A wildflower with an interesting blue berry is queen’s cup (Clintonia uniflora). True blue colors are rare among wildflowers. A member of the lily family, queen’s cup is also called bead lily because of its bead-like berry.
A native perennial, queen’s cup can be found in the partial shade of coniferous forests in the Pacific Coast states from Alaska to California, Idaho and the mountains of Montana.
Queen’s cup spreads through horizontal rhizomes that grow just under the ground. Two or three oblong or elliptical leaves with pointed tips surround a short hairy stem topped by a single white flower. The leaves are slightly fleshy and shiny with a hairy margin. The flower is followed by a single bright amethyst blue berry. The berry is unpalatable.
The genus name honors DeWitt Clinton (1769 – 1828), a botanist and the governor of New York State. Uniflora, the species designation, refers to the single flower on each plant.
These queen’s cup berries were growing along the North Umpqua Trail in Oregon. I will return next spring and get pictures of the delicate flower. I love the color of the berry and could not wait until I got a flower picture to share.