Aletris aurea

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Aletris aurea
Aletris aurea gil.jpg
Photo taken by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta - Vascular plants
Class: Magnoliopsida– Monocotyledons
Order: Dioscoreales
Family: Nartheciaceae
Genus: Aletris
Species: A. aurea
Binomial name
Aletris aurea
ALET AURE dist.jpg
Natural range of Aletris aurea from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Late flowering colicroot; Golden colicroot

Taxonomic notes

The genus name Aletris comes for the Greek word for a female slave who ground corn, this is in reference to the perianth shaped like a corn kernel. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin meaning for gold.[1]

Synonyms: none[2]

Varieties: none[2]


A description of Aletris aurea is provided in The Flora of North America.


Aletris aurea is endemic to the longleaf pine range from southeastern Virginia to central Florida and west to southeast Texas.[3] It is infrequent in north and west Florida; and can sometimes be found as far north as Maryland.[4]



This species requires high levels of sun and can be found in both poorly and well-drained soil areas including savannas, flatwoods, bogs, and pine plantations.[5][6]

Associated species include Aletris lutea, Aristida, and Pinus palustris[5] Average maximum root depth is 14.5 cm.[7].


Aletris aurea has been observed flowering April through August.[8][9]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity. [10]

Fire ecology

This plant does well in areas that are annually burned.[5]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

The roots were used to for medicinal properties. It has been claimed to be an excellent remedy in colic, chronic rheumatism, and dropsical affections. In large doses it may cause nausea and vomiting.[11]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. [[1]]Alabama Plants. Accessed: March 22, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  3. Sorrie, B. A. and A. S. Weakley 2001. Coastal Plain valcular plant endemics: Phytogeographic patterns. Castanea 66: 50-82.
  4. Hall, David W. Illustrated Plants of Florida and the Coastal Plain: based on the collections of Leland and Lucy Baltzell. 1993. A Maupin House Book. Gainesville. 241. Print.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium Database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Robert K. Godfrey, R. Komarek, and R.A. Norris. States and Counties: Florida: Liberty. Georgia: Thomas.
  6. Wunderlin, Richard P. and Bruce F. Hansen. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida. Second edition. 2003. University Press of Florida: Gainesville/Tallahassee/Tampa/Boca Raton/Pensacola/Orlando/Miami/Jacksonville/Ft. Myers. 147. Print.
  7. Brewer, J. S., D. J. Baker, et al. (2011). "Carnivory in plants as a beneficial trait in wetlands." Aquatic Botany 94: 62-70.
  8. [[2]]Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Accessed: March 22, 2016
  9. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 7 DEC 2016
  10. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  11. Porcher, F. P. (1863). Resources of the southern fields and forests, medical, economical, and agricultural : being also a medical botany of the Confederate States; with practical information on the useful properties of the trees, plants and shrubs. Richmond, VA, Order of the Surgeon-General.