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Kevin Doyle

White Camas (Anticlea elegans ssp. glaucus)

Life history

Species overview

White Camas (Anticlea elegans ssp. glaucus), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in a variety of habitats, including oak openings, wet-mesic calcareous prairies, limestone-capped sandstone bluffs, cliffs, outcrops, and stabilized dunes along Lake Michigan. Blooming occurs late May through late July; fruiting occurs mid August through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late July.

Synonyms: Anticlea chlorantha, Melanthium glaucum, Zigadenus glaucus, Zigadenus elegans var. glaucus,


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Leaves linear, crowded toward the base of the plant, with tall panicle of 6 parted greenish-white flowers.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence paniculate, bearing flowers with 6 white petal-like tepals, usually purple beneath and with green or yellow spots near center.
  • Fruit characteristics: Ovoid capsule 10 to 15 mm long, barely exceeding the persistent perianth.
  • Leaf characteristics: Crowded toward the base, narrow to broadly linear, 2 to 4 dm long and up to 12 mm wide, attenuate.


  • Blooming phenology: late May through late July
  • Fruiting phenology: mid August through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late July


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: For the Lake Michigan locations, associated species include Juniperus horizontalis, Prunus pumila, Carex crawei, C. garberi, C. viridula, Lobelia kalmii, Arabis lyrata. For the prairies and savannas: Quercus spp, Carya ovata, Rhus glabra, Amorpha canescens, Solidago nemoralis, Schizachyrium scoparium, Andropogon gerardii, Bouteloua curtipendula, Aster sericeus, Dalea purpurea, Liatris aspera.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for White Camas (Anticlea elegans ssp. glaucus). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Anticlea elegans ssp. glaucus in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG5T4T5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in a variety of habitats, including oak openings, wet-mesic calcareous prairies, limestone-capped sandstone bluffs, cliffs, outcrops, and stabilized dunes along Lake Michigan.
  • Soils: Moist, calcareous soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with White Camas. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for White Camas. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain low to partial canopy; avoid closed canopy conditions.


White Camas Photo.

Photo © Aaron Carlson.

White Camas Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

White Camas Photo.

Photo ©  Wisconsin DNR.

White Camas Photo.

Photo ©  Wisconsin DNR.

White Camas Photo.

Photo by Paul King, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition