Scientific Name: Dichelostemma capitatum (pronounced dye-kuh-LAW-stem-muh kap-ih-TAY-tum). Dichelostemma comes from the Greek and means two-part clawlike structures that form a crown shape. This crown is generally hidden in the throat of the flower tube.
Family Name: Blue Dicks is in the lily family. Some botanists have split this family into many sub-families, including the Amaryllis family. In some books, therefore, you may find Blue Dicks classified as a member of the Amaryllis family.
Description: Its two or three grasslike leaves sprout in the springtime from a fibrous bulb (a corm). A flower stalk soon grows upward, reaching sometimes two feet tall. At the top of the stalk there is a tight cluster of violet-blue flowers, varying sometimes from deep violet to white. For more, see Jepson’s eFlora description.
Uses: Natives are said to have used the bulbs as food, raw, fried, broiled, or roasted.
Notes: The first designation as Dichelostemma capitatum was made in 1868. Prior to that time, in 1857, it was named Brodiaea capitata. In some books you will find Blue Dicks is given the scientific name Brodiaea pulchella. It is now generally accepted that the Brodiaea group of plants is split into three genera: Dichelostemma. Triteleia, and Brodiaea. All of these genera occur at Edgewood.
Finding it at Edgewood: Blue Dicks blooms on Edgewood grasslands and in open woodlands from March to May. It is widespread at Edgewood, and can be found along the Sylvan Trail, the Serpentine and Ridgeview Loops, and on the Live Oak, Clarkia, and Edgewood Trails. See distribution map below.
“Common Native Wildflowers of Edgewood Preserve,” published jointly by the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and the Friends of Edgewood Natural Preserve.
Corelli, T. Flowering Plants of Edgewood Natural Preserve. Half Moon Bay, CA: Monocot Press, 2004.
Information compiled by Sandra Bernhard and Anna Lee