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Fringe Cups

Tellima grandiflora

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, parks, riversides, towns, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

Variable in colour, 5 petals
Fringe Cups (Tellima grandiflora), also known as fringecups or bigflower tellima, display delicate clusters of bell-shaped flowers held above basal rosettes of softly toothed, heart-shaped leaves. Each flower features five distinctive, deeply fringed petals, giving them a graceful appearance akin to lace. Their colors range from soft pink to pale green, with a subtle but pleasing fragrance that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. Blooming from late spring into early summer, these perennial wildflowers add a charming, woodland feel to shaded gardens, woodland edges, and moist meadows, flourishing in humus-rich soil and dappled sunlight.
The fruit of Fringe Cups consists of small, capsule-like structures that develop after the flowers have been pollinated. These capsules contain numerous tiny seeds that are dispersed when the capsules split open. The seeds are light and are often spread by wind or by attaching to the fur of passing animals. The fruits mature later in the season, typically in summer or early fall, adding to the plant's lifecycle and ecological role in its habitat.
The leaves of Fringe Cups are basal and form attractive rosettes near the ground. They are broadly heart-shaped with rounded lobes and softly toothed margins. The leaves are typically deeply veined and have a smooth, slightly glossy texture. They are medium green in color and can reach lengths of up to several inches, providing a lush backdrop to the delicate flowers. These leaves contribute to the plant's overall aesthetic appeal and are often retained throughout the growing season, adding to its ornamental value in garden settings.
Fringe Cups are not typically known for their edibility and are primarily cultivated for their ornamental value in gardens. Regarding aroma, while they are not strongly fragrant like some other flowering plants, they do possess a subtle, pleasant scent. The fragrance is often described as delicate and mildly sweet, attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Overall, Fringe Cups contribute to garden aesthetics with their charming appearance and subtle fragrance rather than being significant in culinary or aromatic uses.
Other Names:
Bigflower Tellima, False Alumroot, Fragrant Fringecup, Fringed Alumroot, Large-flowered Tellima.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Tellima grandiflora, commonly known as the "fringed alumroot" or "large-flowered tellima," is a perennial wildflower native to western North America. It is a member of the saxifrage family. The plant typically grows to 30-90 cm tall, and has basal leaves that are large and deeply lobed. The leaves are dark green and glossy on top, and paler and hairy on the bottom. The flowers are arranged in a terminal raceme, and are large and showy with petals that are white to pink or purplish-pink. They bloom in spring to early summer. It is commonly found in moist to wet forest understories, along streambanks and seeps, and in meadows.


Fringe cups, also known by their scientific name Tellima grandiflora, are a beautiful and unique flowering plant that is native to North America. These plants are a member of the saxifrage family, which is known for its diversity and beauty.

Fringe cups are an herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 3 feet tall and spreads about 2-3 feet wide. They have dark green leaves that are deeply lobed and resemble maple leaves. The plant produces tall stems that rise above the foliage, and on top of these stems are clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers that hang like fringes. The flowers are typically pink, but can also be white or red. They bloom in late spring to early summer and are a favorite of hummingbirds and bees.

Fringe cups are a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow and care for. They prefer partial shade to full shade and thrive in moist, well-drained soil. They can also tolerate drier soil, but will require more frequent watering. Fringe cups are a great addition to woodland gardens, shady borders, and rock gardens.

One of the most unique things about fringe cups is that they are great for naturalizing. This means that they will spread and form a thick carpet of foliage over time, making them perfect for filling in bare spots in your garden or creating a natural look in your landscape. They are also deer-resistant, which makes them a great choice for gardens that are prone to deer damage.

Fringe cups are easy to propagate through division or by sowing seeds. Division is best done in early spring or fall, and seeds can be sown in the fall or early spring. Once established, fringe cups require very little care, but you can trim back the foliage in the fall to promote new growth in the spring.

In addition to their beauty and ease of care, fringe cups also have medicinal properties. Native American tribes used the plant to treat various ailments, including stomachaches, coughs, and sore throats. The leaves and roots of the plant contain tannins, which have astringent properties that can help soothe inflammation and promote healing.

