Look For It Now: Bellwort & Ginger

The ephemeral wildflowers of Vermont are in their spring glory. The trillium is up and blooming, trout lilies are drooping their yellow heads between speckled leaves, and the bulbous buds of marsh marigolds are opening up their yellow petals. 

Two less splashy (yet no less wonderful) plants to look for now are sessile bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia) and Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense). 

Sessile bellwort, also known as wild oats, is a slender, delicate flower found in woods and thickets. It’s overturned pale yellow flower head makes it easily identifiable as a member of the Lily family (Liliaceae). You can often find sessile bellwort mixed in around trillium, Canada mayflower, and trout lily.

Wild ginger has two distinctive cupped leaves that face inward toward each other. At the base of the stems is the flower — an odd-looking dark red-brown flower. At this time of year, it’s easy to miss the flower; it may be buried under leaf debris.

Canadian wild ginger, native to eastern North America, got its name in part because the leaves and roots smell like ginger. However, culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a completely different species. This plant is part of the Birthwort family (Aristolochiaceae), and can be found in rich woods flowering now through May.

If you want to see these beauties, make haste: they won’t be around for long!


  1. troutbirder on April 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Beautiful post. We must be at pretty much the same latitude because the same wildflowers are blooming now in my woodland garden… 🙂

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