Oconee bells, Oconee-bells, Shortia
USDA Symbol: SHGA
USDA Native Status:
A low, spreading, evergreen perennial with long-petioled, shiny, round, basal leaves. A 4 in., erect scape bears a single, large, white or slightly pinkish flower with five, frilled petals. The leaves turn bronze in the fall.
This species is of considerable interest to botanists. Extremely rare, it was not found again for almost a century after its initial discovery in 1788. It grows well in gardens. The species name suggests its resemblance to Beetleweed or Galax (Galax urceolata), but its scalloped leaves are smaller, and the flowers are solitary, not in long spikes. The genus name honors a 19th-century Kentucky botanist, Dr. Charles Wilkins Short.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
DistributionUSA: GA , NC , SC , TN , VA
Native Distribution: Locally in a few GA, NC & SC cos.
Native Habitat: Rich, wooded stream banks
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Well-drained, acid, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Difficult to establish and slow to spread. Rare in nature, but commonly cultivated as a ground cover.
PropagationDescription: Most easily propagated by division. To produce seed, cross pollination must occur between plants of different clones. The seed should be planted immediately after collection. Give seedlings protection for one year.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Shortia galacifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Shortia galacifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Shortia galacifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2012-07-16
Research By: TWC Staff