Belamcanda chinensis (L.) Redout
CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 40
Family - Iridaceae
Habit - Perennial forb with stout, orange-yellow rhizomes.
Leaves - Mostly basal in 2-ranked clusters, to 40 cm long and 22 mm wide, linear, folded at base. Leaves on aerial stems alternate, reduced.
Inflorescence - Few-flowered cymose panicles. Flowers with small subtending bracts.
Flower - Trimerous, actinomorphic, perfect, on stalks 15-19 mm long. Perianth 20-32 mm long, spreading, orange with darker red spots, the sepals and petals similar and fused at the bases. Stamens 3. Styles 3-lobed. Ovary inferior, with 3 locules.
Fruit - Capsules 25-30 mm long, obovoid, tapering to the base, the walls withering after dehiscence to expose the blackberry-like mass of globose, shiny, black seeds.
Flowering - July - August.
Habitat - Old homesteads, edges of bluffs and glades, dry brushy areas.
Origin - Native to eastern Asia.
Lookalikes - None.
Other info. - This strikingly beautiful species is found scattered across most of Missouri, often marking the vicinity of vanished homesteads or otherwise persisting from former cultivation. Although exotic it rarely behaves aggressively. The flowers remain open only a single day. As the fruits mature, the ovary walls wither and reflex, exposing the mass of shiny black seeds. The clusters resemble blackberries (hence the common name) but should not be eaten.
Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 9-4-2011 and 7-11-2015, Washington State Park, Washington County, MO, 7-14-2017, and St. Francois State Park, St. Francois County, MO, 7-9-2020 (SRTurner).