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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This perennial wildflower is ¾-2½' tall and either unbranched or sparingly branched. The central stem is light green or yellowish green, 4-angled, finely grooved along its sides, and hairy. Pairs of opposite leaves occur along the central stem; they are 1½-3" long and ½-1½" across, becoming more slender where the flowers occur. Leaf shape is lanceolate-oblong to ovate. Leaf margins are coarsely dentate or pinnatifid with cleft lobes that are tooth-like in shape. Upper leaves that are adjacent to the flowers tend to have fewer teeth or lobes than middle or lower leaves. The upper blade surface is yellowish green to dark green, hairless to sparsely short-pubescent, and glandular. The lower blade surface is more pale and hairy; hairs are concentrated particularly along the major veins. The leaves usually have short stout petioles (less than ¼" long), although upper leaves may be sessile. Dense sessile whorls of small flowers occur in the axils of the upper leaves. Individual flowers are 1/8" across, consisting of a short-tubular calyx with 4-5 teeth, a white corolla with 4 lobes, 2 fertile stamens, and  an ovary with a style that is bifurcated at its tip. The calyx is light green or yellowish green and glabrous to sparsely pubescent; its teeth are linear-lanceolate (more than 2 times longer than across), tapering gradually to awn-like tips. Generally, the teeth of the calyx are longer than its tube. The lowest corolla lobe of each flower is purple-spotted. Linear-lanceolate bractlets are present at the bases of the flowers. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to autumn, lasting 2-3 months. Only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time toward the apex of the plant. Each flower is replaced by 4 nutlets that together form a slightly concave surface within the persistent calyx; these nutlets are shorter than the calyx. Individual nutlets are about 1.5 mm. long, obovoid, and angular along their sides. The root system is highly rhizomatous, forming colonies of plants from vegetative offsets.
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Distribution

Range Description

This is a circumboreal species that is found throughout most of Europe east to China and Japan, North Africa, and Macaronesia (Azores). It is considered to have been introduced in North America, where it is now widespread, and in New Zealand (The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2010).
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The non-native Gypsywort is rare in Illinois, where it has been collected in McHenry County in the northeast section of the state (see Distribution Map). However, it is likely that this wildflower has occurred elsewhere within the state, at least temporarily. Gypsywort was introduced into the United States from Europe. Its current distribution is concentrated along the Atlantic coast and Great Lakes, where it may have been introduced accidentally from the release of ballast by ocean-going cargo ships. Habitats in Illinois and other states in the Great Lakes region include wet sand prairies, interdunal swales and sloughs, riverbanks and edges of ponds, fens, marshy areas, and ditches. Usually Gypsywort is found in more disturbed areas, although it also occurs in higher quality wetlands, where it has some potential to be invasive.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Hebei, Shaanxi, Xinjiang [Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; SW Asia, Europe, introduced in North America]
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Rhizomes transverse, producing long stolons enlarged at apex, with scalelike leaves. Stems erect, 15-80 cm, unbranched or apically branched. Petiole 0-5 mm; leaf blade oblong-elliptic to lanceolate-elliptic, 3-9 × 1-4 cm or more, base attenuate, apex acuminate; lower and mid stem leaves coarsely dentate, subglabrous or sparsely pubescent, glandular. Verticillasters globose, 8-10 mm in diam.; floral leaves subsessile; outer bracteoles to 4 mm, inner ones ca. 3 mm, linear-subulate, spinescent. Calyx ca. 3 mm, puberulent, ± conspicuously 10-15-veined; teeth 4 or 5, ca. 2 mm, erect, linear-lanceolate, apex spinescent. Corolla white, red spotted on lower lip, nearly included, ca. 3 mm, puberulent; tube ca. 2.5 mm, intricately white villous inside; limb obscurely 2-lipped, ca. 0.5 mm; upper lip circular, emarginate, lobes subequal. Anterior stamens exserted, posterior 2 lacking or reduced to staminodes. Nutlets 4-sided, ca. 1.5 × 1 mm, adaxially slightly swollen, glandular at middle, base slightly attenuate, apex rounded; areolae basal, white. Fl. Jun-Aug, fr. Aug-Sep.
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Size

20-100 cm

  • Wegweiser durch die Natur, Die Tiere und Pflanzen Mitteleuropas, Komet Verlag (Januar 2006), ISBN: 978-3898365512
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Lycopus europaeus is a perennial species (Hemicryptophyte). It will grow in most wetland types, being typical of marshy grassland, tall-herb fen and the margins of ponds and rivers. It is frequent in shaded streams.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The non-native Gypsywort is rare in Illinois, where it has been collected in McHenry County in the northeast section of the state (see Distribution Map). However, it is likely that this wildflower has occurred elsewhere within the state, at least temporarily. Gypsywort was introduced into the United States from Europe. Its current distribution is concentrated along the Atlantic coast and Great Lakes, where it may have been introduced accidentally from the release of ballast by ocean-going cargo ships. Habitats in Illinois and other states in the Great Lakes region include wet sand prairies, interdunal swales and sloughs, riverbanks and edges of ponds, fens, marshy areas, and ditches. Usually Gypsywort is found in more disturbed areas, although it also occurs in higher quality wetlands, where it has some potential to be invasive.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Field margins, streamsides, grasslands; 700-1000 m.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

