Yellow Bells

Bellworts (Uvularia grandiflora) are adding to the pleasure of the early ephemeral native flowers appearing in our backyard. This specimen has a cluster of 4 blossoms protruding from a clasping leaf.  It is as graceful as a time-lapse photograph of a dancer making a bow. The petals peaking out are twisted and seem to move even when there is no breeze.

Because the blossoms hang down, their scientific name is derived from the Latin meaning “little grape” and is reminiscent of the uvula which hangs down at the back of a human throat. As one would expect, grandifloria means having large blossoms.

There are several Uvularia species including U. sessilifolia (Merrybells), U. perfoliata (Perfoliate Bellwort)  and U. puberula (Mountain Bellwort). These three  species’ blossoms are more bell-like, similar to Solomon’s Seal bells, but longer. Their petals are not twisted. Merrybells is native to the eastern North America and the other two more southeastern in the United States.

The patch of Yellow Wake-robin (Trillium luteum) should be the next to add color to the yard,  if the Trout Lilies and Wild Ginger  do not beat them. The Yellow Wake-robins’ twisted blossoms point up, instead of down.

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