Pine Barren Bellwort

Uvularia puberula Michx.

Uvularia puberula
Stephen M. Young

Monocotyledoneae (Monocots)
State Protection
Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Secure globally - Common in the world; widespread and abundant (but may be rare in some parts of its range).


Did you know?

The shiny leaves of this species are fairly easy to see from a distance. Unfortunately this has not helped relocate two of the three locations on Long Island where this species was last seen in the 1980s. The genus name comes from the similarity of the hanging flowers of this genus to the uvula hanging at the back of your throat (Fernald 1950). The species name refers to the hairs at the top of the stem (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2002).

State Ranking Justification

There are three verified occurrences but two have not been seen as many years. These are the only sites known.

Short-term Trends

The one existing population seems stable but it is in an area where flooding may be a problem.

Long-term Trends

The long-term trend is apparently negative. Two of the three original populations have not been seen again and they may not have persisted.

Conservation and Management


There is little human threat to the existing population although persistent flooding may be a problem.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

There are no management needs at this time.

Research Needs

Research is needed to determine if the existing population can be augmented.



In New York this species grows in the transition zone between the narrow red maple-black gum woods and pitch pine oak barrens surrounding coastal plain ponds. The understory is fairly open and easy to walk around in with open light (New York Natural Heritage Program 2012).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Pitch pine-oak forest (guide)
    A mixed forest that typically occurs on well-drained, sandy soils of glacial outwash plains or moraines; it also occurs on thin, rocky soils of ridgetops. The dominant trees are pitch pine mixed with one or more of the following oaks: scarlet oak, white oak, red oak, or black oak.
  • Red maple-blackgum swamp (guide)
    A maritime, coastal, or inland hardwood swamp that occurs in poorly drained depressions, sometimes in a narrow band between a stream and upland. Red maple and blackgum are often codominant or blackgum may be the dominant tree. Pitch pine may occur on drier hummock islands in pine barrens settings.

Associated Species

  • Acer rubrum
  • Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweet-pepperbush)
  • Gaylussacia frondosa (dangleberry)
  • Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (black-gum, sour-gum)
  • Osmunda cinnamomea
  • Quercus rubra (northern red oak)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Trientalis borealis
  • Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)


New York State Distribution

This small wildflower is only known from Suffolk County, Long Island.

Global Distribution

This wildflower is common in the Virginias and the Carolinas with a few scattered populations north to southern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Long Island. There are also a few scattered populations in the southern Appalachians of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

Identification Comments

General Description

Pine barren bellwort is a low, herbaceous wildflower that grows about 2-3 dm tall with ascending stems that are solid, hairless, and angled in cross-section. The rhizome is very short, with clustered, thickened roots. The fully expanded alternate leaves are ovate to elliptic with acute tips and cuneata to a sessile base. Both surfaces are shiny green with no hairs underneath. The hanging flowers are light yellow and the style is divided to about half its length (Weakley 2004, Uttal 1991).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

This plant can be identified vegetatively. It is best identified in flower but it often does not flower on Long Island.

Similar Species

Uvularia perfoliata has perfoliate leaves. Uvularia sessilifolia is most closely related but the leaves are not shiny and are glaucous beneath. The rhizome is elongate, with scattered, fibrous roots. The flower style is divided only up to a third of its length. It grows in rich deciduous woods, not pine barrens. Hairy Solomons-seal, Polygonatum pubescens, may also look similar but the underside of its leaves are also glaucous and there are hairs on the 3-9 prominent veins. It also tends to grow in richer deciduous habitats (Weakley 2004). The leaves of Mayflower, Maianthemum canadense, look like this plant from afar but the stem is more zig-zag and the leaves are heart-shaped at the base.

Best Time to See

The best time to identify this plant is in April and May when it is in flower, is but it can be identified vegetatively through September.

  • Vegetative
  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Pine Barren Bellwort vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.

Pine Barren Bellwort Images


Pine Barren Bellwort
Uvularia puberula Michx.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Monocotyledoneae (Monocots)
        • Order Liliales
          • Family Colchicaceae

Additional Common Names

  • Mountain Bellwort


  • Uvularia puberula Michx.
  • Uvularia pudica var. nitida (Britt.) Fern.

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford University Press, New York. 723 pp.

Other References

Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Uttal, Leonard J. 1991. Notes on Uvularia puberula. Castanea 56:70. 1991.

Weakley, A.S. 2004. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. Working draft of March 17, 2004. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 871pp. Currently published by the author and available on the web at (

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York


About This Guide

This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young

Information for this guide was last updated on: September 6, 2012

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Uvularia puberula. Available from: Accessed June 23, 2024.