Plants 1-3 dm in flower, 6 dm in fruit. Leaves dark green, 9-35 × 1.5-4 cm; bractlike leaves broadly triangular, 1-2 cm. Racemes 30-70-flowered, ovoid in flower, 2.5-10 cm, elongate in fruit, 10-17.5 cm. Tepals 4-9 mm; filaments filiform, 5-6 mm; anthers blue, 0.75-1 mm; styles 1.4-2.5 mm; pedicel 5-8 mm. Capsules obcordate, 3-8 × 8-10 mm. Seeds whitish brown, 4-6 mm. 2n = 34. Flowering late spring--early summer. Swamps, bogs, and pocosins of the Blue Ridge Mountains and northern coastal plain; 0--1100 m; Del., Ga., Md., N.J., N.Y., N.C., S.C., Va. Helonias bullata is threatened in several eastern coastal states (R. D. Sutter 1984). Linnaeus cited Pennsylvania as the type locality, but probably his material came from the New Jersey pine barrens, and all Pennsylvania populations are introduced (E. T. Wherry et al. 1979; F. H. Utech 1980). This species has horticultural potential in wet gardens.
Basal lvs evergreen, elongate-spatulate, becoming 3 dm; scape elongating to 1 m, covered with short bract-like lvs at base, these becoming remote and scale-like above; raceme ovoid, 3-10 cm, ca 3 cm thick; fls fragrant, 1 cm wide; seeds linear, 5 mm; 2n=14. Swamps and bogs; s. N.Y. (formerly) and N.J. to se. Va. on the coastal plain; Blue Ridge Mts. of Va., N.C., and Ga. Apr., May.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.