Virginia Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum

Virginia Waterleaf

Hydrophyllum virginianum

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White, Lavender
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 1-2 feet

Virginia WaterleafHydrophyllum virginianum, is an upright perennial of the waterleaf family that grows to 12-24 inchestall. It is native to moist to wet woods and is typically found in low woods, thickets, ravine bottoms, bluff bases, river flood plains and stream valleys. Long-stalked lower leaves are deeply divided into 5 to 7 sharply and coarsely toothed green leaflets which are usually mottled with blotches resembling watermarks. Leaflets on the upper leaves are not as deeply cut.

Tiny, white to lilac, bell-shaped flowers bloom from May to June, sometimes with infrequent additional bloom to August, in rounded clusters atop long stalks extending from the upper leaf axils beyond the leaves. Flower petals are fused into a tiny bell, with the hairy, white filament stamens emerging from and extending well beyond the rim of the bell. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that splits open to release its seeds. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots and rhizomes. Occasionally, this plant forms colonies.

Habitats include deciduous woodlands, savannas, areas along woodland paths, wooded slopes along rivers, bluffs, edges of clearings in wooded areas, and powerline clearances in wooded areas. This wildflower benefits from occasional disturbance if it removes excessive woody vegetation, and populations of this species decline in response to invasion from Garlic Mustard.

Best grown in consistently moist, well-drained soils in a light shady spot. Can grow aggressively in optimum conditions.
 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Root tea was once used as an astringent to stop bleeding and for diarrhea and dysentery.
  Roots have been used as a mild emetic to cause vomiting.
  Tea or mashed roots were once used to treat cracked lips and mouth sores.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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