Wild Oats or Sessile Bellwort

Uvularia sessilifolia

Wild Oats, or Sessile Bellwort
Wild Oats, or Sessile Bellwort

Just one more nodding, bell-shaped flower for you, in pale yellow. This one goes by many names, including wild oats, cornflower, or sessile bellwort. If you look at the photos carefully, you will see that this supple plant is popping up on the forest floor in early spring, in close company with other early, woodland wildflowers.

Sessile bellwort tends to grow in groups because it spreads by underground stolons. Each slender plant grows to about a foot in height and is separated from the other plants by 6 to 12 inches.

Compare Sessile Bellwort for size, color, and leaf arrangement to Mountain Bellwort,  Large-flowered Bellwort and Perfoliate Bellwort, all of which have a similar flower structure to wild oats. In this species, the word “sessile” refers to how the leaves lack a petiole and are attached directly to the stem. The leaf arrangement is alternate, and the creamy-yellow flowers hang pendant from the leaf axils, like quiet little bells.

Look for Wild Oats in Southwest Virginia in April and May, depending on elevation. All of the plants in these photographs were growing at the edge of moist woods, in relatively open habitat. (Location: Primland and the Blue Ridge Parkway). Click any photo for a larger view.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne J. Campbell says:

    Beautiful pictures especially when looked at large.

  2. I saw some of these on our Sawtooth Ridge a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t know what they were. Thank you!

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