wild oats

(Uvularia sessilifolia)

Conservation Status
wild oats
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Wild oats is a 4 to 12 tall, erect, herbaceous perennial rising on a single stem from an elongate, slender rhizome. It often forms colonies.

The stems are rounded, forked once above the middle, and have sheathing bracts at the base. They are light green or reddish-green, hairless, are covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous). On young, flowering plants the stem is usually unforked and the upper stem nods under the weight of the leaves and flowers. On mature, fruiting plants the stems are forked once or twice and are reclining. There is usually just a single leaf below the fork of the stem. One branch is sterile and has 4 to 8 leaves, one branch is fertile and has several leaves and 1 to 3 flowers.

The leaves are alternate, untoothed, 1½ to 2½ long and to 1¼ wide, oval to oblong egg-shaped, with a pointed tip and a rounded base. They attach to the stem without a stalk (sessile) but do not wrap around the stem at their base. The upper surface of the leaf is hairless and bright green to bluish-green. They have 3 to 5 prominent, parallel veins. On the underside of the leaf the veins are covered with minute white hairs. On young plants the leaves are soft, drooping, and somewhat rolled. On mature plants the leaves are firm and are held horizontally.

The inflorescence is a single flower at the end of a flowering branch. It may appear to be born in a leaf axil, since the forked stem on which it is born ends abruptly after forking.

The flowers are bell-shaped, ½ to 1 long, nodding and slightly fragrant. They are borne on ¼ to long flower stalks and are subtended with a single bract. There are 6 cream to pale straw-yellow overlapping tepals. The interior surface of the tepals are hairless.

The fruit is a 3-celled, greenish to yellowish-brown, to 1 long, to wide capsule. The capsule is egg-shaped to pyramid-shaped, with a rounded tip and 3 sharp lobes. The lobes are not beaked. Each cell contains several seeds.




4 to 12


Flower Color


Cream to pale straw-yellow


Similar Species


Large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) is a taller plant, 8 to 20 tall. The leaves are perfoliate and larger, 2 to 5 long and ¾ to 2 wide. There are 1 to 3 flowers per stem. The flowers are yellow and larger, 1 to 2 long. The seed capsules have well-rounded lobes and are shorter, to long.

Perfoliate bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) has perfoliate leaves. It does not occur in Minnesota.


Moderate moisture. Forests edges and openings.



  April to May  



Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Liliales (lilies, supplejacks, and allies)  


Colchicaceae (bellworts and allies)  
  Tribe Uvularieae  


Uvularia (bellwort)  



Oakesia sessilifolia

Oakesiella sessilifolia


Common Names


pale bellwort

sessile bellwort

sessileleaf bellwort

sessile-leaf bellwort

sessile-leaved bellwort

small marybells

small merrybells

straw lily












A comparatively short and stout, narrow or prolonged tip on a thickened organ, as on some fruits and seeds.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Covered with a whitish, waxy coating, as on a plum or a grape.



A leaf having margins that entirely surround the stem, giving the appearance that the stem is growing through the leaf.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Stalkless; attached at the base without a petiole, peduncle, pedicel, or stalk.



The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem.



Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.

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Bill Reynolds

Sessileleaf Bellwort St Louis Co MN. I've always known it as Wild Oats.

  wild oats    
Anne Sundal
  wild oats    
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
  wild oats   wild oats



  Sessile Bellwort (Wild Oats) (Uvularia sessilifolia)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Sessile Bellwort (Wild Oats) (Uvularia sessilifolia)  
  Uvularia sessilifolia Top # 5 Facts

Published on Nov 2, 2015

Uvularia sessilifolia Top # 5 Facts




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Edible & Medicinal Wild Oats / Bellwort ( Uvularia sessilifolia )

Published on May 3, 2012

MORE INFO - http://www.sierrapotomac.org/W_Needham/Bellwort_060507.htm




  Wild Oats / Bellwort ( Uvularia sessilifolia )

Published on Jun 30, 2012

Camera used - Toshiba Camileo bw10

  MyNature Apps; Identifying Wild Oats, Uvularia sessilifolia

Uploaded on May 7, 2011

Identifying Wild Oats, Uvularia sessilifolia. www.mynatureapps.com




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Anne Sundal

Location: Mahtomedi, MN

growing wild in our woodland garden

wild oats

Bill Reynolds

Location: Mahtomedi, MN

growing wild in our woodland garden

wild oats

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