Clintonia is a genus of flowering plants first described as a genus in 1818. It is distributed across North America and eastern Asia where it is found as an understory plant in woodlands. It was named after De Witt Clinton, an 18th-century botanist and U.S. politician.
Raf. 1818 not Douglas ex Lindl. 1829 (syn of Downingia in Campanulaceae)
Clintonia species are herbaceous perennials growing from rhizomatous underground stems with thin, fibrous roots. They grow from 1.5 to 8 dm tall. They have 2 to 6 basal leaves arising from the rhizome crown, the basal leaves are sessile and sheathing, and the cauline leaves have a stalk. The blade of each leaf has a prominent central vein and entire margins, and the bottom ends are obovate to oblanceolate in shape. The leaf apex is acute to abruptly short-acuminate, often mucronate (ending abruptly in a short sharp point). The inflorescences are terminal, and the flowers are arranged into short racemes or umbel-like clusters, with 1 to 45 flowers. The flowers have 6 tepals with nectaries present. The stamens are inserted at the base of the perianth, and the anthers are oblong-obovate to oblong-linear shaped. The rounded to cylinder shaped ovary is superior with two chambers (sometime three). Each chamber produces 2 to 10 ovules. The smooth fruits are berry-like, round to egg-shaped, metallic blue to black in color. Four to thirty seeds are produced in each fruit and the seeds are shiny brown, round and the ends are angled with 2 or 3 faces.
Clintonia species are cultivated as garden subjects in shade gardens, grown for the glossy foliage, small lily-like flowers, and blue fruits, and their ability to live in heavy shade. They grow best in cool, organic-rich, acid soils that retain moisture and when grown well form dense slowly spreading clumps.
- The Plant List, Clintonia elegans Douglas ex Lindl.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1818. American monthly magazine and critical review 2: 266
- Tropicos, Clintonia Raf.
- Umberto Quattrocchi (3 May 2012). CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). CRC Press. pp. 1024–. ISBN 978-1-4200-8044-5.
- Flora of North America, Clintonia Rafinesque
- Flora of China Vol. 24 Page 150 七筋菇属 qi jin gu shu Clintonia Rafinesque, Amer. Monthly Mag. & Crit. Rev. 2: 266. 1818.
- Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
- William Cullina (2000). The New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 78–. ISBN 0-395-96609-4.
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