Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for American Water-pennywort - Hydrocotyle americana   L.
Members of Araliaceae:
Members of Hydrocotyle with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Araliaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionPresent in parts of the Mountains, but seemingly absent (or nearly so) in the central counties. Not found downstate.

As expected, this is a Northern species, found from eastern Canada south to NJ, PA, and WI, southward mostly in the Appalachians, to northwestern SC.
AbundanceUncommon in the southern Mountains, especially near waterfalls and seeps; rare in the northern Mountains, and possibly absent between Watauga and Madison counties (for no apparent reason). The State Rank of S3 seems somewhat liberal, but there are numerous records just for Transylvania County.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, most often seen in spray zones of waterfalls and in seepages around rocks; however, it also is found in bogs, ditches, and marshy places.
PhenologyBlooms from June to September, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a creeping species, with slender stems, reaching about 8-20 inches long, at times somewhat erect. It has thick and alternate leaves, each on a petiole about 1-inch long, and with the blade being orbicular and scalloped on the margin, a cordate base, and about 1.5 inches across. The very small and easily overlooked umbels are in leaf axils, only 2-7-flowered, with tiny greenish-white flowers. Under normal circumstances, you won't even notice the flowers, but will notice the sprawling stem with scattered rounded leaves, in a wetland in the mountains. In fact, no other Hydrocotyle grows in the NC mountains.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)American Marsh-pennywort. Most members of the genus are named as "xxxxx Marsh-Pennywort". These are nearly all Coastal Plain species, whereas most references name this Northern and montane species as Water-Pennywort more than Marsh-Pennywort.
State RankS3 *
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type