Clintonia uniflora

Bride's bonnet


The Basics

Taxonomy: Kingdom - Plantae (plants). Subkingdom - Tracheobionta (vascular plants). Superdivision - Spermatophyta (seed plants). Division - Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants). Class - Liliopsida. Order - Liliales. Family - Liliaceae (lily family). Genus - Clintonia Raf. Species - Clintonia uniflora (Menzies ec. Schult. f.) Kunth.

Ecology: Bride's bonnet occurs in many coniferous forests types. It is an indicator in moist or cool forests such as western redcedar (Thuja plicata), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), grand fir (Abies grandis), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), and Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis). In addition to these species, bride's bonnet is associated with western white pine (Pinus monticola), Alaska-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), and noble fir (Abies procera). It also inhabits riparian zones. Bride's bonnet occurs to a lesser extent in drier forest types such as Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). It has even been reported in mature ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) stands. Understory species associates include threeleaf foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata), twinflower (Linnaea borealis), and bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis).


General: Widely rhizomatous perennial, the peduncle ½ to ¾ as long as the leaves. Leaves: Leaves 2-3, nearly basal, elliptic to oblong-obovate, rounded to pointed, 7-15 cm. long and about 1/3 as broad. Flowers: Flower solitary, white, bell-shaped, about 2 cm. long; tepals 6, alike, distinct, narrow, twice as long as the broad, flat filaments; style slender, stigma 3-lobed. Fruits: Fruit a sub-globose berry, deep lustrous blue, 6-10 mm. long.


RESPONSE TO FIRE: Bride's bonnet typically declines in frequency and coverage due to fire. Declines can be small and short lived. For example, 1 year after a fall experimental burn in a cold, wet area of the Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir zone of south-central British Columbia, mean queencup beadlily coverage dropped from 2.13% before fire to 0.61%. However, subsequent monitoring after 2, 3, 5, and 11 postfire years showed bride's bonnet coverage was equal to or greater than prefire coverage. On a western larch-Douglas-fir site in western Montana, Halvorson listed bride's bonnet as a common species 4 years after a fire on damp fuels that did not affect 65% of the vegetation and only charred the duff in affected areas. However, occurrence of queencup beadlily before the fire was unknown.

Fire tops kills or kills bride's bonnet.


Seed production: Clintonia uniflora is a monocot and a perennial herb. The Bride's bonnet berry contains several seeds and has an average of 6.76 seeds per fruit. The seeds are dispersed by Frugivorous birds. This type of bird is the only one that disperses Clintonia uniflora.

Seed germination and longevity: Although little is known of the length of time soil-stored queencup beadlily seeds remain viable, findings to date suggest it is at least a couple years. On average 56% of the seeds did not germinate after 500 days in the soil. It takes 325 days at 400F for the germination to happen from ripe fruit.

Flowering and Shoots: Flowering occurs in late May-Jul. in Montane coniferous forests; ranging in 3,00 to 5,00 feet of elevation. The shoots that occur from Clintonia uniflora are quite common and occur more often then seeds. Due to how fast they grow they often create a large amount of shoots or ramets.

Species Distribution


USDA Plant Database
USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
Distribution Map photo Credit

Calflora Plant Database
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals, including the Consortium of California Herbaria. [web application]. 2017. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: (Accessed: Feb 03, 2017).

USFS Plant Database
Meyer, Rachelle S. 2005. Clintonia uniflora. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2017, February 3].

Flora of North America
Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 19+ vols. New York and Oxford.

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Burke Museum. 2017. Clintonia uniflora [Online]. University of Washington.
Photo credit: 2004, Ben Legler