Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Short's Hedge-hyssop - Gratiola viscidula   Pennell
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Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Plantaginaceae
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AuthorPennell
DistributionScattered across the entire state, but with many gaps in the range, particularly in the northern mountains and parts of the eastern Coastal Plain.

This species has a small range centered in the mid-Atlantic states; ranging from MD to southern IA, south to northern FL and AL. Most records are from eastern VA to SC.
AbundanceDespite collections and other records from slightly over half of the state's 100 counties, this is far from a common species; both G. virginiana and G. neclecta are seen much more often that this species. In general, it is uncommon to infrequent across the mountains and Piedmont; and infrequent to locally fairly common in parts of the Coastal Plain. It seems to be rare, however, in the far eastern counties, and very rare to absent in the northern mountains. Th NCNHP's State Rank of S2S3 is much too conservative, especially with specimens from over 50 counties that are spread across the state. This website suggests an S4 rank.
HabitatThough a wetland species like all of the Gratiola in NC, this species tends to prefer sunnier and thus more open habitats than those. It grows mostly along the margins of marshes, in ditches, along margins of Coastal Plain ponds, and in montane bogs. It is less often found near or in swampy openings than most others.
PhenologyBlooms from June into November, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a erect or leaning herb, growing mostly to 8" tall, but can grow to 1' long or more. As with G. virginiana, it has a wide, succulent stem, about 1/10" wide, noticeable in binoculars or a camera. The leaves are in scattered pairs, opposite and sessile, clasping the stem. Each leaf is ovate and about 3/4" long and about 1/2 as wide, with small teeth along the outer half of the leaf. From the middle and upper axils grow the solitary flowers, each on a very slender pedicel about 4/5" long -- longer than the leaf just below it. The flower is white (rarely very pale violet), tubular, and about 1/2" long. Thus, in summary, identify this hedge-hyssop by a combination of a succulent/wide stem, clasping ovate leaves, and a long flower stalk (slightly longer than a leaf). In reality, this species can be more easily confused with one or two species of Lindernia, though they tend to be smaller and have very slender stems.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Viscid Hedge-hyssop
State RankS2S3 [S4]
Global RankG4G5
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