Blue Dicks;  Dichelostemma capitatum

Early Bloomer.  Tight clusters of few urn-shaped flowers on tall stalks, 6 blue to purple petals, edible bulbs.

Notes: Lily Family. (Formerly the Amaryllis family: based on recent genetic studies, botanists have merged the entire amaryllis family into the lily family.  The Amaryllis family no longer exits, although older books still list Blue Dicks as Amaryllis.) The genera formerly considered to be in the amaryllis family certainly do share numerous physical characteristics with the lily family.  In all but one genus, the Calochortus (the Globe Lily), many characteristics are identical, or extremely similar.

Blue Dicks are frequent and showy blue-purple Brodiaea-like flowers on grasslands and slopes.  You can recognize the characteristics that place Blue Dicks in the Dichelostemma genus rather than the Brodiaea or Triteleia: the stems are often weak and bent rather than stiff, the umbel is closely crowded rather than loose, and there are conspicuous appendages on some of the anthers.  Other Dichelostemma (of which there are only members) have only 3 fertile stamens, the C. capitatum has 6-3 large, alternating with 3 small.  Capitatum means ‘head’ in reference to the tight umbels.  See Twining Snake Lily.

Related to onions, the bulbs are edible.  It is one of the so-called “Indian Potatoes,” eaten raw, fried, boiled and roasted.  Some have a sweet, nutty flavor.  They were sweeter when baked but were also eaten raw, and were  one of the most important food sources for the Maidu.  They dug the bulb, therefore, the nickname “Digger Indians.”  This name is as offensive as "Nigger" and should be avoided except as part of our darker history.  

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Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
    Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
        Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
            Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
                Class Liliopsida -- Monocotyledons
                    Subclass Liliidae
                        Order Liliales
                            Family Liliaceae -- Lily family
                                Genus Dichelostemma Kunth -- snakelily 
                                    Species Dichelostemma capitatum (Benth.) Wood 
                                    -- bluedicks 

Contains 2 Subspecies and 2 accepted taxa overall

Blue Dicks  (Dichelostemma capitatum)
Total flower head is about one inch across. Only the tip of the long stem is shown.

Blue Dicks  (Dichelostemma capitatum)
A few become as complex as this.