepals yellow to yellowish green, 12–16 mm; anthers 2–3.5 mm; e North America.
C. borealis
3. Inflorescences 20–45-flowered, lateral clusters usually present; tepals claret red, narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, 10–18 mm; berries blue to bluish black, 10–30-seeded; California, Oregon.
C. andrewsiana
3. Inflorescences 10–25(–30)-flowered, in terminal clusters only; tepals white, often spotted purplish brown or green distally, ovoid-obovate, 5.5–8 mm; berries black, 2–4-seeded; e North America.
C. umbellulata
Source FNA vol. 26, p. 152. FNA vol. 26, p. 151. Author: Frederick H. Utech.
Parent taxa Liliaceae > Clintonia Liliaceae
Sibling taxa
C. borealis, C. umbellulata, C. uniflora
Subordinate taxa
C. andrewsiana, C. borealis, C. umbellulata, C. uniflora
Synonyms Xeniatrum
Name authority Torrey: Pacif. Railr. Rep. 4(5): 150. (1857) Rafinesque: Amer. Monthly Mag. & Crit. Rev. 2: 266. (1818)
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