The pretty white and green blossoms of the Mountain Death Camas (Zigadenus elegans) belie the true nature of this plant. The Mountain Death Camas contains an alkaloid called zygadenine and, while consuming the plant probably won’t kill you (as the name might imply), it can make both humans and livestock very sick. The leaves and bulbs of young plants can easily be mistaken for wild onions, so be very sure of what you’re doing before foraging in the montane to alpine zones of Colorado’s mountains!

Golden Gate Canyon

McCullough Gulch

Goose Creek Trail, Lost Creek Wilderness

Close cousin Meadow Death Camas (Zigadenus venenosus), on the other hand, is HIGHLY poisonous and is rumored to be even more deadly than strychnine. The two plants are somewhat similar in looks, but the Meadow Death Camas has tightly clumped and slightly smaller flowers and is found at lower elevations in the plains and foothills of Colorado.

Roxborough State Park


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