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Chamaelirium luteum (Fairywand)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Chamaelirium luteum

Chamaelirium luteum (L.) A. Gray

Fairywand, Blazing Star

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Chamaelirium obovale, Veratrum luteum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A lily-like plant with a basal rosette of oval leaves and one or more, 2-4 ft. flower stalks, each topped with a spike of flowers. A wand-like stem, often drooping at tip, rising from a basal cluster of leaves and bearing a densely packed, elongated, terminal cluster of tiny white flowers. Male and female flowers are on separate plants, the male bearing a white, feathery 4-8 in. raceme and the female a shorter and more slender spike. The male flowers have a yellow tint from the color of the stamens, and the raceme, at first erect, becomes curving.

On the plants with all male flowers, yellow stamens create the creamier color of the male flower spike. This species can be readily cultivated.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall in fruit, sometimes taller.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: MA to extreme s. IL, s. to n. FL & AR
Native Habitat: Moist, open, hardwood forests

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Benefits from a winter cover of oak leaves.

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 Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

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 resources

USDA: Find Chamaelirium luteum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Chamaelirium luteum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Chamaelirium luteum


Record Modified: 2023-02-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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