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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Liliales

Familia: Melanthiaceae
Tribus: Melanthieae

Genus: Schoenocaulon
Species: S. calcicola – S. caricifolium – S. comatum – S. conzattii – S. dubium – S. frameae – S. ghiesbreghtii – S. ignigenum – S. intermedium – S. jaliscense – S. macrocarpum – S. madidorum – S. megarrhizum – S. mortonii – S. oaxacense – S. obtusum – S. officinale – S. pellucidum – S. plumosum – S. pringlei – S. rzedowskii – S. tenorioi – S. tenue – S. tenuifolium – S. texanum – S. tigrense

Schoenocaulon A.Gray, 1837.

Typus: S. gracile A. Gray, nom. illeg. = S. dubium – ( Michx.) Small


Asagraea Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 25: t. 33. 1839.
Sabadilla Brandt & Ratzeb. in F.G.Hayne, Getreue Darstell Gew. 13: t. 27. 1837.
Skoinolon Raf., Fl. Tell. 4: 27. 1838 (med.) ('1836').


Gray, A. 1837. Ann. Lyceum Nat. Hist. New York 4: 127.

Farr, E. R. & Zijlstra, G. eds. (1996-) Index Nominum Genericorum (Plantarum). 2009 Dec 23 [1].

Govaerts, R. & al. 2006. World Checklist of selected plant families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens. 2009 Dec 23 [2]

Vernacular names
English: feathershank

Schoenocaulon is a North American genus of perennial herbaceous flowering plants, ranging from the southern United States to Peru.[3] It is a member of the Melanthiaceae, according to the APG III classification system, and is placed in the tribe Melanthieae. Unlike other genera in the tribe, the flowers are arranged in a spike; depending on the species the flower stalks for each flower are either very short or completely absent.[4] Feathershank is a common name,[5] the medicinally used S. officinale is called Sabadilla (pronunciation: /sab-uh-dil-uh/, IPA: /ˌsæb əˈdɪl ə/).

Plants generally grow in chaparral, oak, or pine forests. Grazing has narrowed the natural ranges of some species to only steep, rocky terrain.[6] Mexico is the center of Schoenocaulon diversity, with 22 endemic species - some with distributions limited to single mountain ranges.[4] The two species with the widest distributions, S. yucatanense (sometimes treated as part of S. ghiesbreghtii) and S. officinale (sabadilla), may have been spread by pre-Columbians who used the seeds as pesticides.[4]

The petal and sepal color varies by species, with some shade of green being most common, but with maroon, cream, and bright red also represented.[4]


Schoenocaulon calcicola - Oaxaca
Schoenocaulon caricifolium - Tamaulipas
Schoenocaulon comatum - San Luis Potosí, Puebla, Oaxaca
Schoenocaulon conzattii - Oaxaca
Schoenocaulon dubium - Florida
Schoenocaulon frameae - Puebla
Schoenocaulon ghiesbreghtii - S Texas to Veracruz
Schoenocaulon ignigenum - Tamaulipas, Nuevo León
Schoenocaulon intermedium - San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo
Schoenocaulon jaliscense - Jalisco, Oaxaca
Schoenocaulon macrocarpum - Tamaulipas, Nuevo León
Schoenocaulon madidorum - Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca
Schoenocaulon megarrhizum - Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa
Schoenocaulon mortonii - México State, Jalisco, Michoacán
Schoenocaulon oaxacense - Oaxaca
Schoenocaulon obtusum - Hidalgo, México State
Schoenocaulon officinale - C + S Mexico, Central America, Venezuela - sabadilla
Schoenocaulon pellucidum - Nayarit
Schoenocaulon plumosum - Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas
Schoenocaulon pringlei - Hidalgo, Veracruz, México State, D.F.
Schoenocaulon rzedowskii - Mexico, Puebla
Schoenocaulon tenorioi - Oaxaca, Puebla
Schoenocaulon tenue - Morelos
Schoenocaulon tenuifolium - Oaxaca, Puebla
Schoenocaulon texanum - New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León
Schoenocaulon tigrense - Jalisco


1897 illustration from Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Zomlefer, Wendy B.; Judd, Walter S. (2008). "Two New Species of Schoenocaulon (Liliales: Melanthiaceae) from Mexico Supported by ITS Sequence Data". Systematic Botany. 33 (1): 117–124. doi:10.1600/036364408783887474. S2CID 86685454.
Zomlefer, Wendy B.; Whitten, W. Mark; Williams, Norris H.; Judd, Walter S. (2006), "Infrageneric phylogeny of Schoenocaulon (Liliales: Melanthiaceae) with clarification of cryptic species based on ITS sequence data and geographical distribution", American Journal of Botany, 93 (8): 1178–1192, doi:10.3732/ajb.93.8.1178, PMID 21642183
"Schoenocaulon". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
Frame, D. 1990. A revision of Schoenocaulon (Liliaceae: Melanthieae). Ph. D. Thesis. The City University of New York. New York. 269 pp.

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