Plants 4-20 dm, from bulbs; bulbs not clumped, tunicate, ovoid, 0.5-2 × 1-2 cm. Leaves: proximal blades 10-50 cm × 2-12 mm. Inflorescences racemose or paniculate, 40-100-flowered, cylindrical, 4-15 × 2.5-5 cm. Flowers: perianth hypogynous, 5-10 mm diam.; tepals persistent in fruit, cream colored to greenish, ovate to elliptic, 3-5 mm, narrowed but not sharply contracted basally; gland 1, obscure; pedicel 1-2 cm, bracts often tinged with red, lanceolate, 2-12 mm. Capsules narrowly conic, 10-20 mm. Flowering mid Mar--Jul. Pine bogs, flatlands; 0--1800 m; Ala., Del., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., N.J., N.Y., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va. As treated here, Zigadenus densus includes Z. leimanthoides (W. W. McDearman 1984). These two entities are distinct in some parts of the range, but intergrade in size, inflorescence morphology, and flowering time in the Gulf coast region. The size of the plant (determined by age and environment) seems to affect inflorecence morphology, smaller plants bearing simple racemes and larger plants developing compound ones. Plants in more mountainous habitats develop paniculate inflorescences. Recognition of the two taxa at the varietal level may eventually be desirable.
Much like no. 3 [Zigadenus leimanthoides A. Gray], but smaller and more delicate, 4-10 dm, the infl a raceme; bulbs usually smooth; pedicels 10-20 mm; fls perfect. Moist or wet pine-barrens and open swamps on the coastal plain; se. Va. to Fla. and La. May, June. (Tracyanthus angustifolius)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.