South Dakota Native Plant Research
Hydrophyllaceae : Hydrophullum virginianum

Hydrophyllaceae : Hydrophullum virginianum


Download Seeds (109 KB)

Download Mature plant (836 KB)

Download Leaves (2.2 MB)

Download Flowering (270 KB)

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Common Name



Hydrophyllum virginianum is a rhizomatous perennial herb with stems growing 10 to 90 cm in height. It has basal and alternate cauline leaves that are deeply pinnately divided, 5-30 cm long and 5-15 cm wide, with 5-9 ovate lanceolate to rhombic segments, each up to 11 cm long with the lowest pair distinct. The petioles are 5- 25 cm long and the leaf blades often have white markings that look like water spots. The inflorescence consists of 1-several subcapitate clusters of flowers, the peduncles 2-20 cm long, lifting the flowers above the leaves, and each flower has a pedicel up to 1 cm in length. The 5 linear lobes of the calyx are 4-7 mm long and have hairs along the edges. The bell-shaped corollas are white to purple, the tube 3-5 mm long with 5 lobes 3-5 mm long. The stamens are exerted 4-8 mm beyond the petals and the style is exerted by 5-10 mm. The fruit is a 2-seeded capsule. Waterleaf blooms from May into July in mesic woodlands in eastern South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Waterleaf is a great addition to a native plant garden, growing under trees and in shaded areas it forms a very lovely ground cover. Its foliage is attractive with the color variation and variation is leaf size. The flowers are delicate and attract bumblebees and other long-tongued pollinators.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed capsules when they turn dark brown to black and the seeds are light brown.

Germination: The seeds need a 60-day cold treatment of fall sowing.

Vegetative Propagation: New shoots can be divided from the rhizome.

Soils: Moist, organically rich soils.

Light: Partial shade to full shade.

Water: Moist.

Hydrophyllaceae : Hydrophullum virginianum