elegant brodiaea


The genus Brodiaea (or by its common name cluster-lily) belongs to the order Asparagales. Brodiaea occurs in the West Coast of the United States, especially northern California.

Taxonomic history

Specimens of Brodiaea were first collected by Archibald Menzies, botanist to the Vancouver Expedition, in 1792. Menzies collected the plant from the vicinity of the Strait of Georgia, named New Georgia by George Vancouver.

The first published reference to the plant appears in James Edward Smith's 1807 An introduction to physiological and systematical botany, where Smith used it to argue that the tepals of liliaceous plants are sepals rather than petals:

The following year, Richard Salisbury published the first Brodiaea species in his Paradisus Londinensis, but placed it in the genus Hookera as Hookera coronaria. Smith disagreed with this placement, and in April 1808 read a formal description of a new genus before the Linnean Society of London, naming the genus in honour of Scottish botanist James Brodie (1744-1824). Formal publication did not occur, however, until Smith's presentation went to print in 1811.


Different current systems place the genus in three different families. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group place it in family Themidaceae. Many other modern authors place it in the family Alliaceae. Both of these families are in the order Asparagales. However, older but still widely used sources such as ITIS place the Triplet lilies in the family Liliaceae, in the order Liliales. The present article follows the recommendations of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group.

Brodiaea is also used as a common name to refer to the three genera Brodiaea, Dichelostemma, and Triteleia. The latter two genera were once included as part of the genus Brodiaea.


Brodiaea contains the following species.

Sources: GRIN, NRCS


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