Uvullaria grandiflora Sm. - Large Bellwort, Bellwort

Uvularia grandiflora plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - To +30cm tall, erect, simple to branching above, glabrous, glaucous, fleshy, herbaceous, from rhizomes and thickened roots.

Leaves - Alternate, perfoliate, rounded at base, acute at apex, entire, glabrous, with 3-5 prominent parallel veins, to +8cm long, 3cm broad.

Inflorescence - Single flower terminating stems. Pedicel to 1.5cm long, glabrous. Flowers pendant.

Flowers - Tepals 6, yellow, spirally curled, linear-oblong, entire, acute, glabrous, to +4cm long, 6mm broad. Stamens 6, erect. Filaments compressed, 5mm long, white, glabrous. Anthers 1.6cm long, yellow. Ovary superior, 3-sided, 5mm long, 4mm broad, 3-valved, 3-locular. Placentation axile. Ovules many. Styles 3, connate in basal 1/2, to 1.3cm long, yellowish-green, glabrous. Stigmas slightly curved at apex.

Uvularia grandiflora flower

Uvularia grandiflora stamensStamens (tepals removed).

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Rich rocky woods, steep slopes, alluvial valleys.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking species is common throughout Missouri except in some of the prairie areas. This species is one of the earlier plants to bloom in the spring. Another species, U. sessifolia L. is similar but has sessile leaves, not perfoliate leaves.
The roots and young shoots of U. grandiflora can be eaten. Traditionally, the plant was used to treat sore muscles, backaches, toothaches, and swelling.
This species grows well from seed and should be cultivated more.

Photographs taken at Rock Bridge State Park, Columbia, MO., 4-18-04.


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