For a closely related species, Lycopus americanus (Common Bugleweed), Robertson (1929) observed long-tongued bees, small-tongued bees, wasps, and flies as visitors of the flowers, where they fed primarily on nectar. In Germany, Müller (1873/1883) observed mostly Vespid wasps and miscellaneous flies visiting the flowers of Gypsywort. These insects cross-pollinate the flowers. The leaves of Lycopus spp. are eaten by the caterpillars of Sphinx eremitus (Hermit Sphinx). Mammalian herbivores generally avoid consumption of the foliage of species in this genus because of its bitter taste and lack of palatability.
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Foodplant / open feeder
gregarious larva of Athalia lineolata grazes on leaf (underside) of Lycopus europaeus

Plant / resting place / on
adult of Cryptocephalus pusillus may be found on Lycopus europaeus
Remarks: season: 5-10

Foodplant / feeds on
Datonychus arquatus feeds on Lycopus europaeus

Foodplant / feeds on
Datonychus melanostictus feeds on Lycopus europaeus

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Erysiphe biocellata parasitises live Lycopus europaeus

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Longitarsus lycopi grazes on leaf of Lycopus europaeus

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed or semi-immersed pseudothecium of Lophiostoma angustilabrum is saprobic on dead stem of Lycopus europaeus
Remarks: season: 3-10

Foodplant / saprobe
stalked apothecium of Moellerodiscus tenuistipes is saprobic on dead stem of Lycopus europaeus

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent apothecium of Mollisia lycopi is saprobic on dead stem of Lycopus europaeus
Remarks: season: 3

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Mollisiopsis lanceolata is saprobic on dead stem of Lycopus europaeus
Remarks: season: 5-8

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Pyrenopeziza lycopincola is saprobic on dead, rotten stem of Lycopus europaeus
Remarks: season: 7-8

Foodplant / spot causer
scattered pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria lycopi causes spots on leaf of Lycopus europaeus
Remarks: season: 8-9

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Tenthredo thomsoni grazes on leaf of Lycopus europaeus

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lycopus europaeus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lycopus europaeus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Akhani, H.

Reviewer/s
Lansdown, R.V.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is classed as Least Concern as it is widespread with stable populations and does not face any major threats.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population
This species is widespread and abundant throughout its European and East Mediterranean range.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats

There are no known past, ongoing, or future threats to the survival of this species.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions

There are no conservation measures in place or needed.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and soil that is loamy, silty, or sandy.
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Wikipedia

Lycopus europaeus

Lycopus europaeus, common names gypsywort, gipsywort, bugleweed, European bugleweed and water horehound, is a perennial plant in the Lycopus genus, native to Europe and Asia, and naturalized in the United States.

Lycopus europeaus, Prague

Description[edit]

Gipsywort is a rather straggly perennial plant with slender underground runners and grows to a height of about 20 to 80 cm (8 to 31 in). The stalkless or short-stalked leaves are in opposite pairs. The leaf blades are hairy, narrowly lanceolate-ovate, sometimes pinnately-lobed, and with large teeth on the margin. The inflorescence forms a terminal spike and is composed of dense whorls of white or pale pink flowers. The calyx has five lobes and the corolla forms a two-lipped flower about 4 mm (0.16 in) long with a fused tube. The upper lip of each flower is slightly convex with a notched tip and the lower lip is three-lobed, the central lobe being the largest and bearing a red "nectar mark" to attract pollinating insects. There are two stamens, the gynoecium has two fused carpels and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp.[1]

Habitat[edit]

Gypsywort grows primarily in wetland areas. It grows along the borders of lakes, ponds and streams and in marshes. Its carpels float which may aid dispersal of the plant and its rhizomeous roots also allow the plant to spread.[1] It is in flower from June to September, and produces seeds from August to October.

Etymology and folklore[edit]

It is reputed to have medicinal qualities[2][3][4][5] and has been used by various peoples as an astringent, cosmetic, douche, narcotic and refrigerant.[citation needed] Several research studies have been undertaken on the properties of this plant.[vague][6]

The name gypsywort comes from the belief that Romani people would stain their skin with the juice of the plant, although Howard (1987) states that they used it to dye their linen.[4][5][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gipsywort: Lycopus europaeus". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  2. ^ USDA Grin Taxonomy
  3. ^ Ethnobotany Query
  4. ^ a b Plants for a Future Database of Edible and Medicinal Plants
  5. ^ a b Henriette's Herbal
  6. ^ [1] List of articles from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
  7. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987) p.151
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