The Triteleia is a genus from Asparagaceae family and is native to western North America. The Triteleia laxa has several common names, including Ithuriel’s spear, triplet lily and grass nut. This plant grows from a corm and was previously named Brodiaea laxa. The Triteleia laxa is native to California.

The genus name Triteleia is derived from the Greek and means ‘triplicate’ which refers to its flower parts which are multiples of three. Laxa means open or spreading.

The corm is edible and tastes like potato and can be used in the same way.

The flower looks like that of the Allium but the Triteleia laxa belongs to a different family, is not a bulb and does not smell like an onion.

In late winter the leaves emerge. By the time the flowers open, the leaves will have withered. After flowering the plant goes dormant in summer. The flowers are perfect for bouquets.

The Triteleia laxa is tolerant to drought, grows well in rich, sandy and well-drained soils and prefers a spot in full sun to part shade. The Triteleia laxa also tolerates clay soils. You get the best results if you provide the plant with consistent moisture from spring till it starts to flower. When the corm is dormant, the soil needs to be dry.

The Ithuriel’s spear is cold hardy to about -4 ºF (-20 ºC) as long as the soil is not wet. Extra protection with a layer of mulch or fallen leaves is always good.

The Triteleia laxa spreads through seed and new corms but is not invasive. The new plants grown from seed will flower after two to three years.


Attracts bees: yes

Characteristic: newly emerging every year

Deer resistant: yes

Exposure: sun/ part shade

Flower color: purple

Flowering time: June - July

Foliage color: green

Fragrant flower: yes

Hardiness: -4 ºF/ -20 ºC

Height: 20 inches/ 50 cm

Soil: normal/ dry