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ALETRIS aurea

Image of Aletris aurea

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALETRIS aurea

Plant Common Name

Colicroot, Golden Colicroot

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

With a tall, fleeting flower stem carrying bright golden yellow blossoms, the golden colicroot is also ornamental thanks to its foliage rosette. This herbaceous perennial is native to the American Southeast, from the District of Columbia to easternmost Texas and northern Florida. It naturally grows in pinelands, bogs, ditches and prairies.

The leaves arise from the ground to create a basal rosette of attractive light green leaves. Leaf blades are narrow, pointed lances with parallel veins, revealing its common bond to members of the lily family. Depending on climate, flowering occurs from mid-spring to early summer. A thin, upright flowering stem (called a scape) juts up from the rosette center. In the upper third of the scape, tiny oval yellow-gold flowers open from the bottom up in the spike. Each blossom looks warty or mealy and there are six tiny lobes. In fact, the genus name Aletris comes from the Greek word, which means "miller of corn."

Although not usually grown in contrived gardens, conserve a stand of golden colicroot on your property. The plants prosper in moist to wet sandy or loamy soils that are rich in organic matter and non-alkaline in pH. Use this wildflower as a vertical companion to pitcher plants or Venus flytraps in a bog garden.

Compared to the yellow colicroot (Aletris lutea), golden colicroot has a significantly taller flower scape, stouter flower tubes and blooms later. Up until the 19th century, roots of these plants were dug up and used as medicine to treat colic.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 4

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    18"-36" / 45.7cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    10"-16" / 25.4cm - 40.6cm

  • Native To

    United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, South-Central United States, Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes