A Revision of North American Melanthium L. (Liliaceae)
Bodkin, Norlyn Lee
Reveal, James L.
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Melanthium L. (Liliaceae ) is a genus of perhaps eight species with the four species of North America distributed from central Iowa eastward to southern New York, south to northern Florida and eastern Texas. The type species , M. -virginicum L., is found over this entire range growing commonly in swamps , marshes and bogs. Melanthium latifolium Desr. , found mostly on rich wooded slopes, and M. parviflorum (Michx.) S. Wats. located at higher elevations, occur mainly in the mid-Appalachian mountains. Melanthium woodii (Robbins ex Wood) Bodkin, comb. nov., is known from rich deciduous slopes of the Ozark Plateaus where it is very local and rare, and from five small disjunct populations in three eastern states. The major decision made in this treatment is the maintenance of Melanthium as distinct from the heterogeneous genus Veratrum L. on the basis of leaf size and shape, inflorescence, features of the tepalular glands and claws, adnation of stamens to tepals and general habit of the plants. The numerous synonyms associated with the name Melanthium are treated and either included under that genus , or excluded and assign d to their proper genera. The four (tentatively) Asian species, all of southwestern China , are not discussed due to a paucity of recent material.