Chamaelirium luteum (L.) A. Gray
Fairywand, Blazing Star
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Synonym(s): Chamaelirium obovale, Veratrum luteum
USDA Symbol: CHLU
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall in fruit, sometimes taller.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsLight 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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 ReferenceWebref 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 Chamaelirium luteum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Chamaelirium luteum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Chamaelirium luteum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-01
Research By: TWC Staff