Clintonia umbellulata

A white woodlily growing in the west of the state

Clintonia umbellulata speckled woodlily

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA

A perennial herbaceous plant of forest habitats, this species can grow 11-24 inches tall and has 2-4 dark green basal leaves that are 7-12 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. It produces a single slightly hairy flower stalk up to 20 inches high that has a terminal cluster (umbel) with 10-25 outward-facing flowers. Each of these has 6 tepals (petals and sepals that look the same) that are white or greenish white. Often these are speckled with purplish brown or green marks.  The tepals are 0.2-0.3 inches long. The flower has 6 stamens that are longer than the tepals.

The blooming period is May and June. The fruit that forms in summer is a black or deep blue berry 0.1-0.2 inches long containing 2-4 seeds. The berries are not poisonous but are foul- tasting at best. The leaves persist all summer.  It is commercially available, but should be planted in an environment that it suitable for its growth.

This clintonia does best in rich soil in highland areas. It can grow at an altitude up to 3,300 feet. It is often found in the Laurel Mountains in Western PA. As a forest plant it is shade tolerant. It will spread slowly by the growth of underground rhizomes. Sometimes it forms large colonies, but these probably have taken many years to develop.

It is similar to Clintonia borealis (bluebead lily or yellow clintonia), but this more northern species has nodding flowers that have a yellowish tint. It is also sometimes mistaken for the unrelated Allium tricoccum, the wild leak. This species, however, has somewhat elongated nodding flowers and the leaves die back before the flowers form. 

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Grows in rich, moist woodlands.

Mostly found in the west of the state.

Wetland code: Not classified

Flowers May through June.

S-rank:  No rank
G-rank:  G5 (Secure)

Clintonia umbellulata speckled woodlily

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA
Clintonia umbellulata gallery
Plant Life-Form
perennial forb
Common Names
speckled woodlily white clintonia