Wildflower Wednesday: Merrybells

Wildflower Wednesday is hosted on the fourth Wednesday of every month by Gail at Clay and Limestone

Sadly, I have no blooming wildflowers to write about at this time. However, in anticipation of the coming spring (only 59 days to go!), I will talk about one of my favorite spring wildflowers for shade: Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora).

Merrybells, Uvularia grandiflora
Merrybells on the west side of the garage.

Merrybells should be used more widely than they are. Both the nodding yellow flowers and the pale green foliage are lovely and distinctive. A May bloomer, it provides good early forage for native bees.

U. grandiflora also forms an attractive groundcover throughout the season in a shady, reasonably moist spot. In drier locations it will go dormant in summer.

This wildflower is native to deciduous woods of eastern North America. If planted in the right spot, I’ve found it to be a care free plant. Merrybells spreads moderately to form clumps, which can be divided in spring or fall. U. grandiflora’s other common name is large-flowered bellwort, but I think merrybells is a much better name, evoking the image of festivities on the village green.

Merrybells, Uvularia grandiflora, Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis var. alba
Merrybells with white Bleeding Heart.

25 Comments on “Wildflower Wednesday: Merrybells

  1. Hello Jason, I guess it is not a weed anymore in your garden, it is beautiful. Maybe all domestic ornamental plants except the hybrids maybe weeds at the beginning. By the way Jason, I have difficulty visiting your site as if i click your link in your comment, it doesn’t open, even it is Jason or gardeninacity. I’ve tried many times and you might think i am not reading your posts as i don’t leave a comment. This time it didn’t open again, but i tried opening ‘About” first then suddenly it opened. I wondered if it is my computer or wordpress which makes the difference. I experienced this with wordpress several times. Thanks.

    • Hi Andrea. So sorry you’re having trouble visiting my site, it could be in the way I’m leaving my comments.

  2. I like it! Especially with the white Bleeding Heart draping over it. From the first photo, I figured it was a tall plant, but putting it to scale with the Bleeding Heart, I can picture the size as kind of a medium-sized perennial.

  3. I recognise this plant as its one of the chic woodlanders that is becoming popular here but I didnt know its common name was Merrybells – so much nicer than the latin name

  4. HOW many days til spring?!! Yay!

    It’s a beautiful plant. I had never heard of Merrybells. I love it with the bleeding heart – a gorgeous springtime combination!

  5. Merrybells is definitely a good one. I used to grow it under a black walnut tree back when I still had shade.

  6. Hmmm… I’ve heard of merrybells but had never read about them as being easy clumpers. I thought they were fussy ephemerals. Now I’m mentally wandering my garden looking for a spot to stick them in. 🙂 How much moisture do they need? I’m a zone 7a.

    • Just moderate moisture, not wet moisture, if you get my drift. Zone 7a should be no problem, it’s native to most of the southeast.

  7. Merrybells are wild flowers and very hardy I think, as other native plants. I love the white Bleeding heart!

  8. I am building up a guerrilla garden using native and wildflowers. This would be a great add – I’ll have to look for a source. Thank you for sharing.
    Teresa Marie

    • It’s an eastern plant, I’m not sure if it’s been successfully grown in California. It likes moist deciduous forests, if that gives you any indication.

  9. What a sweet looking plant! I looked it up in the usda database, and found that it is native to the states to the north, south, and east of us. We are actually in the SE corner of the state, so they would probably grow here. I don’t think I have enough shade, though.

    • If it’s native in Iowa I’m sure you can grow it in eastern Nebraska. What about the north or east side of your house for a shady spot?

  10. Hi Jason, I’ve not heard of Merrybells but I really like the white Dicentra (although it’s not called Dicentra anymore, is it? Dammit if I can remember the new name). I’ve got a few of the pink ones, but a “rogue” white one in among a load of pink would look lovely.

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