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Galax urceolata (Beetleweed)
Brundage, Stephanie

Galax urceolata

Galax urceolata (Poir.) Brummitt

Beetleweed, Galax, Coltsfoot, Wand Flower

Diapensiaceae (Diapensia Family)

Synonym(s): Galax aphylla

USDA Symbol: GAUR2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Spike-like racemes of dainty, white flowers grow on leafless stalks, 8-15 in. high. The round basal foliage is shiny green, leathery, and often has a reddish tint. These evergreen leaves are held on long petioles. Rhizomes are red and spread widely, allowing the plant to colonize.

The long flower stalk rising from the roundish, evergreen leaves identifies this attractive southern wildflower. Its rare smaller relative Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia) is found only in the southern Appalachians. Planted in gardens as far north as Massachusetts, Beetleweed may escape from cultivation. The genus name is from the Greek word gala ("milk") and refers to the flower color.


From the Image Gallery

25 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Leaves 3 to 6 inches high. Flower stalks 1 to 2 feet high.
Leaf: Bright green.
Flower: Flowers in 2 to 5 inch flower spikes.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , GA , KY , MA , NC , NY , OH , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: Mts. of MD to KY, s. to GA & AL; also extending to coastal plain of s.e. VA, Zones 6 to 7
Native Habitat: Moist to dry, mountain woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Rich, loose, acidic, well-mulched, well-drained sand or loam.
Conditions Comments: Does not do well in the disturbed, impoverished soil of typical home landscapes. Needs rich, well-drained woodland soils.


Use Ornamental: A delicate groundcover for the Southeastern woodland garden
Use Wildlife: Browsed by deer
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: No


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by fresh seed, cuttings in summer, or root division in spring. Divide large clumps, leaving soil adhering. Seed should be planted as soon as ripe.
Seed Treatment: Use a coldframe.

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


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-30
Research By: TWC Staff

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