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Prosartes trachycarpum
Prosartes trachycarpa.  Synonym: Disporum trachycarpum. (Fairybells)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Spring, summer.
Lower Stoner Mesa Trail, May 26, 2004.

These dainty plants have fringed flowers and large leaves on arched stems.  They enjoy moist, shady Aspen and conifer woods.  Fruits are bright orange and red.  The plant is often buried in other greenery and overlooked.

This species was first named Uvularia lanuginosa variety major in 1838 by William Jackson Hooker from specimens collected by John Richardson in the 1820s in Canada. David Don named the Prosartes genus in 1839, and Sereno Watson renamed this species Prosartes trachycarpa in 1871 from specimens he collected in Utah in 1871. The Disporum trachycarpum name (used today by Colorado Flora, A Utah Flora, and Intermountain Flora) was given by George Bentham and Joseph Dalton Hooker (son of William Jackson Hooker) in 1883. John Kartesz's Synthesis (the ultimate authority for all names on this web site) and the Flora of North America accept Prosartes trachycarpa as the correct name for this species.

"Prosartes", Greek, means "fastened" and somehow refers to the manner in which the fruit parts are attached.  "Trachycarpa" is also Greek and means "rough fruit".

Weber places Prosartes and Streptopus in Uvulariaceae, not Liliaceae.

Prosartes trachycarpum

Prosartes trachycarpum

Prosartes trachycarpa.  Synonym: Disporum trachycarpum. (Fairybells)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Spring, summer.
Bear Creek Trail,  May 12, 2009 and Ryman Creek Trail, June 14, 2011.

Prosartes trachycarpum
Prosartes trachycarpa.  Synonym: Disporum trachycarpum. (Fairybells)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Spring, summer.
Bear Creek Trail, August 22, 2011.

 

Streptopus amplexifolius
Streptopus amplexifolius
Streptopus amplexifolius.  Synonym: Streptopus fassettii. (Twistedstalk)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Spring, summer.
Above: Pass Creek Trail, July 13, 2016.
Left: Sharkstooth Trail, July 14, 2006.

Twistedstalk thrives in moist areas near streams and seeps, where it is commonly two or three feet tall; in dry areas it is only a foot tall.  Twistedstalk is an airy, arching, surprising plant.  Hidden under the leaves are small, delicate bell flowers followed by drooping fruits.

Linnaeus named this species Uvularia amplexifolia in 1753 and Alphonse de Candolle renamed it Streptopus amplexifolius in 1805. (Andre Michaux named the Streptopus genus.)

Believing this species to be distinct from Streptopus amplexifolius, Löve and Löve named it Streptopus fassettii. (The specific epithet honors Norman Fassett, University of Wisconsin Professor of Botany who proposed a reorganization of this genus. Click for more biographical information about Fassett.) Colorado plant authority, William Weber, follows Löve and Löve and calls this species Streptopus fassettii

Easterners coming west and seeing Streptopus amplexifolius mistake it for Solomonís Seal. It can also be confused with Maianthemum amplexicaule, Maianthemum stellatum, and Prosartes trachycarpa (at the top of this page).

"Amplexifolius" means "clasping foliage" and refers to the way the base of each leaf clasps the stem.

Weber places Prosartes and Streptopus in Uvulariaceae, not Liliaceae.

Streptopus amplexifolius
Streptopus amplexifolius.  Synonym: Streptopus fassettii.  (Twistedstalk)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Spring, summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, July 14, 2006.

Streptopus amplexifolius

Streptopus amplexifolius

Streptopus amplexifolius.  Synonym: Streptopus fassettii.  (Twistedstalk)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Spring, summer.
Lizard Head Trail, August 7, 2006.

A close look shows the reason for the "streptopus" ("twisted foot") name: each flower hangs from a kinked, twisted stalk.

Streptopus amplexifolius

Streptopus amplexifolius

Streptopus amplexifolius.  Synonym: Streptopus fassettii.  (Twistedstalk)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Spring, summer.
Little Taylor Creek Trail, August 20, 2007.

In late summer, following the delicate flowers, berries change from green to orange to red.  Notice the characteristic manner in which the stems arch and lean.  And, of course, as you can see in the bottom photograph, the fruit stem has that same most unusual kink in it.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Prosartes trachycarpa

Range map for Streptopus amplexifolius