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Chlorogalum pomeridianum
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Soap Plant
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Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  

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About Soap Plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum) Chlorogalum pomeridianum is a member of the Agavaceae (Agave) family, but it more closely resembles a Lily. It is the most common and most widely distributed of the Soap Plants, found in most of California, apart from the Sierra Nevada and the deserts, and also in south-western Oregon. Wavy-leafed Soap Plant grows on rock bluffs, grasslands, chaparral, and in open woodlands. There are three recognized Varieties: Var. minus is a rare plant included on CNPS list 1B.2. Like all the Soap Plants, the Wavy-leafed Soap Plant is a perennial that grows from a bulb, which is brown, between 7 and 15 centimeter in diameter, slightly elongated, and covered in thick, coarse fibers. The leaves grow from the base of the plant, and can be from 20 to 70 centimeter long and 6 to 25 millimeter wide. As the plant's name indicates, their edges are generally wavy, though this is not always particularly noticeable. The very small flowers are borne on long, thin stems, normally much longer than the leaves, which are from 15 to 30 millimeters long. The three petals and three sepals of the flower are up to 35 millimeters, long and curving. They are typically white but have a noticeable mid-vein which can be purple or green in color. The six stamens are large and noticeable, and yellow or orange. The flowers are bisexual (include both female and male parts). They open only in the late afternoon or evening, remaining open during the night but closing by the morning. Pollination is by evening- or night-flying insects. The plant is drought-deciduous and usually disappears entirely by late summer. The common name Soaproot refers to use of the bulb by Native people. The bulb was also used to stupify fish. The rough fibers surrounding the bulb were used for scrubbing. Once established it requires virtually no care. Best when planted in mass.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
3 ft (0.9 m)

Max. Width
1.5 ft (0.5 m)

Fragrance
Slight

Dormancy
Summer Deciduous,

Flower Color
White

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter


Native Status
Native

Natural Setting
Site Type
Seasonally dry bluffs, slopes and flats as part of grassland, sage scrub, chaparral, or woodland

Sun
Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 7310'

Annual Precip. ?
10.7" - 96.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.70"

Coldest Month ?
30.9° F - 55.7° F

Hottest Month ?
53.9° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.45 vpd - 26.62 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils

Soil PH
5.5 - 8.0

Drainage
Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 5° F

Companion Plants
Use as a filler between small trees or chaparral shrubs, or in grasslands, meadows or rock gardens, along with native grasses; other geophytes such as Mariposa Lily (Calochortus sp.) or Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum); or with succulents such as Dudleya sp. and various cactus species.

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous small insects are attracted to the flowers, such as native bees and hover flies

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Low
Moderate - High


Popularity
Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
1x/month
2x/month
3x/month
1/week
Keep moist


Mulch
Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Wavyleaf Soap Plant, Soaproot


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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