Index- plants in this Family
Liliaceae / Lily
Fairywand (Chamaelirium luteum)
Fairywand is also known as Devil's-bit, Helonias and False Unicorn Root.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 120cm in height (48inches). The male plant only reaches 70cm (28").
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 15cm in length (6inches). Each leaf is entire. The upper leaves are small and narrow while the lower leaves are larger and wider, the basal leaves tending to be obovate.
Flowers: The flowers have 6 Regular Parts. They are white. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into late spring. Male and female flowers are on separate plants. The small flowers are in dense terminal spikes. The male spike reaches 13cm (5"), tapers and often droops at the tip. The female seldom reaches 5cm (2") and is blunt.
Habitat: Rich moist woods.
Range: From Arkansas east and north as far as New York.

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Chamaelirium comes from Greek and translates to "on the ground lily". It seems the first plant named happened to be a dwarf thus the name does not reflect the true nature of the genus. Luteum means yellow and the flowers are white so it too seems a misnomer, however the flowers do fade to yellow and the botanist who named the species was likely describing a dried specimen.

Medical Uses: Native American women chewed the root (or rhizome) during pregnancy and for numerous female problems. It has also been used for a variety of conditions usually related to some portion of the lower abdomen by both native Shamans and modern herbalist alike. It has been recommended for various reproductive problems in men and women, stomach disorders, as a diuretic and numerous other conditions. There seems to be no real science to support these uses.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf



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