Wildflower of the Moment: Star Lilies

Children’s book author and illustrator Ashley Wolff has volunteered to serve as a Bernalwood flowerspotter, and she brings us this up-to-the-moment report on what’s blooming right now:

March is wildflower month on the Hill.

Walk the goat path on the north slope and look for Star Lilies nestled in the springing grass. Star Lily is right at home here because it prefers rocky outcrops and grassy slopes. It is fleshy and delicate, barely white with a greenish tint and has no scent that I could detect.

The Star Lily’s Latin name is Toxicoscordion fremontii.

Of the Latin name, Scott Earle of Larkspur Books says: “Scordion is a Greek word for garlic, thus ‘poisonous garlic’ from the rather remote resemblance of the death camases to Allium sativum (typical garlic).”

The fremontii part harks back to that gadabout John Charles Fremont (1813-1890). An army officer and presidential candidate, Fremont was all over this part of California — as immortalized by a San Francisco street and that suburban town in the East Bay. Nicknamed “the Pathfinder,” Fremont also collected plants on four hazardous journeys exploring the western United States.

Photo: Oakley Bobcat

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