Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Turkey Beard
Xerophyllum asphodeloides

Family: Melanthiaceae
Genus: Xerophyllum (zer-oh-FIL-um) (Info)
Species: asphodeloides (ass-fo-del-oy-dees) (Info)

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us


1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral jwoody On Jun 3, 2013, jwoody from Medford Lakes, NJ wrote:

After transplanting this turkey beard ten years ago, it has finally bloomed - beautifully. I had been told to burn the foliage, but I never did. Don't know why it finally decided to bloom this year. Like the pygmy pines that live in the Jersey Pine Barrens, perhaps it needs the impetus of fire to prompt its blooming.

Positive dudeboy On Apr 8, 2007, dudeboy from Herbertsville, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

I discovered a few patches of this plant growing in a wild area not far from my home, on the edge of a Cedar swamp in Herbertsville, NJ. It caught my eye for its long, grasslike foilage that stays all winter. I found out what it was after a lot of research. I found it blooming on another visit around June 1st. From what seems like a clump of grass arises a long stem, 3 to 5 feet high, topped with a cluster of awesome seductive smelling white flowers, each flower about 3/4 inch across. An unusual looking (and pretty) white moth always seemed present.
You'd never know this plant is in the Lily family!
I've searched all around this particular swamp, and have found only a few patches. Most seem to like the edges, where the Pine forest meets the Cedar swamp. Always on the rises facing the West.
It is interesting to note that there are supposedly only two distinctly different places to find this wild plant. The Pine Barrens of New Jersey, and the mountains of Appalachia.
I think where I found them is considered the Northern tip of the Pine Belt.

Neutral smiln32 On Sep 23, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant grows in the pine barrens of New Jersey and also the Appalachian woods of Virginia to Georgia and Alabama. Its flowers are star-shaped and look like feathers on the end of a green stick. ;)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Winchester, Massachusetts

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