Fairybells

Korean Fairybell; aka,
Yellow Fairy Bells
or Bellwort


"The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound
coming out of flowers."

-Matsuo Basho,
1644-1694

   

These photos of Korean Fairybells or Fairy Bells shows it in May flower. It will over time spread into a dense clump, short thick rhizomes creating a two-foot tall groundcover of upright or occasionally arching leafed & flowered stems.

FairybellsIt can take two or three years to establish a significant root system. Every few years thereafter the clump can be propagated by division in early spring just before emergence.

The plant emerges in late spring with one to three flower buds immediately visible, & very soon thereafter in fullest bloom. It leaps upward rapidly, with the appearance of a strongly erect two foot tall Solomon's Seal, but with much showier flowers.

These impressive light yellow pendant blooms hang from the very top of the clump's individual stems. They turn into berries that ripen to black by late summer & last through autumn, when the foliage takes on a golden hue.

Its current scientific name of this primitive plant is Disporum flavum, but some confusion arises because it continues to be listed rather randomly under outdated synonyms D. uniflorum & D. sessile var flavens. This native of Korea & Manchuria is suited to zones 5 through 8. It prefers partial shade & moist well draining richly organic soil.

The roots, rhizomes & berries of sundry Disporum species have been used in Chinese medicine & though toxic are only mildly so. It has never been proven efficacious for anything whatsoever, which hasn't kept it from being marketed as a baldness cure or as a generic pharmaceutical extract for whatever use the given herbalist makes up on the spot.

See also:
Disporum cantonese 'Black Heron'




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