Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Great Waterleaf is one of the more common Hydrophyllum spp. within the state and its flowers are the most attractive. This species has hairy stems and calyxes, and some of its leaves are maple-shaped. A distinctive characteristic consists of the small recurved appendages between the teeth of the calyx, hence the "appendiculatum" in the scientific name. Other Hydrophyllum spp. lack these strongly recurved appendages and they have less showy flowers. The species Hydrophyllum virginiana (Virginia Waterleaf) and Hydrophyllum canadense (Canada Waterleaf) have smooth stems and hairless calyxes, while Hydrophyllum macrophyllum (Large-Leaved Waterleaf) lacks cleft orbicular leaves with a maple-like appearance. The leaves of this latter species are always longer than broad, and they are pinnately divided to an even greater extent than the lower leaves of Great Waterleaf.
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Description

This native biennial plant is about 1–2½' tall, branching occasionally. The stems have a tendency to zigzag between leaves and are quite hairy. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 6" across. The lower leaves are pinnately cleft into 5 lobes; they are longer than broader, dentate along the margins, and slightly hairy. The earliest of these lower leaves have patches of greyish white or light green toward the middle of the upper surface, providing them with a water-stained appearance. The middle to upper leaves are orbicular and cleft into 5 lobes; they are dentate along the margins, slightly hairy, and have a maple-like shape. The petioles of these leaves are rather long, stout, and hairy. The upper stems terminate in floppy cymes of flowers. These flowers are about ½" across and become more erect while in bloom. Each flower consists of a lavender or pale purplish pink corolla that consists of 5 spreading petals; at the base of this corolla, is a hairy green calyx with 5 narrowly triangular teeth. Between each pair of teeth on the calyx, there is a short appendage that is strongly recurved. Toward the center of the corolla, there are 5 stamens with light to medium brown anthers and a white style that is divided toward its apex. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a 2-chambered capsule containing several seeds. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Great Waterleaf occurs occasionally in central and northern Illinois; it is less common or absent in the southern and extreme NW areas of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to mesic deciduous woodlands, woodland borders, areas adjacent to woodland paths, shaded or partially shaded seeps, and shaded or partially shaded areas along rivers. This woodland wildflower begins to bloom after the leaves of the trees have partially developed.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Decemium appendiculatum (Michx.) Brand:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum Michx.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Great Waterleaf occurs occasionally in central and northern Illinois; it is less common or absent in the southern and extreme NW areas of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to mesic deciduous woodlands, woodland borders, areas adjacent to woodland paths, shaded or partially shaded seeps, and shaded or partially shaded areas along rivers. This woodland wildflower begins to bloom after the leaves of the trees have partially developed.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Great Waterleaf in Illinois

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum (Great Waterleaf)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen; flies and beetles suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; some observations are from Krombein et al. and MacRae as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus bimaculatus sn cp fq, Bombus griseocallis sn cp fq, Bombus impatiens sn fq, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq, Bombus vagans sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn cp fq, Synhalonia rosae sn fq, Synhalonia speciosa sn fq; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis cylindricus sn cp, Hoplitis pilosifrons sn, Osmia conjuncta sn cp, Osmia lignaria lignaria sn fq, Osmia pumila sn cp fq; Megachilidae (Trypetini): Chelostoma philadelphi sn cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp, Augochlorella striata sn cp fq, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini sn, Andrena erigeniae sn (Kr), Andrena geranii sn cp fq olg

Wasps
Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus, Euodynerus foraminatus

Flies
Syrphidae: Blera badia sn, Chalcosyrphus violascens sn, Eristalis flavipes sn, Rhingia nasica sn fp fq, Sphegina rufiventris fp np; Empididae: Empis loripedis sn, Empis nuda sn fq; Bombyliidae: Aldrichia ehrmanii fp np; Conopidae: Stylogaster biannulata sn; Anthomyiidae: Botanophila inornata sn

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Amblyscirtes hegon, Poanes zabulon, Staphylus hayhurstii

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera tubulus (McR)

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Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract various kinds of bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Mason bees, Miner bees, Andrenid bees, and Halictid bees (including Green Metallic bees). Various flies also visit the flowers, but they usually feed on the pollen and are non-pollinating. An exception is Rhingia nasica, which has a proboscis that is long to enough to suck the nectar and pollinate the flowers. Except for these flower visitors, surprisingly little appears to be known about floral-fauna relationships for this species.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hydrophyllum appendiculatum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is light dappled shade, moist to mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil containing abundant organic matter. Sometimes this plant succumbs to fusarium wilt and other wilt-causing fungi.
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