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Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping venus's looking-glass)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Triodanis perfoliata

Triodanis perfoliata (L.) Nieuwl.

Clasping Venus's Looking-glass

Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)

Synonym(s): Legousia perfoliata, Specularia perfoliata, Triodanis perfoliata var. perfoliata

USDA Symbol: TRPE4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Wheel-shaped, bluish to purple flowers set singly in the axils of leaves that clasp the stem.

This plant also occurs in Mexico. The flowers in the lower leaf axils do not open but nonetheless produce seeds. The genus name, from the Greek treis (three) and odous (tooth), alludes to the three lobes of the calyx in many of the non-opening flowers. This distinctive annual can appear in any open spot, even in cultivated flower gardens. It is sometimes placed in the genus Specularia.


From the Image Gallery

24 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Purple to bluish lavender.


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: Ontario east to New Brunswick, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to North Dakota; also in much of West.
Native Habitat: Ditches, Ravines, Depressions, Hillsides, Slopes, Woodlands' edge, Opening, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental
Use Medicinal: Cherokee Indians steeped roots and other parts of plant to make infusion for indigestion.
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: High

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native plants for dry shade in Austin
March 27, 2007
I live in North Austin, and I'd like to find plants that would work in dry shade. This area does receive a couple of hours of morning sun, and I've had great luck with Hinckley's Columbine. Any o...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According 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
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0364 Collected May 2, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-0104 Collected 2007-05-30 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Triodanis perfoliata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Triodanis perfoliata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Triodanis perfoliata


Record Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: LAL

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