Aletris farinosa L.
White Colicroot, Colic Root, Unicorn Root
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
USDA Symbol: ALFA2
Low, yellow-green, grass-like leaves subtend colic rootís leafless flowering stalks which rise 2-3 1/2 ft. At the top of a sturdy, round stem is a spike-like cluster of small, white, urn-shaped flowers.
Until the 19th century the roots were collected and used medicinally to treat colic. In the South, Blunt-leaved Colic-root (A. obovata) has globose white flowers. Yellow Colic-root (A. aurea) has globose yellow flowers 1/4 of an inch (6 mm) wide. Flowers of this group resemble Ladiesí-Tresses (Spiranthes), members of the Orchid Family.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Flower scape up to about 40 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Native Distribution: C. MA, s. Ont. & WI, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: Moist peaty, sandy or gravelly areas
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist to dry, sandy soil.
Conditions Comments: Aletris lutea, with yellow flowers, occurs in similar habitats and blooms from June to July.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Web ReferenceWebref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Aletris farinosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aletris farinosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aletris farinosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-11-04
Research By: TWC Staff