(Hydrophyllum Virginicum) Waterleaf family

Flowers - White or purplish tinged, in a single or forking

cluster on a long peduncle. Calyx deeply 5-parted, the spreading

segments very narrow, bristly hairy. Corolla erect, bell-shaped,

deeply 5-lobed; 5 protruding stamens, with soft hairs about their

middle; 2 styles united to almost the summit. Stem: Slender,

rather weak, to 3 ft. long, leafy, sparingly branched, from a

scaly rootstock. Leaves: Alternate, lower ones on long petioles,

6 to 10 in. long, pinnately divided into 5 to 7 oblong, sharply

toothed, acute leaflets or segments; upper leaves similar, but

smaller, and with fewer divisions.

Preferred Habitat - Rich, moist woods.

Flowering season - May-August.

Distribution - Quebec to South Carolina, west to Kansas and


So very many flowers especially adapted to the bumblebee are in

bloom when the cymes of the waterleaf uncoil, like the borages,

from their immature roll, that some special inducement to attract

this benefactor were surely needed. In high altitudes the

clusters became deeper hued; but much as the more specialized

bees love color, food appeals to them far more. Accordingly the

five lobes of each little flower stand erect to increase the

difficulty a short-tongued insect would have to drain its

precious stores; the stamens are provided with hairs for the same

reason; and even the calyx is bristly, to discourage crawling

ants, the worst pilferers out. By these precautions against

theft, plenty of nectar remains for the large bees. To prevent

self-fertilization, pollen is shed on visitors, which remove it

from a newly opened flower before the stigmas become receptive to

any; but in any case these are elevated in maturity above the

anthers, well out of harm's way.

Early in spring the large lower leaves are calculated to hold the

drip from the trees overhead, hence the plant's scientific and

popular names.

VIRGINIA STRAWBERRY WATER ARUM MARSH CALLA facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail