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ALETRIS x tottenii

Image of Aletris x tottenii

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALETRIS x tottenii

Plant Common Name

Colicroot

Special Notice

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

General Description

A weed-like rosette of bright green leaves is overlooked until the colicroot produces a wiry flower stem in spring. This herbaceous perennial is native to the American Southeast's coastal plain, a naturally occurring hybrid between the southern colicroot (Aletris obovata) and yellow colicroot (Aletris lutea) where their natural ranges overlap. It naturally grows in moist pinelands, damp grasslands and roadside ditches. Up until the 19th century, roots of these plants were dug up and used as medicine to treat colic.

The leaves arise from the ground to create a basal rosette of attractive light to medium green leaves. Leaf blades are blunt-end lances with parallel veins, revealing its common bond to members of the lily family. Flowering occurs from very early to late spring, depending on climate. A thin, upright flowering stem (called a scape) juts up from the rosette center. In the upper third of the scape, tiny tubular pale yellow to buttery ivory flowers open from the bottom up in the spike. The blossoms may be edged in orange or orange-pink. Each blossom looks mealy and there are six tiny lobes. In fact, the genus name Aletris is a Greek word meaning "miller of corn." Insects pollinate the flowers, leading to small fruits with seeds inside.

Although not usually grown in contrived gardens, conserve a stand of 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 natural-hybrid wildflower as a vertical companion to pitcher plants or Venus flytraps in a bog garden.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6"-14" / 15.2cm - 35.6cm

  • Width

    5"-8" / 12.7cm - 20.3cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • 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