One of about 14 species of Brodiaea, all native to western North America, Brodiaea coronaria, or Crown Brodiaea, is a showy corm-forming perennial. Its violet or purple flower is an upright bell-shaped tube or umbel up to 1″ long. It has free lobes which rise from a leafless stem, or scape, 4 to 10 inches long. Brodiaea coronaria flowers in late spring to summer once the soil has begun to dry down and, in the wild, it is usually one of the only plants blooming once the grasses have gone dormant, imparting on it it its other common name of Harvest Brodiaea. This is an excellent plant for the rock garden, dry meadow, or slope, and is great to use as an accent plant mixed in with other perennial flowers and grasses. It is best to grow Crown Brodiaea in full sun, although it can tolerate some shade, and to allow it to dry down in the garden; however, a bit of water can help the foliage persist a bit longer, as it typically loses its leaves before it flowers. Some interesting companion plants include Manzanita, Milkweed, and Dodecatheon. Native from southern British Columbia to Central California on rocky bluffs, grassy slopes and open woods mainly west of the Cascades at low to mid-elevations, the scaly corms of Brodiaea coronaria were eaten by Native American tribes in its area. The corms can be eaten raw or cooked and when slowly roasted become very sweet.
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