Red Clintonia

The redwoods around us are magnificent but so is the understory. Over the next few days I’m going to be posting some about the flowers and ferns and mushrooms and other amazing organisms of the redwood forest floor.

Today I’m starting with a pink/red flowering perennial herb that pops up in half a dozen places in our yard every spring. It’s proper name is Clintonia andrewsiana but also goes by red clintonia, Andrews clintonia, and bluebead lily.

The uncommon lily grows and spreads from rhizomes, has great big oval-shaped leaves that are about 8-10 inches, and sprouts a tall stalk, as high two feet for its cluster of bell-shaped flowers. The flowers are pink to red (hence the name red clintonia) and eventually become steely blue berries (and that’s where it gets the bluebead lily moniker from.)

Its range is coastal, from about Monterey up to southern Oregon, and it prefers to grow in the moist shady coast redwood forests.

[Photo credits: me, Zoya Akulova (via calflora) and Deanna L. Pierce]

close-up of flower cluster on a red clintonia

close-up of blue berries on a red clintonia

red clintonia in rain

close-up of red clintonia flower cluster