Hooker’s Fairybell Fruits

A previous post discussed Hooker’s fairybell (Prosartes hookeri) and its similarity to Smith’s fairybell (Prosartes smithii) (Hooker’s Fairybell 05-23-18). The fruits of the two species are also similar and difficult to distinguish in the field, unless one knows the identity of the plant on which the fruit is found.

Hooker’s fairybell seeds are round to ovoid berries that are red and glabrous (lacking hairs or scales). The fruits contain 4 to 6 seeds per fruit.

Primarily a plant of moist habitats in the Pacific Northwest, some indigenous groups from the interior of British Columbia ate Hooker’s fairybell fruits. However most peoples considered them poisonous and associated Hooker’s fairybell fruits with snakes and ghosts.

The pointed tips of Hooker’s fairybell leaves are called “drip tips” because the tips help the leaves shed the bountiful rain that falls where this species often grows.

These Hooker’s fairybell fruits were photographed in September along Watson Falls Trail on Road 37 off of Oregon Highway 138. The plants with flowers were growing along the South Fork Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park CA in May.

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