Uvularia perfoliata is a perennial monocotyledon, summer-green herb, 20-40 cm, becoming taller in fruit, colonial from short rhizomes, most reproduction is vegetative, may have populations of over 200 stems per square meter; 1-2 new segments of rhizome become detached from parent at the end of a growing season increasing colony size; above ground stems thin, forked.
Leaves alternate, to 9 cm, lance-shaped, leaf base surrounds stem (perfoliate), 2-4 leaves per branch.
Flowers yellow, 6 petals, glandular-hairy inside, about 2 cm, 1-3 per branch, hanging below leaves, May-June, insect pollinated, self-incompatible, reproduces at about 3 years, (Bierzychudek 1982).
Fruit dry, 3-sided, few-seeded. Seeds have fatty appendages (elaiosomes) which attract ants that disperse seeds (Kudoh et al. 1999).
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Moist forest understory, in acid soil, shade tolerant.
Notes: Most stems do not flower in any given season unless there is sufficient light as in a forest gap (Kudoh et al. 1999).