Uvularia sessilifolia (Sessile-leaf Bellwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Straw Lily, Wild Oats
Family:Colchicaceae (Autumn-crocus)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade; moist woods, thickets
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:4 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals

[photo of flower] Flower is about 1 inch long and hangs down on a slender stalk. There are 6 pale yellow or cream colored petals that curve out slightly at the tip end. The petals are not fused, as most bell-shaped flowers are. A plant usually has a single flower, but occasionally has 2.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] In early spring leaves may look grass-like, up to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, tapering to a point at both ends, with no stalk. The edges are smooth and often rolled up but flatten and spread out with maturity. Distinct parallel veins are easily seen on the underside of the leaf. The main stem forks into 2 branches near the top of the plant, with a few leaves on each branch. The main stem is sheathed (see photo below) on the lower 1/3 of the plant, and tends to zig-zag between the alternately attached leaves..

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a ¾ to 1¼ inch long capsule, generally oval to round with an abrupt point at the tip and tapering at the base to a short stalk. There are 3 distinct winged edges around the capsule.


It's easy to miss seeing the flower because it's a short plant and the flower may be hidden under the leaves. Large-flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) also grows in the same habit at the same time of year, but has brighter yellow flowers with twisted petals, and leaves that surround the stem (perfoliate). Formerly in the Liliaceae (Lily) family, Uvularia has been reassigned to Colchicaceae (Autumn-crocus).

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Savanna Portage State Park, Aitkin County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: jaime - bovey mn
on: 2011-07-22 19:52:48

i found these on our property in bovey minnesota. they do not normally grow in that area and never have on that property. our dog died last summer and this spring these flowers sprouted in a 10-15 foot radius around her grave close to mothers day. our daughter said they should be renamed roses because of the special circumstance surrounding their growth.

Posted by: John - Pine County - 3 miles southeast of Duxbury MN
on: 2015-05-11 11:42:11

The Sessile-leaf Bellwort was blooming all over our woods on 5/10/2015 along with Dutchman's Britches, Bloodroot, Wild Ginger, Wood Anemone, Spring Beauties, Yellow Violets, Large-Flowered Trillium and Canada Mayflower

Posted by: Rick - Crosby
on: 2015-05-24 17:18:26

Saw a nice little cluster of these growing in my woods this afternoon. Easy to miss if you're not paying attention to the smaller flora and fauna.

Posted by: luciearl - Fairview Township
on: 2015-07-12 12:10:05

Found a few of these on our trail through the woods. Also found Large Bellwort.

Posted by: Joanne - Chippewa National Forest
on: 2016-05-19 20:27:36

These are blooming along dirt roads, trails, and in the woods. A lovely color addition to an otherwise dry leaf ground cover.

Posted by: Stacey - Waseca County
on: 2017-05-01 12:25:57

I have a few of these in my shady area of garden. Moved from our grove of trees.

Posted by: Meg - Cambridge
on: 2017-05-13 14:58:48

Found a nice cluster of these blooming in the shade on the north side of my neighbors house in town.

Posted by: Wanda - Lutsen. Cook county
on: 2017-05-27 21:11:17

Lots blooming today st Judge Magney state park

Posted by: Gaye S - Jay Cooke State Park
on: 2017-05-29 19:29:18

I saw an abundance of this flower 6 days ago in Jay Cooke State Park south of Duluth. I saw them along the wide path that is above the river.

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