Justicia americana (L.) Vahl
American water-willow, Water-willow
Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family)
Synonym(s): Dianthera americana, Dianthera americana var. subcoriacea, Justicia americana var. subcoriacea, Justicia mortuifluminis, Justicia umbratilis
USDA Symbol: juam
An aquatic with bicolored flowers in dense, head-like or spike-like clusters on long slender stalks rising from leaf axils.
This colony-forming plant has underground stems. Loose-flowered Water-willow (J. ovata), a similar species found from Virginia south to Florida and Alabama, has more loosely flowered spikes.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Leaf Base: Cuneate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Leaf: Dark Green
Flower: Flowers 1.2 cm long
Fruit: Brown 12 mm
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario and Quebec; New York south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Native Habitat: In water, moist soil, and mud in east and southeast Texas, on the Edwards Plateau, and in north central Texas. Sand, loam, clay, mud. Poor drainage okay.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: American water-willow blooms throughout the summer and colonizes by underground stems. It will grow in moist soil or submerged in a few feet of water. Larval food plant for the Texan Crescentspot butterfly. Good for wetland gardens and habitat.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Water garden
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Texan Crescentspot butterfly
Deer Resistant: Minimal
PropagationCommercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
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Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Justicia americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Justicia americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Justicia americana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-05-06
Research By: TWC Staff, JSC