Veratrum formosanum

Common Name: veratrum  
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Melanthiaceae
Native Range: Taiwan
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Dark maroon
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Best grown in evenly moist, humusy, well-draining soil in partial shade. Reliably hardy in Zones 7-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Veratrum formosanum is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial native to the mountainous grasslands of Taiwan. Individuals can reach up to 1' tall with an equal spread, though the flowering stalks can reach up to 2' tall. Will spread slowly by underground rhizomes to form a small colony. The narrow, lanceolate, grass-like foliage (up to 8" long and 1" wide) forms a basal rosette from which the flowering stalks emerge. The leaves have distinct, parallel groves or pleats along their lengths. Sturdy and densely hairy flowering stems emerge in summer, bearing many small, dark maroon blooms (around 1" in diameter).

The genus name Veratrum comes from the Latin and means "truly black", in reference to the color of the rhizomes of this species.

The specific epithet formosanum means "of Formosa". Formosa was the name given to the island of Taiwan when it was first colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century.


No known pest or disease problems. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Shaded areas of mixed borders or woodland gardens. Situate close to garden paths so that the flowers can be enjoyed up close.