This is an exceedingly large family containing more than 80 species in our range, divided into 33 genera and 13 different tribes. Many of these rank as among our most beautiful flowers. They usually agree in having a 6-parted perianth and 6 Stamens.
A. Bellwort. Uvularia perfoliata.
B. Wild Oats. Oakesia sessifolia.
Bellwort (Uvularia Perfoliata) is common in rich woods. The stem, that reaches a length of 6 to 18 in., rises from a short rootstalk; it has scale-like bracts near the base and forks toward the top. A single, straw-colored flower is pendent from the end of each drooping branch; it is long, bell-shaped and has six narrow divisions and six stamens much shorter than the perianth and shorter than the style. The leaves are light green, lance-shaped and pierced by the stem; usually three below the fork in the stem. The flowers are slightly fragrant and so concealed by their drooping position as to be invisible from above. They blossom in May and June; found throughout the U. S.
Large-Flowered Bellwort (U. Grandiflora) has larger flowers; stamens longer than the style and but one leaf below the fork in the stem. It is found from N. H. to Minn, and southwards.
Oakesia; Wild Oats (Oakesia Sessifolia) has an angular stem from 6 to 14 in. long. The ovate-lanceolate leaves are seated on the stem and not pierced by it. One or two flowers are suspended opposite the leaves near the end of the stems; they are similar in size and coloring to those of Bellwort but the interior is smooth while the latter has rough ridges. This species is common from Me. to Minn, and southwards.
O. puberula is slightly downy. The leaves are bright green with no glaucus effect. It is found in the pine barrens from N. J. to S. Car.
The various species belonging to this genus are very strongly scented, pugent herbs growing from a coated bulb. The flowers grow in an umbel at the top of a long scape that is sheathed towards the base, by the leaves. The Wild Leek is peculiar in that the long, broad leaves usually wither away before the flowers appear. The six-parted flowers, that comprise the cluster, are rich in honey and are frequented by various species of the smaller bees. This species is found in rich woodland while the other members of the genus inhabit moist fields or marshes.
A. Wild Leek. Allium tricoccum.
B. Wild Garlic. Allium canadense.
Wild Leek; Wild Onion (Allium Tricoccum) is a woodland plant blooming in May and June. The flowers are in an umbel at the top of a scape 6 to 20 in. high. The flower perianth is divided into six greenish-white sepals. The leaves are oblong-lance-shaped, pointed at both ends, on long petioles from the bulbous root, but usually withering before the flowers appear. Found from N. B. to Minn, and southwards.
A. cernuum has fewer, purplish flowers nodding in a loose umbel at the top of a longer scape. The leaves are linear. It is found from N. Y. to Mich, and southwards.