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Triteleia laxa flower in bloom.jpg
Ithuriel's Spear (Triteleia laxa)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Brodiaeoideae
Genus: Triteleia
Douglas ex Lindl.
  • Hesperoscordium Lindl.
  • Calliprora Lindl.
  • Tulophos Raf.
  • Scaduakintos Raf.
  • Seubertia Kunth
  • Veatchia Kellogg
  • Themis Salisb.

Triteleia is a genus of monocotyledon flowering plants also known as triplet lilies. Species are native to western North America, from British Columbia south to California, with one species in northwestern Mexico. However they are most common in California.[1][2][3] They are perennial plants growing from a fibrous corm, roughly spherical in shape. They get their name from the fact that all parts of their flowers come in threes.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The systematics of this genus are problematic in two ways.

First, different current systems place the genus in three different families. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group in the 2009 revision place it in family Asparagaceae, subfamily Brodiaeoideae[4] (having previously placed it in the possibly distinct Themidaceae). Other modern authors place it in the family Alliaceae. All these families are in the order Asparagales. However, older but still widely used sources such as ITIS place the Tripletlilies in the family Liliaceae, in the order Liliales.

The second difficulty is taxonomical; some common species that are now placed in genus Triteleia were formerly placed in genus Brodiaea, and as a consequence "brodiaea" has been incorporated into some of their common names. About 15-20 species are currently recognised in Triteleia, with several of them having well defined subspecies or varieties that have different common names.

  1. Triteleia bridgesii – Bridges' Brodiaea - mountains of northern California and southwestern Oregon
  2. Triteleia clementina – San Clemente Island Tripletlily - endemic to San Clemente Island
  3. Triteleia crocea – Yellow Tripletlily - mountains of northern California and southwestern Oregon
  4. Triteleia dudleyi – Dudley's Tripletlily - from Mono Count to Lost Angeles County
  5. Triteleia grandiflora – Largeflower Tripletlily, Wild Hyacinth - British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, extreme northern California; isolated population in southwestern Colorado
  6. Triteleia guadalupensis - endemic to Guadalupe Island off the west coast of Baja California
  7. Triteleia hendersonii - southwestern Oregona and extreme northern California
  8. Triteleia hyacinthina – White Tripletlily, Hyacinth Brodiaea, Fool's Onion - common in much of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California; also western Nevada and northern Idaho
  9. Triteleia ixioides – Prettyface - much of California plus southwestern Oregon
  10. Triteleia laxa – Ithuriel's Spear, Grassnut - much of California plus southwestern Oregon
  11. Triteleia lemmoniae – Oak Creek Tripletlily - Arizona
  12. Triteleia lilacina - northern California
  13. Triteleia lugens – Coast Range Tripletlily - coastal mountains of California
  14. Triteleia montana - northern Sierra Nevada of California
  15. Triteleia peduncularis – Longray Tripletlily - coastal counties of northern California
  16. Triteleia x versicolor – Pinto Tripletlily - Monterey County (hybrid T. hyacinthina × T. ixioides)