April 29, 2011

Merry Bells Uvularia Perfoliata

Merry Bells   (Bellwort)
Uvularia Perfoliata
Merry Bells is another native plant we have growing wild here at Shady Grove and is blooming now.

It is a dainty plant and one has to look closely to see the bell-shaped pale, yellow bloom(s) hanging from the leaf piercing stem of this low-growing plant.

Merrybells, or Bellworts, Uvularia Perfoliata, is part of the lily family.
"Bellwort was sometimes used to cure throat problems because according to the "doctrine of signatures" it was thought that the blossoms look like the uvula, or palate (that pink appendage which hangs down the back of the throat). " Wort " is a name formerly given to plants used for food or medicine. When used as a suffix, it often just means " plant." The scientific name comes from " the flower hanging like the uvula.""  Quoted  from Auburn University wildflower website. 
"Perfoliata" is latin for 'per' meaning through; and 'foli(a)'  meaning leaf; as in stem looks like it pierces or passes-through the leaf of which you can see clearly by this photo.

Because their bloom(s) hangs down and are maybe not as 'showy' as other wildflowers, we have to be careful where we step and stop to take the time to enjoy these beautiful dainty plants; otherwise, they would be easy to overlook.

My sources:  U.S. WildflowersUSDA plant site includes classificationAlabama Plants; Auburn University Bellwort site and Reader's Digest North American Wildlife.

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