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Hydrophyllum canadense

Phonetic Spelling
hy-droh-FIL-um ka-na-DEN-see
Description

Although there are several common names for this plant, broad-leaf waterleaf is the most common name for this perennial in the Boraginaceae (borage) family.  The common name maple-leaf waterleaf comes from the shape of its palmate leaves. 

Though it is not particularly rare in North Carolina it is considered imperiled to vulnerable farther south and in parts of New England.  This woodland perennial is found in moist, high organic matter forests, bottom lands, edges of forests, thickets, and along rocky stream banks.  It has scaly rhizomes from which it forms colonies.  

This native has two types of leaves basal and stem leaves.  In late spring to mid summer, several white to lavender blossoms growing in a cluster are difficult to spot but can be see growing beneath the uppermost leaves.  Hairy filaments give the cluster a fuzzy appearance.  The clusters of blooms have been said to resemble an exquisite lace work.  

The basal leaves often remain on the plant if adequate moisture is provided and so it makes an excellent choice as a groundcover for a shady spot in a native garden.  The blooms attract bees making it a welcome addition to a pollinator garden or let it form its own colonies in a naturalized area of the landscape.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#native perennials#shade garden#riparian#wetlands#stream banks#specialized bees#food source wildlife#NC native#groundcover#native groundcover#pollinator plant#naturalized area#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#wet soils tolerant#nectar plant late spring#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#FACU Piedmont Mountains#bee friendly#Audubon#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#native perennials#shade garden#riparian#wetlands#stream banks#specialized bees#food source wildlife#NC native#groundcover#native groundcover#pollinator plant#naturalized area#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#wet soils tolerant#nectar plant late spring#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#FACU Piedmont Mountains#bee friendly#Audubon#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hydrophyllum
    Species:
    canadense
    Family:
    Boraginaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used the root medicinally.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    AL, DC, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV, Ontario, Qubec
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts native bees and bumblebees.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Shade
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 10 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 4 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dry globular bright green capsule fruits with stiff black hairs 4 mm split when ripe
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Cup
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Axillary clusters found beneath stem leaves, 5 white with pink or purple tinged hairy petals fused into a cup, bell or tube shape 7-11 mm. 5 stamens much longer than the petals. Bloom appears from May-July
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Palmatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Two types of simple alternate leaves: basal are oblong to elliptic deeply pinnately lobed and narrow at the base with 7-11 lobes, toothe margins, 4 to 10 inches long. Sparse stiff stright hairs on upper surface while the lowers is smooth. Young leaves have a mottled pattern of silver. Stem leaves ovate to almost circular, palmate to with 5 to 9 shallow lobes that taper from a broad base, 2 to 12 inches long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth to sparse stiff downward curving hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil