Saururus cernuus L.
Lizard's tail, Lizard's-tail, Breast weed, Water dragon
Saururaceae (Lizard's-Tail Family)
USDA Symbol: sace
An upright, hairy perennial, growing to 4 ft. in height. Slender, nodding, solitary spikes of tiny, white flowers occur opposite a leaf. Leaves are lance-shaped to nearly triangular with a cordate base. Many tiny, fragrant, white flowers are on a slender, tapering, stalked spike with a drooping tip.
This is a mostly southern species of shaded marshes and stream margins. The common name and the genus name, from the Greek sauros (lizard) and oura (tail), depict the shape of the drooping flower cluster.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: S. New England to MI & IL, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: Still water Wet lowlands; stream & lake edges
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil Description: Wet soils. Mud.
Conditions Comments: The common name refers to the long, finger-like flowers that appear during the summer months. Crushed foliage has a pleasant, sassafras aroma. Lizard tail is a great spreading groundcover for moist soils, shallow water, and containers. Good for wetland gardens and habitat. Colonizes large areas. Can withstand saturated soils of up to 4 in. inundation.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Water garden, Bog or pond area
Use Wildlife: Valued by wood ducks.
Use Medicinal: Also called breast weed, as it was used to treat inflammation of the breasts and other portions of the body. (Lamb/Rhynard)
Warning: The young shoots and leaves provide forage for cattle and sheep, but when overeaten this plant may be toxic. Humans should generally avoid ingesting plants that are toxic to animals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Description: Not Available
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1078 Collected 2007-08-21 in Marion County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 1262 - Plants of Carolinian Canada (1994) Lamb, Larry and Gail Rhynard
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Saururus cernuus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Saururus cernuus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Saururus cernuus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-12
Research By: TWC Staff