There are several species of Bellwort that you may encounter during Smoky Mtn springtime trail hikes. In the photos above and below you can easily see where the name comes from. Above is Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvalaria perfoliata). It’s smaller than Large-flowered Bellwort, but larger than the Sessileleaf Bellwort below. Other common names for this plant are Cow Bells or Merry Bells. The word “Perfoliate” refers to the way the leaves wrap around the stem.
Sessileleaf Bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia), or more commonly called Wild Oats, also grows in weak, acidic soils of woodlands and roadsides. I’ve seen this one along both Porters Creek and Thomas Divide trails. It is a tiny, delicate plant, but with a fragrant blossom.
When you are in the Smoky Mtn area, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery on Glades Rd along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail in Gatlinburg. There may be a special Smokies memory there for you to take back home! And if you are a wildflower enthusiast, you may enjoy the Smoky Mountains Wildflower Community on Facebook, where we share photos and tips on wildflower sightings.