Hooker’s Fairy Bells

Fairy Bells1

allegedly also called Drops-of-Gold

Prosartes hookeri (pro-sar-teez: appended; hook-er-eye: honoring Sir Joseph Hooker). Synonym: Disporum hookeri.

Flowers ⅜–¾” long [9–18 mm], white, bell-shaped, pendent in pairs (or sometimes 1 or 3) from branchtips; 6 tepals flaring, exposing the 6 stamens; berries smooth, ripening red, egg-shaped, ¼–½” long [6–12 mm], hold 4–6 seeds, ± edible (juicy, sweetish but insipid); leaves 2–5″ long [5–12 cm], their edges wavy and minutely hairy; stems 1–3′ [30–90 cm], much branched.

Habitat: Abundant in lower-elevation forests.

Fairy Bells2Similar: Fairy Lanterns, Prosartes smithii, is much less abundant here, and its flowers are more cylindrical than bell-shaped.

This article and photos are adapted from Northwest Mountain Wildflowers, an app for iPhone and iPod.