Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Waterleaf Family (Hydrophyllaceae). Hydrolea ovata, a native, rhizomatous perennial, which rarely reaches a height of more than 2 feet, is a very distinctive plant due to its spiny stems and deep blue flowers. Leaves are entire, alternate, somewhat oval in shape and deep green in color. A single spine (usually 0.5-inch long) arises from each leaf node.
No similar genera are found in wet sites in Texas. There are three (some argue 4) species of Hydrolea in Texas. Hydrolea spinosa is more common in south Texas and is very similar to Hydrolea ovata. Hydrolea uniflora is more common in east Texas, eastern Oklahoma, and the southeastern US and does not have very showy flowers. Other species of Hydrolea are found in southeastern U.S. without spines, or only a few spines. All Hydrolea species are found in wet areas and have the deep blue flowers.