Roughfruit wartberry as seen along the Riley Creek Trail #216A, Malheur National Forest...........June 4, 2011.
Sierra fairy-bell is an attractive wildflower in the lily family which would be suitable for woodland gardens. The plants range from 30-60 cm high with branched stems. The stems are brownish to purplish in color and are pubescent. The leaves alternate on the stems and are ovate in shape with tips gradually tapering to a point. The leaves are sessile (no stem) on the stems and are glabrous or smooth above and hairy below. The parallel veins are very prominent and the leaf margins although smooth, are ciliate or lightly haired. Individual leaves range from 6-12 cm long and 4-8 cm wide.
The flowers are creamy white and bell shaped. One or two flowers may be found at the ends of each branch. Individual flowers have 6 tepals, the individual tepals narrowly oblanceolate and 8-15 mm long. The stamens are equal in length or slightly exceed the end of the tepals. The style is glabrous and not hairy.
The fruit is a green to orange or red berry that is not hairy. These rounded berries however are covered with bumps or "warts", hence the name wartberry. The berries are 6-15 seeded.
Sierra fairy-bell is found on moist wooded slopes and often in riparian area. It may be found in coniferous forests as well as under aspen groves.
Sierra fairy-bell may be found from central British Columbia and Alberta south to Okanogan County in Washington, and in eastern Washington, south to the Blue and Wallowa Mts. of southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. It is found southwards through the Rocky Mts. of Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and into Arizona. It is found east of the Rockies to North and South Dakota and Nebraska.
Besides being an attractive landscaping plant, the berries are used as food by grouse. The Blackfoot Indians evidently ate them raw. The plant is not useful as forage for livestock.