Growing to 75 cm (30 in) tall by 30 cm (12 in) broad, it is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial with pendent leaves which are hairy on the undersides. It blooms in mid- to late spring, producing large yellow, solitary or paired, bell-shaped, pendent flowers. The top parts of the plant tend to bend downward due to the weight of the leaves and flowers. The light green stems are round, glabrous, and glaucous and the leaves are perfoliate since the stem appears to come through the leaves at the base. In late summer three capsuled ovaries split open releasing seeds that have attached food bodies called (elaiosome) which are attractive to ants that collect and redistribution the seeds.
This plant differs from Uvularia sessilifolia in that the leaves of the latter grow from the stem and its flowers are smaller. U. grandiflora also differs from Uvularia perfoliata, which occurs in eastern North America. The latter has similar large perfoliate leaves, but the flowers have orange-colored bumps on the petals.
The native range of Uvularia grandiflora extends from the Appalachians west to the Dakotas, Kansas and Oklahoma, from Louisiana and Georgia in the South to Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in Canada. So, it is widespread across the eastern mountains, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley. There are also isolated populations along Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
Uvularia grandiflora is a woodland species found in open shade in rich moist woods with calcareous to neutral soils.
Conservation status in the United States
The Menominee use this plant for swellings. The Ojibwa are documented to use the root for pain in the solar plexus, which may refer to pleurisy. The Potawatomi mix an infusion of the root mixed with lard and use it as salve to massage sore muscles and tendons.
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- Bourne, Val. "Merrybells". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
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