SITY: Sessile Bellwort

Once I’d trained my eyes to recognize hairy Solomon’s seal, I saw it everywhere. We probably have more of it than we do of its false cousin, but it’s so small and unobtrusive that it’s no wonder that I never noticed before. And, while poking around the edges of the woods, gawking at my new plant friends, I found yet another wildflower, sessile bellwort, that is similar in appearance.

Sessile Bellwort
Sessile Bellwort, From Another Angle

One way to tell the two plants apart, according to what I’ve read, is that Solomon’s seal has a single stem with alternating leaves. Sessile bellwort has a main stem that branches into two. This flower appears twice in my field guide, because its color could be characterized as either white or yellow, as it falls somewhere in-between. The plants I’ve seen each had only a single flower, but the field guide says there could be two. You can read more about sessile bellwort here at virginiawildflowers.org.

I first identified this plant a few years ago. It was growing in the woods behind the house, so I’m not surprised that it’s made its way over here, along my path into woods. It’s amazing the way wild plants get around. My list of local flora is getting longer by the day, and I’ve hardly even scratched the surface.

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