Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is 1–2½' tall, branching sparingly. The stems are green or reddish green, and glabrous or slightly hairy; when they are present, the hairs are curved or appressed against the stem. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 4" across (excluding the petioles). They are pinnately divided into 3-7 deep lobes and their margins are coarsely toothed or shallowly cleft. The lobes of these leaves have acute tips. The upper surface of the earliest leaves in spring has small patches of white that are scattered across the upper surface; these white patches don't develop in later leaves. Each upper stem terminates in 1 or 2 stalks of flowers. These flowering stalks (or peduncles) are quite long and devoid of leaves. Each stalk terminates in a dense cyme of flowers about 2" across; each cyme contains about 8-20 flowers. Each flower is about 1/3" long, consisting of a corolla with 5 lobes, a hairy green calyx with 5 slender teeth, 5 stamens, and a slender white style that is divided at its tip. The corolla is white, pink, or light purple; its oblong lobes spread apart only slightly. The stamens are strongly exerted from the corolla and quite conspicuous; they have hairy white filaments and brownish anthers. The blooming period usually occurs during late spring to early summer and lasts about 1 month; some plants may bloom a little earlier or later than this. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open to release the seeds. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots and rhizomes. Occasionally, this plant forms colonies.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

This is probably the most common Hydrophyllum sp. in Illinois. Virginia Waterleaf has attractive flowers and foliage; it blooms a little later than most spring-blooming wildflowers in woodlands. The following characteristics distinguish this species from other Hydrophyllum spp. that occur in the state
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Distribution

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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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Virginia Waterleaf occurs occasionally in central and northern Illinois, while in southern Illinois it is uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, areas along woodland paths, wooded slopes along rivers, and edges of clearings in wooded areas.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Hydrophyllum virginianum L.:
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

Virginia Waterleaf occurs occasionally in central and northern Illinois, while in southern Illinois it is uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, areas along woodland paths, wooded slopes along rivers, and edges of clearings in wooded areas.
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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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Faunal Associations

The flowers attract bumblebees and other long-tongued bees, which suck nectar primarily. One of these, Nomada hydrophylli (Waterleaf Cuckoo Bee), is an oligolege of Hydrophyllum spp. Halictid bees and Syrphid flies are attracted to the pollen of the flowers, but they are less effective at cross-pollination. The foliage is grazed by White-Tailed Deer to a limited extent.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

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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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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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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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial sun to light shade, mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil with decaying leaves.
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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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