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Fairy Wand, Devil's Bit, False Unicorn Root, Blazing Star, Grubroot, Squirrel Tail, Rattlesnake-root - Chamaelirium luteum


Family: Melanthiaceae - False-Hellebore Family Genus Common Name: Fairywand Native Status: NativeMonocot Perennial Forb Herb
Chamaelirium luteum - Fairy Wand, Devil's Bit, False Unicorn Root, Blazing Star, Grubroot, Squirrel Tail, Rattlesnake-root. Chamaelirium luteum is a dioecious, monotypic species of wet meadows and deciduous woods in the eastern part of the United States. It is officially listed as Endangered in Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Threatened in New York. It is variable listed in the following families: Liliaceae - the Lily family, Melanthiaceae - the False-Hellebore Family, or Helondiadaceae - the Swamp-pink Family, the latter ones being created by the redistribution of Liliaceae. Since ITIS places it in Melanthiaceae, and based on the inflorescence it seems suitable in that family, I will also include it there.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV

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Chamaelirium luteum

Distribution of Chamaelirium luteum in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 28 Jun 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The flowers of the staminate plant are in a long raceme which typically nods in the upper half.
Chamaelirium luteum

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Chamaelirium luteum is dioecious - male and female flowers are on separate plants. Both staminate and pistillate flowers have 6 white to greenish white tepals which yellow with age. The staminate blossoms, shown here, have 6 stamens as well. The pistillate plant has 3 pistils. Note that the stem in the inflorescence is white, or green turning white.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamaelirium luteum

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Fairy Wand grows to about 15 or 18 inches tall.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamaelirium luteum

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The evergreen leaves are primarily in a basal rosette. The staminate plants may have as few as 5 or as many as 20 leaves; the pistillate plants will have 15 to 50 leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamaelirium luteum

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The caudal (stem) leaves are significantly smaller than the basal leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamaelirium luteum

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer