Speckled Wood Lily or Black-bead Lily

Clintonia umbellulata

Speckled Wood Lily or White Clintonia
Speckled Wood Lily or White Clintonia

There are two Clintonias blooming now in forests in Southwest Virginia. One has yellow flowers and one has white flowers. Speckled Wood Lily (or Black-bead Lily) is the common name of the white version.  The large leaves of this plant are oval-shaped and might put you in mind of the Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid. These leaves tend to grow in groups of 2 to 5.

In late May or early June, Speckled Wood Lily puts up a flower stalk that is topped by a cluster of small white flowers. Each flower has 6 white petals (technically 3 white sepals and 3 white petals) that are often speckled with tiny dots.  Prominent stamens and pistils poke up above the petals. These white flowers will be replaced by dark black berries later in the season (see photo at the bottom of this page). From this description, you can see  how the plant earned both the name “Speckled Wood Lily” and “Black-bead Lily”.

Note how the base of the leaves of Speckled Wood Lily are covered with fine hair.
Note how the base of the leaves of Speckled Wood Lily are covered with fine hair.

I’ve been stalking this plant for the last three years, waiting to find it in bloom.  Finally I found some this year– near Pandapas Pond at the end of May!

Check out the photo gallery below, then compare the features of this plant with the similar Bluebead Lily (Yellow Clintonia).

4 thoughts on “Speckled Wood Lily or Black-bead Lily”

      1. I am so glad to find out the common name of this dainty little flower. I live in Southside Virginia on a farm. It grows in the middle of a sandy path where the grass is growing, too. Thank you for your posting and photos.

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