False Unicorn (Chamaelirium luteum)
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Also known as fairy wand, devil's bit, and blazing star. In Western Herbalism many use the name Helonias dioica.
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Chamaelirium luteum is native to North America with a natural range stretching from Florida north to New York and west to the Mississippi River. Most of the significant wild populations of this plant exist in the southern portion of its range. An herbaceous perennial, its leaves form a basal rosette with an emerging flower stalk that bears either a male or female flower spike about two feet tall. Flowering occurs from May to June. Chamaelirium likes to grow in moist, acidic soil located in partially to fully shaded areas in meadows, thickets, and rich woods.
False Unicorn is widely used as a woman's herb. Traditionally, it was used to prevent miscarriage and has a reputation for improving fertility. In Western herbal medicine, it has been used to treat pregnancy problems and ovarian cysts.
Chamaelirium can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes in early spring or in fall. Plants can be started from seed, but the rhizome divisions may allow for a faster harvest.
The surface of the rhizome is covered with small eyes that have the ability to produce growth buds and roots. Plant in pots, keeping soil moist and pots shaded until the new plants emerge. In a well-prepared three-foot wide bed with high organic matter, transplant young plants six to ten inches apart by staggering the plantings. Top dress beds with a light covering of mulch such as pine needles, bark mulch, or rotted conifer-derived sawdust. Add mulch as needed throughout the growing season.
MoonBranch Botanicals specializes in offering the highest quality fresh and dried botanicals, teas and live plants native to the great eastern hardwood forest of North America.
Please note: Plants native to temperate climates, especially those shipped bare-root, are generally best transplanted during the cooler months (October - March) while in or near a state of dormancy. While we make every attempt to ship as needed by our customers, please realize that there is a greater risk of transplant loss during the hot Summer months. Also realize that many species may lose their above ground portions the current season while the roots remain alive, producing new growth the following Spring.