(Aletris farinosa) Lily family
Flowers - Small, oblong-tubular, pure white or yellowish, about
1/4 in. long, set obliquely in a long, wand-like, spiked raceme,
at the end of a slender scape 2 to 3 ft. tall. Perianth somewhat
bell-shaped, 6-pointed, rough or mealy
outside; 6 stamens,
inserted below each point; style 3-cleft at tip. (A Southern form
or distinct species (?) has yellower, fragrant flowers.) Leaves:
>From the base, lance-shaped, 2 to 6 in. long, thin, pale
yellowish green, in a spreading cluster.
Preferred Habitat - Dry soil; roadsides; open, grassy, sandy
Flowering Season - May-July.
Distribution - From Ontario and the Mississippi eastward to the
Herb gatherers have searched far and wide for this plant's
bitter, fibrous root, because of its supposed medicinal virtues.
What decoctions have not men swallowed from babyhood to old age
to get relief from griping colic! In partial shade, colonies of
the tufted yellow-green leaves send up from the center gradually
lengthening spikes of bloom that may finally attain over a foot
in length. The plant is not unknown in borders of men's gardens.
The Greek word (aletron = meal) from which its generic title is
derived, refers to the rough, granular surface of the little
oblong white flower.
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