Scoliopus bigelovii

by Doreen Smith

March’s plant of the month is the very early species, Scoliopus bigelovii. It has several common names: slink-pods, fetid adder’s tongue, and brownies.

The original report and herbarium collection of this plant were in 1854 from Mt. Tamalpais, but it has since grown in many places in the coast redwood forests from Humboldt County south to Santa Cruz County. See it now before it goes dormant and disappears for the rest of the year.

A good place for a hike to see many of the plants is around the redwood- shaded side of Lake Lagunitas, MMWD Sky Oaks, Fairfax. The flowers are attractive little lilies with three brown-striped sepals, three dark brown linear petals, three stamens, and three stigmas on the ovary.
Unfortunately, the perfume is repellent to most people. It is attractive to the pollinators, however. The leaves that enfold the flowering stem’s base are large, green, and fleshy with dark spots.

Photos by Vernon Smith

Photo by Vernon Smith

Scoliopus bigelovii – (fetid adder’s tongue)

 

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Scoliopus bigelovii – (fetid adder’s tongue)