Veratrum californicum (California corn lily, white or California false hellebore) is an extremely poisonous plant native to mountain meadows at 3500 to 11,000 ft elevation in southwestern North America, the Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountains, and as far north as Alaska and as far south as Durango. It grows 1 to 2 meters tall, with an erect, unbranched, heavily leafy stem resembling a cornstalk. It prefers moist soil and can cover large areas in dense stands near streams or in wet meadows. Many inch-wide flowers cluster along the often-branched top of the stout stem; they have 6 white tepals, a green center, 6 stamens, and a 3-branched pistil. The buds are tight green spheres. The heavily veined, bright green leaves can be more than a foot long.

Veratrum californicum displays mast seeding; populations bloom and seed little in most years, but in occasional years bloom and seed heavily in synchrony.

It is a source of jervine, muldamine and cyclopamine, teratogens which can cause prolonged gestation associated with birth defects such as holoprosencephaly and cyclopia in animals such as sheep, horses, and other mammals that graze upon it. These substances inhibit the hedgehog signaling pathway.

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