In Florida, this small herbaceous plant of dry to moist hammocks is found only in Leon and Gadsden Counties. The range includes much of the eastern United States, west into Indiana and Kentucky, extending farther west in the south to Texas and Oklahoma, plus Ontario.
Of the three Uvularia
species in Florida, this is the only one with perfoliate
leaves. In other parts of the range, U. grandiflora
also shares this leaf characteristic.
Perfoliate bellwort is an erect, colonial perennial that grows from 20-40 cm (8-16 in.) tall. The perfoliate leaves are alternate, elliptic, entire, smooth underneath and 5-9 cm (2 to 3-1/2 in.) long. The flowers are straw yellow colored with three sepals overlapping the three similar looking petals. Flowers are nodding, appearing singly from the upper leaf axils. The inner surface of the petals are rough, appearing granular, as though sprinkled with corn meal.
The genus name derives from Linnaeus, the flower reminding him of the uvula hanging from the back of our mouths.