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Uvularia sessilifolia L.
Spreading bellwort, Straw lily, Wild oats, Merrybells, Sessile-leaf bellwort
Synonym(s): Oakesiella sessilifolia
USDA Symbol: uvse
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The 10-15 in. stalks of this perennial are usually two-branched and bear oval, lily-like leaves. Delicate, cream-colored flowers may be single or paired and hang bell-like on short axillary stems. The 1 or 2 creamy yellow, drooping flowers are at the top of an angled stem having unstalked leaves. The roots colonize to form a groundcover.
This common woodland wildflower has a near relative, Perfoliate Bellwort (U. perfoliata), whose stem appears to pierce the leaves. The interior surface of the flowers is roughened with small glands. A bigger version, Large-flowered Bellwort (U. grandiflora), has bright yellow flowers and perfoliate leaves which are downy beneath. It reaches a height of 20 (50 cm). Mountain Bellwort (U. puberula) has shiny leaves and stems in clumps, and is similar to Sessile Bellwort, as is Florida Bellwort (U. floridana), which has a small, leaf-like bract on the flower stalk. At one time these plants were thought to be good for treating throat diseases because the drooping flowers resembled the uvula, the soft lobe hanging into the throat from the soft palate.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Complexity: Simple Size Notes:
Generally 6 to 12 inches tall Leaf:
Green in summer 1 inch Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Typically pale yellow in color
, WV Canada: NB
, ON Native Distribution:
N.B. to MN
to the Dakotas, s. to extreme n. FL
Zones 4 to 8 Native Habitat:
Woods, thickets, clearings
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, rich, acidic soils. Prefers high humus and good drainage.
Conditions Comments: Does not tolerate flooding.
groundcover for shade Conspicuous Flowers:
Root Division , Seeds Description:
Seeds should be sown immediately upon ripening and should not be allowed to dry out before sowing. Propagate also by rhizome
division. Commercially Avail:
A winter cover of leaves should be left in place to provide compost and humus. To establish it as a solid groundcover, allow to seed out each year until it fills in fully.
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Springwater, NY
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Delaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DEMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff