Mountain (not Sessile) bellwort

Mountain bellwortThis is Mountain bellwort (Uvularia puberula) in the spring as it begins its growing season.  Here’s another flowering group. . .

Mountain bellwort

Let’s look more closely at the flower from the side . . .

Mountain bellwort. . .  and up into the flower.  Notice the shapes of the flower’s parts which are in sets of three.

Mountain bellwortBy mid-summer, the leaves have filled out and exhibit their alternating pattern along the stem.  You can see how similar this plant looks at this time to both Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum)  and False Solomon’s seal (Smilacina racemosa).

Mountain bellwortAahh, the Mountain bellwort is developing seed capsules!  You can see them in the above photo as well as the next photo.

Mountain bellwortNote the supporting structure for Mountain bellwort.  It has a single stem which forks into two stems with alternating leaves.  This is in contrast to Solomon’s seal (and False Solomon’s seal) which have a single stem of alternating leaves.

Let’s look more closely at the developing seed capsule.

Mountain bellwortVery interesting!  We can see how the seed capsule has three sides to it — just like the flower we saw in the spring.

Here’s a view of Mountain bellwort in the late summer / early fall when the leaf color begins to change from green to yellow.

Mountain bellwortAgain, we can see the branching pattern into two stalks from the single original stem.  Another view of the changing leaf color . . .

Mountain bellwortWhen we get close to this plant, we can see its seed capsule — now turning brown.

Mountain bellwortGradually, the yellow leaves also turn brown . . .

Mountain bellwortAnother view of the browning seed capsules. . .

Mountain bellwortThe seed capsules become brittle, open to release their seeds, and leave us a reminder of the previous spring’s flower.

Mountain bellwort

NOTE (11/25/13):  When I first discovered this plant in 2009, I thought it was Sessile bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia).  I created this blog post in 2011 — describing what I then thought was Sessile bellwort.  Recently I re-read the plant’s description in several field guides and realized I had made an error.  This is Mountain bellwort (U. puberula) because it has fine (downy) hairs along the upper stems and at each leaf node.  The primary vein on the underside of the leaf also has fine hairs.  In contrast, Sessile bellwort has smooth, hairless stems and leaves.  In all other significant characteristics, the two plants look the same.  For some good photos of U. sessilifolia, visit the GoBotany site for New England wildflowers.

You might also enjoy watching an in-depth video plant portrait for Mountain bellwort.

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3 Responses to Mountain (not Sessile) bellwort

  1. Jim Fowler says:

    I really like the way you treat the species from head to toe. Very nice…

  2. murphy says:

    thanks for the pictures. have tried to find the name of this plant as it grows wild on my land. ,close to a small creek. solomons seal also grows there.. barb

  3. Pingback: Mountain bellwort (Uvularia puberula) | Identify that Plant

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