Uvularia sessilifolia (Sessile-leaf Bellwort)
|Also known as:||Straw Lily, Wild Oats|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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..
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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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?