Florida Bellwort
Uvularia floridana - Chapman
Colchicaceae (Saffron) Family

Florida Bellwort is also known as Wild Oats, Merrybells, Spreading Bellwort, and Straw Lily.

Plant is upright with angled stems, bearing one or two creamy-yellow, drooping flowers at the top. Height is usually no more than 18 inches. Preferred habitat is woods, thickets and on rich, moist slopes. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are alternate, sessile, elliptic in outline, smooth, and minutely toothed along the margins; 2 - 3 inches long; light green in color above and whitish below.

Flowers are nodding; narrowly bell-shaped with 2 petal-like sepals; 3 petals and 6 stamens. Flowers occur in the spring.

Fruit is a 3-winged capsule.

This woodland wildflower has a relative, Small Bellwort (often referred to as Perfoliate Bellwort), whose stem appears to pierce the leaf (clasping). The interior surface of the flower is roughened with small glands. A larger version, L. grandiflora, has bright yellow flowers and clasping leaves. In olden times these plants were thought to be good for treating throat ailments because the drooping flowers resembled the uvula (the soft lobe hanging at the throat from the soft palate).

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