Last year at a NARGS New England Chapter seedling sale, I bought a plant labeled as Zigadenus elwesii. Researching the name, it doesn't appear there is such a combination as Zigadenus "elwesii", so I'm left wondering which Zig species I actually have. The Flora of North America has 14 species, but since the genus includes species from Mexico & Central America, as well as in Japan, China, Siberia and Mongolia, I'm not sure I'll be able to arrive at an ID.
It is about 16" tall, the panicle is branched at the base, and the waxy green and whitish flowers with shiny conspicuous glands, are surprisingly showy, most definitely intriguing. The flowers do not smell good, only noticeable at close hand.
Using Google images, my plant looks similar to Zigadenus glaucus (Z. elegans ssp. glaucus)
Zigadenus in Flora of North America
I recently found Zigadenus elegans for the first time in the wild of western Minnesota, but that makes me no expert...
I'd suggest elegans as well. I've only seen living plants out west, but variety glauca is present in the east, though rare. I've seen specimens in the herbarium of it. Now the treatment of Zigadenus is broken down into numerous genera. It should be easier to narrow it down now. Outside NA there are only a few. Those in MX are distinct and not in cultivation as far as I know.
Thanks Aaron. I agree my plant looks somewhat similar to Z. elegans (and most closely to ssp. glaucus), most photos I've seen of Z. elegans show rounded flowers with equal-size equally-spaced tepals, whereas in my plant, the flower shape is almost triangular, and the 3 outer tepals smaller and connivent (folding inwards on themselves). But, reading up on this species, and ssp. glaucus, they are said to be highly variable.
I don't have time to dig now, but I have lots of pics of wild Z elegans here, so if I remember or someone reminds me ;D I can look for pics of variability in flowers..
Loads of photos of Z. elegans have been posted on the forum too, for comparison:
There are several too in the NARGS Photo Galleries, here: