Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Roundfruit Hedge-hyssop - Gratiola virginiana   L.
Members of Plantaginaceae:
Members of Gratiola with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Plantaginaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Coastal Plain and most of the Piedmont, but scarce in the northwestern counties. Only a few records for the Mountains, where found only at low elevations.

This is a Southeastern species, ranging north to NJ and IA, and south to central FL and central TX.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain, except infrequent in the far eastern counties. In the Piedmont, frequent to common, except rare to uncommon in the northwestern counties. Very rare to rare in the lowest elevations of the Mountains, records so far only from Madison and Henderson counties. As with many plant species, the NCNHP State Ranks were done a few decades ago, before more records had accumulated (probably); their S4 should certainly be moved to the common S5.
HabitatThis species grows in wet mud or very shallow water, in many habitats. It grows along pond shores, openings in swamps and bottomlands, in ditches, pools, and many other places.
PhenologyBlooms mainly from March to May, and rarely into summer; fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a short but "stocky" herb of wet ground, growing mostly as a single unbranched stem to about 6-8 inches tall but with a wide and succulent stem, up to 1/10-inch in diameter. It has a few pairs of opposite leaves along the stem, each about 1.5 inches long and about 1/4 as wide, sessile, and with elliptic to various lanceolate or oblanceolate blades. These leaves are usually serrated on the margin, but are thick in texture. Each flower, from a leaf axil, has a short but stout pedicel, very different from the very long and slender pedicel in the similar G. neglecta. The flower is white and about 1/2-inch long, being tubular like others in the genus. This species almost always grows in dense stands, of dozens to 100 or more plants. You should be able to identify it, even without flowers, by the sessile, elliptic, and often fleshy leaves and a very thick and succulent stem. When walking on a greenway along a bottomland, this plant can sometimes be seen in wet tire tracks or other scrapes where shallow water stands.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Virginia Hedge-hyssop
State RankS4 [S5]
Global RankG5
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US Status
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