Fortunately, other plants that are found in the dune complex can also be found elsewhere so their future is probably more secure.
One such plant is the White Camas (Zigadenus glaucus).
|White Camas (Zigadenus elegans)|
Also known as Mountain Death Camas, or simply Death Camas, White Camas is found across North America. According to the USDA PLANTS database, it has been found in 30 states and 9 Canadian provinces/territories. It is absent from California, the Southeastern states, most of New England, and the Maritime provinces. Most sources list the plant as growing in moist, sandy soil under shaded or partially shaded conditions in habitats such as shorelines, bogs, mountains, and prairies. In Michigan, the plant is mainly found among dunes along the upper shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and also across the southern third of the Lower Peninsula in remnant prairies and oak savannahs.
|White Camas in a dune and swale complex at P.H. Hoeft State Park near Rogers City, MI|
White Camas is a member of the Lily family. It's flower stalks grow up to 2 feet in height. The flower stalks are surrounded by a basal cluster of 4-12 inch long grass-like leaves. A few shorter leaves are present on the flower stalks. The flowers grow in a panicle (branched cluster) and are white, yellow, or pale green, with dark spots near the base of the petals. The flowers have six petals and may be up to 3/4" across. The plant may bloom between May and September.
|White Camas flower panicles|
|White Camas flowers - note the six petals and dark spots near the base of the petals|
White Camas is known as Death Camas because of the presence of alkaloid chemicals. These alkaloids are present in all parts of the plant highly toxic to both humans and livestock. Ingesting even a small amount of this plant and can result in death due to alkaloid poisoning.