Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This is a perennial wildflower about 1½-3½' tall that branches occasionally. The stems are light green, red, brown, or nearly white; they are terete and glabrous (except for an uncommon variety with pubescent stems). The alternate leaves are 1¼-4" long and ¼-¾" across; they are narrowly lanceolate or elliptic, smooth along their margins; sometimes their margins are slightly ciliate or they are tinted red. The leaves are light to medium green and glabrous (except for an uncommon variety with pubescent leaves). The leaves are sessile or they have short petioles (less than ½" in length). Leaf venation is pinnate. Along the upper half of each plant, solitary flowers develop from the axils of the leaves on short pedicels (about 1/8" in length). Each flower is ½-¾" across, consisting of 4 yellow petals, 4 light green sepals, 4 short stamens, and a pistil with a short style. The tip of the style is light green and globular. The petals are oval to obovate in shape, while the sepals are ovate-cordate in shape; both petals and sepals are about the same length. The sepals are glabrous and smooth along their margins; sometimes their margins are slightly ciliate or tinted red. The blooming period occurs during the summer for about 2 months. Each flower remains intact for only a single day; the petals are early-deciduous and become detached when they are exposed to even minor disturbance. Later in the year, the flowers are replaced by seed capsules (about ¼" in length) with a cubic shape that turn brown at maturity. The tiny seeds are released from each capsule by a small pore at its apex. These capsules can float on water or be blown about by the wind, distributing the seeds to new areas. Individual seeds are 0.5-1.0 mm. in length and narrowly ellipsoid in shape. The root system is fleshy and fibrous.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Seedbox is occasional in most areas of Illinois, except in parts of central and northern Illinois, where it is either uncommon, rare, or absent. Habitats include openings in floodplain woodlands, sandy swamps, acidic gravelly seeps, low areas along streams and ponds, wet prairies, wet sand prairies, and roadside ditches. The pubescent variety of Seedbox, Ludwigia alternifolia pubescens, occurs in southern Illinois, where it is uncommon.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

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 Seedbox is occasional in most areas of Illinois, except in parts of central and northern Illinois, where it is either uncommon, rare, or absent. Habitats include openings in floodplain woodlands, sandy swamps, acidic gravelly seeps, low areas along streams and ponds, wet prairies, wet sand prairies, and roadside ditches. The pubescent variety of Seedbox, Ludwigia alternifolia pubescens, occurs in southern Illinois, where it is uncommon.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Faunal Associations

According to Robertson (1929), the flowers of Seedbox are visited primarily by bees, including Halictid bees (Augochlorella spp., Halictus spp., & Lasioglossum spp.) and leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.); the bees suck nectar or collect pollen from the flowers. Less common floral visitors include Sphecid wasps, small butterflies, beetles, and other insects. Some insects also feed on the foliage and other parts of Seedbox. These species include the leaf beetle Colaspis suggona, the flea beetle Altica litigata, and caterpillars of the moth Eudryas unio (Pearly Wood Nymph). White-Tailed Deer occasionally browse on the foliage during the summer.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Flower-Visiting Insects of Seedbox in Illinois

Ludwigia alternifolia (Seedbox)
(long-tongued bees suck nectar or their activity is unspecified; short-tongued bees suck nectar or collect pollen; beetles suck nectar and feed on pollen, or their activity is unspecified; other insects suck nectar; some observations are from MacRae and Ott as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera (Ott); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus spp. (Ott), Bombus pensylvanica sn (Rb, Ott); Anthophoridae (Xylocopini): Xylocopa virginica (Ott); Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn, Megachile petulans sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlora purus purus sn, Augochlorella aurata sn cp, Augochlorella striata sn, Halictus confusus sn, Halictus ligatus sn cp, Halictus parallelus sn cp, Lasioglossum imitatus cp, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pruinosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Anacrabro ocellatus sn; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Philanthus ventilabris sn

Flies
Sciaridae: Sciara atrata sn np

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Everes comyntas sn

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera pulchella (McR); Chrysomelidae: Acanthoscelides alboscutellatus sn fp (Ott)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

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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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full to partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and an acidic sandy soil, although other soil types are tolerated.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Wikipedia

Ludwigia alternifolia

Ludwigia alternifolia, commonly known as bushy seedbox and rattlebox, is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Onagraceae.

Its habitat includes wet, swampy localities.

Description[edit]

  • Origin: Continental North America
  • Blooming: June - August, Yellow Flower
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