Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This herbaceous perennial plant is 1-2' tall, branching sparingly. The stems are green, reddish green, or reddish brown, and they are glabrous to slightly hairy. When they are present, these hairs are curved or appressed against their stems. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 4" across (excluding the petioles); they are pinnately divided into 3-5 leaflets or deep lobes, and their margins are coarsely toothed or shallowly cleft. The lobes of these leaves are relatively narrow and they have acute tips. The earliest leaves in spring have small patches of white that are scattered across their upper surfaces; these white patches don't develop in later leaves. The petioles are up to 2" long, light green to reddish brown, and glabrous to short-pubescent; they are flat or furrowed along their upper sides and convex below. Each upper stem terminates in 1 or 2 cymes of flowers. The flowering stalks (or peduncles) of these cymes are up to 4" long; they are terete and glabrous to short-pubescent. The stalks terminate in dense cymes of flowers about 1-2" across; each cyme contains about 8-20 flowers. Each flower is about 8-12 mm. long, consisting of a corolla with 5 lobes, a hairy green calyx with 5 linear teeth, 5 stamens, and a slender white style that is divided at its tip. The corolla is white, pink, or light lavender; its oblong lobes spread apart only slightly when the flower is fully open. The stamens are strongly exerted from the corolla and quite conspicuous; they have hairy white filaments and brownish anthers. The pedicels of the flowers are up to 12 mm. (½") in length; they are terete and glabrous to short-pubescent. The blooming period occurs during late spring to early summer, lasting about 3-4 weeks; some plants may bloom a little earlier or later than this. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open to release its seeds. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots and rhizomes. Occasionally, this plant forms colonies. Cultivation
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Virginia Waterleaf is occasional to locally common in central and northern Illinois, while in southern Illinois it is uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include deciduous woodlands, savannas, areas along woodland paths, wooded slopes along rivers, bluffs, edges of clearings in wooded areas, and powerline clearances in wooded areas. This wildflower benefits from occasional disturbance if it removes excessive woody vegetation, and populations of this species decline in response to invasion from Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Virginia Waterleaf is occasional to locally common in central and northern Illinois, while in southern Illinois it is uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include deciduous woodlands, savannas, areas along woodland paths, wooded slopes along rivers, bluffs, edges of clearings in wooded areas, and powerline clearances in wooded areas. This wildflower benefits from occasional disturbance if it removes excessive woody vegetation, and populations of this species decline in response to invasion from Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Faunal Associations
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Virginia Waterleaf in Illinois

Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia Waterleaf)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen as indicated below; flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; some wasps chew holes at the base of the flowers to suck nectar, or they take advantage of such holes [sn@prf]; observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus bimaculatus sn fq, Bombus griseocallis sn fq, Bombus impatiens sn fq, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq, Bombus vagans sn fq, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora abrupta sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn cp, Synhalonia speciosa sn fq; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada hydrophylli sn, Nomada ovatus sn fq; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia lignaria lignaria sn cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata cp np, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn cp; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena geranii sn cp fq olg

Wasps
Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus sn@prf np, Euodynerus foraminatus prf sn@prf np

Flies
Syrphidae: Rhingia nasica fp np; Bombyliidae: Bombylius atriceps sn

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Hydrophyllum virginianum

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: Hydrophyllum virginianum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Comments: Land-use conversion and fragmentation and forest management practices are threats to this species (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

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Wikipedia

Hydrophyllum virginianum

Ripening seed pods in early June in Iowa.

The Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum, often misspelled as virginicum) is an herbaceous perennial plant native to Eastern North America. The plant sometimes spreads by rhizomes[1] to form large colonies in wooded areas. It can also spread by seeds. The seedling usually appear early to mid-spring. Flowers are blue, white, or purple, appearing in mid to late spring. Flowers exposed to sunlight bleach rapidly. Often the newer leaves are solid green with white spots appearing as they age and later disappearing in early summer. It prefers shade.

References[edit]

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