Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Native Species Profile - Large-flowered Bellwort

Here in Mid-Michigan, we are kind of in a lull when it come to wildflowers.  Most Spring ephemerals have completed flowering and the early Summer wildflowers have not started to take off yet.  There are some species that bridge the gap that is Late Spring: Canada Anemone, Wild Blue Phlox, Mayapple, Swamp Buttercup, and Large-Flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora).

Large-flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

The Large-flowered Bellwort is a 10 to 20 inch tall native perennial.  It can be found growing in cool deciduous woods throughout eastern North America, ranging from Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in the north to as far south as northern Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.  (There is one small population located in southern Louisiana - probably the result of seeds brought down the Mississippi River.)  From West to East it ranges from far eastern North and South Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma to the Appalachians - the plant is largely absent from the Atlantic Coastal Plain. 

Large-flowered Bellwort in Northern Michigan with Large-flowered Trillium, Dutchman's Breeches, and Spring Beauty

The Large-flowered Bellwort looks like a plant in serious need of a drink.  With the exception of its upright stalks, everything about the plant appears to be drooping.  Both the pale green leaves and pale yellow flowers hang downward and often appear crinkled or twisted.

Large-flowered Bellwort - note the twisted, downward hanging leaves and flowers

 The flower is 1 to 2 inches long.  The plant blooms between April and June.  Typical appearance in Mid-Michigan is late-April to early-May, coinciding with the blooms of Large-flowered Trillium.  The flowers are pollinated by native bees (including bumblebees) and other insects.

Large-flowered Bellwort closeup

Basic Information

Large-flowered Bellwort 
Uvularia grandiflora

Height:  10-20” tall (occasionally up to 36 inches)

Habitat:  deciduous woods

Flower Color:  pale yellow

Bloom Time:  April – early June

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