Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Bluntleaf Waterleaf - Hydrophyllum canadense   L.
Members of Hydrophyllaceae:
Members of Hydrophyllum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Hydrophyllaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Mountains. Ranges in the Piedmont mainly into foothills ranges, but a few widely scattered records east to Wake County. Also, a disjunct record in Halifax County in the Coastal Plain along the Fall Line.

This is a somewhat Northern species, ranging from eastern Canada south though NC to northern GA and northern AL.
AbundanceFrequent in the Mountains and rather widespread, found in all counties there. Rare to locally uncommon in western Piedmont, extremely rare east to Mecklenburg, Wake, and Halifax counties.
HabitatThis is a species of rich forests, typically in high pH soils, especially into the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. It favors Rich Cove Forests, but it is also found in rich and rocky places such as Boulderfield Forests, and into the Piedmont and Fall Line in Basic Mesic Forests. It is not a wetland species, but some sites are in moist seepage areas in forests or along rocky stream margins.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and fruits in August.
IdentificationThis is a rather robust herb despite growing only to 1-1.5 feet tall, with somewhat pubescent stems and leaves. It has several alternate, hispid leaves, each leaf on a very long petiole of several inches. Each leaf is quite large and maple-like, with 5-9 shallowly to moderately cut lobes, reaching 5-6 inches across and wide, and strongly serrated on the margins. From an upper leaf axil or two grow the relatively small cymes of 5-10 bell-shaped flowers, each flower being about 1/2-inch long and across the mouth, white to pale purplish-white. These small clusters are held below the tops of the leaves and do not attract as much attention as do the large maple-like leaves. The other two Hydrophyllum species in the state can grow with it or near it, but they have leaves that are more deeply dissected into longer lobes, and the general shape of these leaves is longer than wide. This is a reasonably easy species to find in some of the rich coves in the mountains, though your timing may only catch the large leaves and not the flowers in bloom.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Canada Waterleaf, Mapleleaf Waterleaf. Broadleaf Waterleaf
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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