Little did I know when I started documenting all of the flora and fauna here at Middle Way, that I would need to learn a lot about leaves and stems and pistols, and shapes, and hairy-ness, and really start to see plants in all seasons in a way I hadn’t before.
For example, I might have hoped that there was just one plant that had a flower that looked like this. But alas! There are many kinds of bellwort, and there are just subtle differences, which aren’t so subtle when you really observe, but well, you have to learn what to look for. I’m still learning.
I had all of these photos of bellwort, but then noticed that the flowers looked slightly different from each other, as well as how the leaves and the stem were oriented. On one plant, the leaves were perfoliate, which means it looks like the stem pierces through the leaf. On another the leaves kind of sidled up next to the stem, and did not appear pierced. Then there were the differences of the flower as well – I felt that Mountain Bellwort’s flowers were tighter at the bottom with only a little separation between petals, unlike Perfoliate Bellwort’s flowers.
All of that being said, Mountain Bellwort isn’t as common as Perfoliate Bellwort that I had found, and I give credit to Virginia Wildflowers for her awesome post about her identification of the same plant.
So, we’ve got a lovely spring-blooming flower that likes to grow in mountain woodlands. It has a bell-shaped flower that is such a nice buttery creamy yellow.
The ecology of bellworts are pretty fascinating, and I would direct you to the book “Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont” to learn more.
Size: Plant 8-16" tall Family: Colchicaceae (Meadow Saffron family) Habitat: Shady or some sun, moist to fairly dry forests and woodlands Identifiers: Blooms April-May, creamy bell-shaped flower.