Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Largeleaf Waterleaf - Hydrophyllum macrophyllum   Nuttall
Members of Hydrophyllum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Hydrophyllaceae
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AuthorNuttall
DistributionFound strictly in the mountains, and mainly restricted to the central portions, from Yancey south to Haywood counties. Also reported from Watauga County and specimens from Jackson County. It almost certainly occurs in other montane counties.

This is an Ohio and Tennessee Valley species, occurring mainly in those drainages, from southern PA and southern IL south to northern GA and central AL.
AbundanceUncommon but widespread in part of Madison County, though mainly near the French Broad River, south into Buncombe County, and west to northern Haywood County. Very rare northeast to Watauga County and southwest to Jackson County. This is a Watch List species. The NCNHP has a somewhat surprisingly liberal State Rank of S3 for a species with only 6 known counties; the website editors feel this is somewhat overly-ranked, and S2 seems more realistic.
HabitatThis species is restricted to high to very high pH soil, on mesic to rich sites that are often quite rocky. Most NC sites are over limestone rock rather than amphibolite or other mafic rocks. It occurs in Rich Cove Forests, Boulderfield Forests, and other upland hardwood forests in rich soil.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Montane Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms mainly in May, and fruits mainly in July.
IdentificationThis is a very hispid species, and a bit leaning to somewhat erect, but widely branched and usually as wide as tall, reaching 1.5' tall or more. The rather few alternate leaves are also quite hispid, almost defying touching them, and very long; each is 6-8" long and 1/2 to 1/3 as wide, with 7-13 deeply dissected lobes. The leaves tend to be mottled and thus show "watermarks". In upper leaf axils grow several cymes of flowers, each one on a long stalk of several inches. The handful of flowers in each tight, ball-like cluster are bell-shaped and up to 1/2" long and wide, white to pale blue, and the clusters may be raised to the level of the leaves if not above some of them. This is a very easy species to separate from all others, as it is so strongly hairy that you simply do not feel like touching any part of the plant, even though the hairs are not stinging. The quite long leaves with pale watermarks and deeply cut sides make it like no others, and flower clusters are not needed for identification. As most populations grow over limestone rock in the "Hot Springs Window", you may find other rare plant species growing with it or very near it.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Hairy Waterleaf
State RankS3 [S2]
Global RankG5
State StatusW1
US Status
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