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Plant Profile: Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora)

Tellima grandiflora, commonly known as fringecup or big flower tellima, is a fragrant flowering plant native to California but can be found in other areas within western North America. It has a fairly wide habitat range from Alaska south into California and east into Montana and Idaho. Tellima grandiflora can be found along the trails on Mount Sutro as well as within our nursery where we have over 500 fringecups!

Fringecup prefers moist, rich soils and mostly shaded to fully shaded areas. It is commonly found on moist slopes, stream banks, meadows, and thickets. Tellima grandiflora is a perennial plant species whose habitat is herbaceous; its size ranging from about 1-3 feet and grows close to the ground. The plant forms clumps of basal heart shaped leaves with hairy petioles, which is the stalk of the leaf that connect the blade to the stem, and ranging from 5-20cm.

The flowers start off greenish white and as they mature and are pollinated turn to a pinkish red color. The sepals, which look like small leaves and aid in protection for the bud, are fused giving the flower a cup shape and they grow along the stalk above the foliage. They are also very unique to the eye and have long hair-like lobes; they bloom from March to June.

This plant also supports hummingbirds and various bird species and is beneficial to many insects. Tellima grandiflora can be a good plant to have in a garden since it can adapt rather easily. It provides a nice cover ground and can give your garden a fragrant scent. Tellima grandiflora is more common than you would think and is sometimes overlooked. On your next hike through Mount Sutro, look closely along the ground and you may spot some fringecup leaves!

This plant profile is brought to you by Christina Russo, Summer Conservation Intern

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