Chamaelirium luteum - (L.)A.Gray.
Common Name Blazing Star - Unicorn Root - Devil's Bit, Fairywand
Family Melanthiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards This plant is a cardiac toxin in large quantities[4]. Large doses may cause nausea & vomiting. Chamaelirium luteum is an emmenagogue (promotes menstruation) so best avoided during pregnancy [301].
Habitats Low moist ground[4] in meadows, thickets and rich woods[43].
Range Eastern N. America - New York to Florida, west to Arkansas, Illinois and Michigan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Chamaelirium luteum Blazing Star - Unicorn Root - Devil
Chamaelirium luteum Blazing Star - Unicorn Root - Devil
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 489.
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Chamaelirium luteum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

C. carolinianum. Helonias dioica. H. lutea. Veratrum luteum.

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Adaptogen;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Tonic;  Uterine tonic;  Vermifuge.

Blazing star is a traditional remedy of the North American Indians where it was used mainly as a woman's herb[254]. It is widely used in Western herbal medicine where it is seen as a balancing herb for the female reproductive system and has proved to be a beneficial remedy for menstrual problems and ovarian cysts - it can also be of help in the menopause[254]. The root is adaptogen, diuretic, emetic, uterine tonic and vermifuge[4, 46, 61, 105, 238]. Small doses of the dried and powdered root are used[222]. It is employed in the treatment of amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and leucorrhoea[207] and also for a variety of ailments associated with the male and female reproductive organs[222]. It should be used with caution since an excess causes vomiting[238]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Requires a moist fertile humus-rich acidic soil in sun or light dappled shade[1, 200]. Prefers a cool peaty soil[233]. Plants are dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required[270].
Seed - sow as soon as it is ripe just below the surface of a peat/sand mix in pots in a cold frame[164]. Keep cool and moist. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 6 months at 10°c[164]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in pots plunged in a nursery bed for 1 - 2 years, giving protection from severe weather. Plant out in spring when the plants are large enough[164]. Division.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Readers comment
D   Fri Aug 31 2007
I have had 6 pregnancies, and the only one that did not end in a miscarriage (at 6 weeks), was when I had taken this herb prior to a positive pregnancy test.
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Subject : Chamaelirium luteum  

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