Hydrophyllum virginianum L.
Virginia Waterleaf, Eastern Waterleaf, Shawnee Salad
Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf Family)
USDA Symbol: HYVI
Clusters of white or dark violet flowers are on long stalks arising on the leaf axils and extending above the leaves. 32 in. perennial with broadly triangular leaves which are lobed almost to the midrib. "Leaflets" may be further lobed. Surface of the leaves is marked as if stained by water. Clusters of bell-shaped, lavender flowers are held above the leaves on an erect stem.
This woodland perennial with the water-stained appearance of the leaves (suggesting its common name) is one of several in this genus with tubular flowers and protruding stamens. Large-leaved Waterleaf (H. macrophyllum), a southern and midwestern species, is rough and hairy. Broad-leaved Waterleaf (H. canadense) has flower stalks shorter than its maple-like leaves and occurs from western New England to northern Alabama and Missouri. The flowers of both these species are white, but the Appendaged Waterleaf (H. appendiculatum) has showier lavender flowers and leaves that are lobed but not as deeply cut as those of Virginia Waterleaf. Its range is from Ontario and Minnesota south to Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Missouri, and eastern Kansas.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 32 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AR , CT , DC , DE , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Que. to Man., s. through w. New England to SC, TN, n. AR and e. KS.
Native Habitat: Rich, upland woods; shady floodplains; moist clearings
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Rich, moist soils.
Conditions Comments: A low-maintanance ground cover for wooded areas. Leaves often have whitish colouring like a water stain, hence the name waterleaf. Can be an agressive grower.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Division is the most practical method of increase. Divide the rhizome in fall or when plants go dormant, making sure each section has a leaf bud and some roots. For seed propagation, best results are obtained by sowing outdoors immediately after collection.
Seed Collection: Seed capsules mature to dark-brown or black 8-10 weeks after flowering. Seeds are light-brown when mature. If storage is necessary, pack seeds in damp sphagnum moss and refrigerate in a sealed container.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Hydrophyllum virginianum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hydrophyllum virginianum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hydrophyllum virginianum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-14
Research By: TWC Staff