Fringe cups are also popular among gardeners and landscapers because they provide a great contrast to other foliage in the garden. Their dark green leaves and delicate fringed flowers make a striking addition to any landscape design. They also work well as a ground cover, filling in areas under trees or along pathways.

One of the benefits of growing fringe cups is that they attract pollinators to the garden. The bell-shaped flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds and bees, which help to pollinate other plants in the area. This makes fringe cups an excellent choice for those who want to create a garden that supports a healthy ecosystem.

Another interesting fact about fringe cups is that they are closely related to another popular garden plant, Heuchera. Both plants belong to the Saxifragaceae family, and they share many similar characteristics, such as their lobed leaves and tall flower stalks. However, while Heuchera is known for its colorful foliage, fringe cups are prized for their unique fringed flowers.

Fringe cups are also a great choice for those who want to create a naturalized garden. As the plants spread, they create a dense mat of foliage that helps to suppress weeds and protect the soil from erosion. This makes them an excellent choice for gardeners who want to create a low-maintenance landscape that requires minimal watering and upkeep.

In terms of maintenance, fringe cups require very little care. They are relatively disease-resistant and do not attract many pests. They do best in moist, well-draining soil and prefer partial to full shade. To encourage healthy growth, you can fertilize the plants with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring.

Fringe cups are a great option for those who want to attract wildlife to their garden. The flowers are a source of nectar for bees and hummingbirds, while the dense foliage provides shelter and habitat for small animals and insects. This can help to create a healthy and vibrant ecosystem in your garden, which can have a positive impact on the surrounding environment.

Another benefit of fringe cups is that they can help to improve soil quality. The roots of the plant help to break up compacted soil and improve drainage, while the dense foliage helps to suppress weeds and prevent erosion. This can make fringe cups a valuable addition to gardens that struggle with poor soil quality or erosion issues.

Fringe cups are also a popular cut flower, and their unique fringed blooms make a beautiful addition to floral arrangements. The flowers can be cut and placed in a vase or used to create wreaths or other decorative arrangements. However, it's important to note that cutting the flowers may reduce the overall blooming of the plant, so it's important to use this option sparingly.

In terms of propagation, fringe cups can be easily propagated through division or by sowing seeds. Division is best done in the spring or fall when the plant is dormant, and seeds can be sown in the fall or early spring. Fringe cups can also be propagated through stem cuttings, although this method can be more challenging.

Fringe cups are native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America, where they are commonly found in damp woodland areas and along stream banks. They have long been used by Native American tribes in the region for medicinal and culinary purposes. The roots were used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and digestive issues, while the leaves were used as a flavoring agent in cooking.

In modern times, fringe cups are primarily grown as ornamental plants, but they still hold a special place in the hearts of those who are familiar with their traditional uses. Some gardeners even use fringe cups to create a "food forest" in their yard, where they can grow a variety of edible and medicinal plants alongside traditional ornamental plants.

One of the most attractive features of fringe cups is their long blooming period. The plants typically bloom from late spring to early summer, with the flowers lasting for several weeks. This makes them a great option for gardeners who want to enjoy a prolonged display of flowers in their garden.

Fringe cups are also a good option for gardeners who want to create a low-maintenance landscape. The plants are relatively drought-tolerant and can thrive in a range of soil conditions. They also do well in areas with low light or partial shade, making them a great choice for planting under trees or along the north-facing side of a building.

In terms of companion planting, fringe cups pair well with a variety of other shade-loving plants, including ferns, hostas, and bleeding hearts. They also work well alongside other wildflowers, such as lupines and columbines.

In conclusion, fringe cups are a versatile and attractive plant that offer a range of benefits to gardeners and the environment. They are easy to grow, require minimal maintenance, and are a great choice for attracting pollinators and creating a healthy ecosystem in your garden. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner, fringe cups are an excellent choice that is sure to delight.


Fringe Cups filmed in Chorley, Lancashire on the 23rd April 2023.


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