Fringecup, Tellima grandiflora (Pursh) Dougl. ex Lindl.


Perennial forb with short rhizomes, leaves lightly hairy arising basally, cordate 5-8 cm wide shallowly 5-7 lobed and coarsely toothed, flowers greenish-white to reddish, fragrant, 5 pinnately divided petals, racemose inflorescence of 10-35, fruits capsules 10 mm long with numerous seeds.  (2, 4)





















Moist woods, streambanks and lower mountain slopes from S. Alaska to San Francisco Bay. Occurs mainly W. Cascades but also found through the Columbia River Gorge, E. British Columbia and N. Idaho and Montana. (2, 4)


Climate, elevation


Predominantly Pacific maritime climate but also found in moister zones of interior continental climate. Common from sea level to 1000 m. (2, 4)


 Local occurrence


Moist forest understories and streambanks throughout Puget Sound from the lowlands to mid elevations in the Cascades and Olympics. (2, 4)


Habitat preferences


Moist, shady coniferous and deciduous forests, shaded riparian zones (2, 4)


Plant strategy type/successional stage


Not specifically found in literature. Appears to be associated with more mature forests. Probably not an early successional but does form thick monotypic patches in forest gaps, along streambanks and low elevation hiking trails indicating that it can take advantage of disturbance and therefore may be considered ruderal. (2, 4)


Associated species


Widely associated with both deciduous and coniferous forests throughout its range. Commonly found locally beneath red alder (Alnus rubra), big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum),  Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western red cedar (Thuja plicata), black cottonwood and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). Often found associated with sword fern (Polystichum munitum), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), California hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and other common understory shrubs. Forms mixed understory ground cover with Pacific waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes), foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata), youth-on-age (Tolmiea menziesii) and other understory groundcovers. (2, 4)


May be collected as:


Seed – flowers bloom April through June, fruits probably ripe by mid-summer (1, 2, 3, 4)


Divisions – clump portions with ample roots in fall to late winter (1, 2, 3, 4)


Collection restrictions or guidelines


Typical conservative collection methods for genetic integrity and minimal ecosystem impact apply.


Seed germination


Need for stratification not noted in literature. Like many Pacific Northwest plants cold stratification may increase germination. Commercial greenhouse propagation method indicates germination after 112 days for surface sown seed in flats kept under constant mist. (3)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)


Seed has been noted that it can be stored at low humidity, low temperature conditions but without specifics of shelf-life or temperature. (3)


Recommended seed storage conditions


Typical low temp, low humidity conditions (3)

Propagation recommendations


No particular propagation method recommended in literature. Seed would yield greater numbers of individuals with lower impact. Divisions most likely could be installed same season or potted for more mature plants the next season.


Soil or medium requirements


Standard germination mix for seeds and standard potting mix for germinants and divisions. (3)


Installation form


Fresh collected divisions could be installed immediately especially in late fall/winter. No references were made in the literature to direct seeding. Germinants ready to plant after first year as 4 inch pots.




Recommended planting density


As with most groundcovers denser plantings 30 cm or less apart result in more complete cover sooner. (1)



Care requirements after installed


Based on habitat preference, If installation site is not consistently moist consistent watering during summer and other dry periods crucial. Weekly watering if not daily during especially dry periods.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan


Not noted in literature. Like most perennials that grow vegetatively they most likely persist clonally for long but unknown periods of time. Fringecup has been noted to be a fast grower in suitable conditions.


Sources cited


1)       Dave’s Garden, Inc. 2003. Plants Database. http://www.plantsdatabase.com


2)       Hitchcock, C. Leo and Cronquist, Arthur. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. 1998. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.


3)       Native Plants Journal and Network. http://www.nativeplantsnetwork.org .


4)       Pojar, Jim and McKinnon, Andy, eds. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. 1994. Lone Pine Press, British Columbia.


5)       USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov) National Plant Database Center,


Data compiled by


Rodney Pond 04.20.03