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Helonias bullata

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
hel-OH-nee-us bul-LAY-tuh
Description

Swamp Pink was federally listed as a threatened species in 1988 due to the loss of its forested wetland habitat through encroaching development, sedimentation, pollution,  and wetland drainage. This plant is currently classified as a Federally and NC Threatened species. The swamp pink is an obligate wetland species, meaning it requires an area that is perennially saturated but not flooded, with the water table at or near the surface and fluctuating only slightly during spring and summer months. It is found naturally in bogs, under shrubs, and in peaty soil. It has thick rhizomes that store energy for the plant.

Swamp pink is a beautiful and unique perennial wildflower, one of the first to bloom in the spring with a bubble gum pink flower clusters that appear in early March and last through May. The stalk is topped by a 1"-3" long cluster of 30 to 50 small, fragrant, pink flowers dotted with pale blue anthers. 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#partial shade#fragrant flowers#perennial#pink flowers#shade tolerant#nectar plant#boggy#wetlands#wet sites#herb garden#moist soil#endangered#NC native#swamps#herbaceous perennial#bogs#native wildflower#wildflower garden#late spring flowers#early spring flowers#mid-spring flowers#Coastal OBL#Piedmont Mountains OBL#food source bulbs#wet soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#partial shade#fragrant flowers#perennial#pink flowers#shade tolerant#nectar plant#boggy#wetlands#wet sites#herb garden#moist soil#endangered#NC native#swamps#herbaceous perennial#bogs#native wildflower#wildflower garden#late spring flowers#early spring flowers#mid-spring flowers#Coastal OBL#Piedmont Mountains OBL#food source bulbs#wet soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helonias
    Species:
    bullata
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    United States
    Distribution:
    Atlantic Coast states from New Jersey to Georgia, particularly New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract many pollinators including butterflies, bumblebees, and sweat bees.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 10 in. - 1 ft. 4 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are available June-July. The mature brown capsules open by dehiscence and release winged seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    A tight cone of bright pink flowers with blue anthers borne on a tall (up to 4 1/2 feet) hollow stem; scale-like bracts toward the base. Fragrant flowers bloom March-May. A small button appears in the center of the plant in the fall. That is the following spring's flower.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal rosette of flat, lanceolate or spatulate, evergreen leaves; broadest above the middle reaching up to 10" long New leaves are light green mature leaves are dark green. In the fall the leaves take on a red-brown-purple color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Water Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees