Bells in the Woods – Part I

I had half an hour between appointments and while it was a tad breezy, the light was perfect.  I headed to College Park to see if any new spring flowers had popped open.

Yellow Mandarin

Yellow Mandarin is also known as Fairy Bells.  The Latin name I found in the most places was Disporum lanuginosum which is most likely what your flower field guide will list.  The USDA also lists Streptopus lanuginosus and Prosartes lanuginosa with the latter being the preferred name.  How’s that for confusing?  At any rate, they all seem to agree that Yellow Mandarin is in the Lily family.

Yellow Mandarin

The yellow-green bell-like flowers dangle beneath the leaves and would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for them.  In late summer, if all goes well, you’ll see bright orange-red berries where the flowers used to be.

Yellow Mandarin

I could find no reference to this berry being edible by either humans or animals.  Strange… Usually you can find someplace that will tell you who eats it!

Yellow Mandarin   Yellow Mandarin Range Map from eFloras

More bells tomorrow…

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2 thoughts on “Bells in the Woods – Part I

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    I love your new profile picture!

    I read your post and did a google and found this page from the university of Vermont.
    This might be a different fairy bell
    Disporum trachycarpum
    http://www.uvm.edu/~dneher/plants%20and%20society/wild%20edible%20plants.pdf
    Says the berries are edible. doesnt go into detail about taste etc.

    This is an interesting article from a newspaper..of a fellow who leads edible plant forays..He says the young shoots make nice salad greens..I saved the link and might go on one of his forays when we get to Oregon
    http://www.komonews.com/economy/life/43464717.html

    One more thing I found says the berries taste like cantalope..
    http://books.google.com/books?id=JwiUgoiLa4UC&pg=RA1-PA193&lpg=RA1-PA193&dq=fairy+bells+edible&source=bl&ots=fL_jRy24We&sig=iSHnZirXST9MfLBiEbae6If1txg&hl=en&ei=9XQJSu7-BMGEtwf6uLHcCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6
    But all seem to refer to Disporum trachycarpum
    Let me know if these are the same or similar plants..
    thanks

  2. Thanks for the Fairy Bells photos. We don’t get that plant out here in NE New York, but we do get its lily cousin Rosy Bells (Streptopus roseus), also known as Rose Twisted Stalk. I’m going up to the Adirondacks next week and expect to see them abundantly in bloom near Schroon Lake.

    About that berry: you’d think a berry that bright red was meant to be seen and eaten by some critter. Let’s hope someone who knows will leave a comment and share that information.

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