Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Floating Marsh-pennywort - Hydrocotyle ranunculoides   L. fils
Members of Araliaceae:
Members of Hydrocotyle with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Araliaceae
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AuthorL. fils
DistributionPresent over much of the Coastal Plain, and spreading westward into the eastern Piedmont; currently known west to Granville, Alamance, Moore, and Anson counties. When RAB (1968) was published, there were only about nine known counties, all in the eastern half of the Coastal Plain.

This is a widespread, mostly Coastal Plain species, ranging from PA south to FL, and west to eastern TX. It also occurs in the Pacific states.
AbundanceFormerly rare to uncommon, but now strongly increasing and spreading inward into the Piedmont. Locally quite common in the northeastern Coastal Plain (south to Dare and Martin counties), and fairly common to locally common in the southwestern portions from New Hanover west into Anson counties). Somewhat spotty range elsewhere, but can be very common in some impoundment lakes and streams west to Wake County. As a result, the website editors feel that a State Rank of S4 is appropriate now.
HabitatThis is an aquatic species of shallow water, found around lake and pond margins, in slowly flowing blackwater rivers and creeks, in canals, and in swamp pools. It often grows with or near the aggressive exotic Alligatorweed (Alternathera philoxeroides), but seems to be doing well and often appears as an exotic species itself.
PhenologyBlooms from April to July, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis aquatic species, but rooted in the ground, has dark green, fleshy leaves (looking almost evergreen), on long stalks; the petiole joins the blade on the leaf underside, near an edge. The blades are usually held above water level, but can be floating. From above, the leaf has some moderate incisions (about halfway to the leaf middle), often cutting the blade into 3-5 lobes, and the margins are slightly scalloped. The flower cluster is a simple umbel, on a short stalk only half as long as a leaf petiole, and thus you likely will overlook the tiny white flowers on it. This species almost always grows in large patches, typically several square meters or more, and it is the primary Hydrocotyle found growing in stagnant water. The other species in the genus have leaf blades more orbicular and grow in mud or wetlands, but seldom in standing water.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Floating Pennywort, Swamp Water-pennywort
State RankS3 [S4]
Global RankG5
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