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ALETRIS lutea

Image of Aletris lutea

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALETRIS lutea

Plant Common Name

Colicroot, Yellow Colicroot

Special Notice

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

General Description

An ankle- to shin-high flower stem carrying bright yellow blossoms above a foliage rosette is indicating of the yellow colicroot. This herbaceous perennial is native to the American Southeast, from Savannah, Georgia to New Orleans and south to the Florida Keys. It naturally grows in pinelands, bogs, wet ditches and seasonally flooded 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. Flowering begins as early as the vernal equinox, but possibly delayed until mid- to late spring. A thin, upright flowering stem (called a scape) juts up from the rosette center. In the upper third of the scape, tiny tubular lemon yellow (rarely pale white-yellow) flowers open from the bottom up in the spike. Each blossom looks 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 yellow colicroot on your property. The plants prosper in moist to wet sandy soils that have some organic matter and are acidic in pH. Use this wildflower as a vertical companion to pitcher plants or Venus flytraps in a bog garden.

Compared to the golden colicroot (Aletris aurea), yellow colicroot has a significantly shorter flower scape, longer and more tubular blossoms, and blooms earlier. Up until the 19th century, roots of these plants were dug up and used as medicine to treat colic.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 12

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    5"-12" / 12.7cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    4"-7" / 10.2cm - 17.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    United States, Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Lemon Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Light Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes