The inflorescence of veratrum californicum
is particularly large and distinctive; a thick, branched spike bearing a dense cluster of many dozen flowers, each with six white tetals, greenish glands at the center, six stamens and a three-pronged pistil. The plant is also notable for its high toxicity, harmful to all animals which ingest the flowers, and even to some species of pollinating insects. The flower blooms in midsummer and inhabits mid to high elevation regions (up to 11,000 feet) of the Pacific and Rocky Mountain states. The bright, yellowish green leaves grow quite densely around the base, pointing upwards and somewhat curved around the stem.